Western Kentucky is sending 16 track and field athletes to compete at the NCAA East Preliminaries from Thursday to Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla.
Six Lady Toppers will compete across seven NCAA Preliminary events while 10 Hilltoppers will represent WKU across four individual events and two relays.
The top 48 competitors in each individual event and top 24 relays from both the East and West regions earn spots in their respective preliminaries.
From there, two rounds of individual running events and one round of field events and relays will trim each event down to 12 competitors to compete at the NCAA Championships on June 5-8 in Austin, Texas.
On the women’s side, Juannae Lewis qualified for the NCAA Prelims for her second-straight season as a Lady Topper and will compete in the 400-meter run. The senior will run in the first of six heats, looking for a top-three finish in her heat or one of the next six best times to advance to the quarterfinals.
WKU will be represented by both Annastacia Forrester and Katie Isenbarger in the high jump, marking the first time since 2016 two Lady Toppers qualified for NCAA Prelims in the same event. Forrester and Isenbarger will both compete in the first flight, each looking to finish in the top 12 overall to earn a trip to Austin. Both Lady Toppers are making their first NCAA Prelims appearance.
Forrester also qualified for the prelims in the long jump and will compete in the event’s second flight.
For the third straight season, WKU will send a representative in the women’s pole vault as Getter Lemberg earned a spot in the field of 48. The Lady Topper senior will compete in the first flight from the University of North Florida this weekend, making her first NCAA Prelims appearance.
Brianna Eskridge and Myesha Nott will be making their first NCAA Preliminary appearance in the triple jump. The last time WKU had multiple women qualify for multiple NCAA Preliminary events was 2015. Eskridge will compete in the first flight while Nott will be in the second.
On the men’s side, Maor Seged will appear in his fourth straight NCAA Prelims in the 400-meter hurdles. The Hilltopper senior will run in the second of six heats, looking for a top-three finish in his heat or one of the next six best times to advance to the quarterfinals.
Also making return trips to the NCAA Preliminaries as individuals are Oliver Alexandre and Kymari Gates. Both men earned spots in the 400-meter field for the second-straight year and will run in the third heat.
The fourth Hilltopper earning a trip to Jacksonville as an individual is Martin Owusu-Antwi. The senior will compete in the fourth heat of the 200-meter event.
WKU’s men’s 4x100- and 4x400-relay both qualified for a trip to the NCAA East Prelims as well. The 4x100 unit will compete in the third of three heats for the event. Across the 24 relay units, WKU owns the sixth-best seed time entering the event.
The team’s 4x400-relay will work from the first of three heats. WKU registered the overall fourth-best seed time in the event.
Joining the Hilltoppers who qualified for the prelims as individuals, Will Bush, Josh Davis, Lincoln Warren, Abdur Kelly, Austin Hayes and Duncan Agyemang are making the trip to the Sunshine State after qualifying in the relays.
Fans can watch live and on-demand coverage of the NCAA Division I East and/or West Preliminary Championships on FloTrack with a Pro subscription. Coverage of the preliminary competitions will be available Thursday-Saturday.