Western Kentucky’s men’s 4x100 and 4x400-meter relay squads earned a spot to compete at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the fifth consecutive season on Saturday at the NCAA East Preliminaries in Jacksonville, Fla.
With both Hilltopper relays punching their tickets to compete on the national stage on the final day of the NCAA East Prelims, WKU will now send four total entries to Austin after Annastacia Forrester and Kymari Gates earned individual bids.
“This meet is as tough as they come,” WKU Erik Jenkins said in a news release. “You don’t advance to the NCAA final round easily. We competed extremely hard this weekend to have the opportunity to represent WKU at the NCAA Championships. Both relays advanced today and that was a major step forward for us. I am proud of their efforts today and look forward to the challenge that awaits us in Austin.”
The Hilltoppers’ 4x100 relay unit punched the team’s first of two tickets to the championships on Saturday after running a season-best 39.22 second. While the mark ranked fourth in the third heat, WKU clinched the first non-automatic spot to the NCAA Championships with the overall eighth-best mark at the East Prelims. Hilltoppers running in the 4x100 relay were Will Bush, Martin Owusu-Antwi, Abdur Kelly and Gates.
WKU’s second NCAA Championships-qualifying performance of the day came in the men’s 4x400-meter relay. The unit ran a mark of 3:04.09 to win its heat – clinching an automatic trip to nationals – and finish second overall at the NCAA East Prelims. Representing WKU in the 4x400 relay were Kelly, Owusu-Antwi, Duncan Agyemang and Gates.
The last time the WKU 4x400-meter relay qualified for the national championships during both the indoor and outdoor seasons was 2008.
Individually, Martin Owusu-Antwi ran a 20.73 in the men’s 200 meters. He finished fifth in his heat and 16th overall at the prelims.
On the women’s side, Myesha Nott concluded her first NCAA Prelims experience with a mark of 40 feet, 7.75 inches in the triple jump. The freshman finished sixth in her flight and 32nd overall.
WKU saw at least one performance qualify for the NCAA Championships on each day of the NCAA East Prelims from the University of North Florida. Forrester punched her ticket in the women’s long jump on Thursday after a personal-best 6.19-meter clear to take fourth overall in the event. On Friday, Gates ran a personal best in the men’s 400 meters with a 45.83 to earn his spot in Austin.
The NCAA Championships will take place from June 5-8 in Austin, Texas, hosted by the University of Texas. Men’s action will take place on Wednesday and Friday, while women’s events will be held Thursday and Saturday.