(UW Athletics release)
INDIANAPOLIS – The University of Wyoming track & field team has qualified 10 athletes to the 2018 NCAA West Preliminary Round, the governing body announced Thursday. Seven Cowboys and three Cowgirls will compete at the meet May 24-26 in Sacramento, Calif., for a chance to advance to the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Following her first Mountain West women’s outdoor triple jump title, junior star Ja’la Henderson will make her first career appearance at the regional competition as the only Wyoming athlete to qualify in multiple events. Henderson is ranked eighth in the region for the triple jump and is tied for 36th regionally in the long jump. The top 12 athletes in each individual event will advance to the NCAA outdoor championships.
Fellow conference champion and Cowboy senior Damon Unland returns to regionals as the 42nd-ranked men’s hammer thrower in the West after he took 39th at the regional meet in 2017. Unland will look to top his mark of 191 feet, 7 inches from the 2017 regional meet as he makes his second career appearance at the NCAA West Preliminary Round. Fellow hammer thrower and junior Emelda Malm-Annan will take her talents to the regional competition for the second consecutive season as well, entering as the 26th-ranked women’s hammer thrower in the West. Malm-Annan is coming off a personal-best toss of 198-6 at the 2018 MW outdoor championships. In 2017, she finished 24th at the regional meet with a mark of 191-11.
Junior Jerayah Davis rounds out the Cowgirl qualifiers, as she is tied for 40th in the West for the women’s 100 meters with a time of 11.49 seconds. She will also be making her second appearance at regionals after a 20th-place regional finish in the 100 meters last season.
The remaining six qualifying Pokes are all part of the Cowboy distance squad. Wyoming has two qualifiers each in the men’s 800 meters and men’s 1,500 meters. Juniors Bryce Ailshie and Ricky Faure will each make their third appearance at the regional meet for the 800 meters. Ailshie enters as the No. 28 runner in the West for the event with an altitude-adjusted time of 1:49.25 from the 7220 Invite, while Faure is tied for 39th in the region with his time of 1:49.71 from the Bryan Clay Invitational. Ailshie placed 21st at the meet in 2017, while Faure was 34th at regionals.
Sophomore Daniel Hintz and junior Michael Downey will each compete at the NCAA West Preliminary Round for the first time, entering as the No. 23 and No. 30 athletes for the men’s 1,500 meters, respectively. Hintz and Downey each qualified with their times from the 7220 Invite, where Hintz clocked an altitude-adjusted 3:43.20 while Downey was right behind at 3:43.95.
Redshirt freshman Christopher Henry advances to regionals in the men’s 10,000 meters after a time of 29:31.24 at the Mt. SAC Relays. He is the 43rd-ranked competitor in the West going into the regional meet, while fellow redshirt freshman Harry Ewing enters regionals as the highest-ranked Cowboy in the West. Ewing’s time of 8:52.70 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Mt. SAC Relays ties him for 19th in the region, just over four seconds away from 12th-place Andrew Gardner of Washington. Ewing is coming off a third-place performance in the steeplechase at the MW outdoor championships, where he finished just over a second behind national leader Yusuke Uchikoshi of Boise State.
The NCAA West Preliminary Round will be hosted by Sacramento State University May 24-26. Stay tuned to GoWyo.com and @wyo_track on twitter for more details about the meet in the days ahead.