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Eighteen Buffs Qualify For NCAA Track Prelims

May 22, 2014

BOULDER - Eighteen University of Colorado athletes, 10 men and eight women, have qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track Preliminary round, which will be held at two sites next week ahead of next month's NCAA Championships.

The Buffaloes will compete in the NCAA West Preliminaries, May 29-31, in Fayetteville, Ark.  The 18 Buffaloes qualified for a total of 25 events and combined are comprised of one graduate student, five seniors, six juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen.

Leading the way are seniors Shalaya Kipp, who is seeded No. 1 in the west in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and Emily Hunsucker, seeded third in the hammer throw, junior Kelsey English, tied for the No. 4 seed in the high jump, graduate student Abby Levene, the No. 5 seed in the 10,000-meter run, and freshman Ben Saarel, the sixth-seed in the 1,500-meter run; Levene and Saarel also qualified for the 5,000-meters.

Kipp's 9:39.12 time in the Steeplechase at the Payton Jordan Invitational two weeks ago was the second fastest in the world though she already had qualified with other efforts.  Hunsucker's best throw this spring of 212-feet, 11 inches in CU's Jerry Quiller Classic, while English cleared 5-11-+ at the Beach Invitational in mid-April.  Levene ran her best 10K at the Stanford Invitational, posting a 33:17.58 time, and qualified for the 5K at the Payton Jordan Invitational (running in a 15:53.84 effort); Saarel won the 1,500 at the Bryan Clay Invitational with a 3:41.54 clocking, and also qualified for the 5K with a 13:48.97 time at the Payton Jordan.

Saarel will be joined by nine of his men's teammates.  They, along with their events and best qualifying efforts are: seniors Joe Bosshard, 10,000- (14:04.04) and 5,000-meter (29:26.25) runs and Shaw Gifford, 200-meter dash (21.02), juniors Jake Hurysz, 1,500-meter run (3:42.53) and 5K (13:55.57), Alex Kizirian, hammer throw (198-11), Morgan Pearson, 10K (30:01.72) and 5K (13:38.92) and Blake Theroux, 3,000-meter steeplechase (8:52.93); sophomores Pierce Murphy, 10,000 (30:20.57) and 5,000 (13:48.74) and Connor Winter, 5K (13.55.91) and freshman Jaron Thomas, 110 high hurdles (13.87) and 400 intermediate hurdles (51.24).

The other four women qualifiers, their events and best times and or performances are: senior Liz Trembley, 800-meter run (2:07.19), sophomores Abrianna Torres, long jump (19-7) and Carrie Verdon, 5,000 (15:59.83) and freshman Melanie Nun, 3K steeplechase (10:26.56).

 "It's a good number, it mostly the people thought we would get through, maybe minus one or two but we also have a couple of happy surprises, so we're about where we thought we'd be," head coach Mark Wetmore said.  "Jaron Thomas' emergence over the last couple of weeks of the season was really a pleasant surprise, and Melanie Nun rounding into an NCAA steeplechaser is a great development.  Then of course we have our GÇÿusual suspects' in Emily and Shalaya."

The complete NCAA West Preliminaries schedule in Fayetteville next week can be found on the Arkansas Razorback website:

There are 48 athletes entered in each event, with the top 12 advancing to the NCAA Championships, which are scheduled for June 11-14 and will once again be held in Eugene, Ore.


Kipp, CU's Female Career Athletic Achievement Award recipient for 2013-14, was named to the prestigious Bowerman Award Watch List Tuesday, the sixth update this season by the award's committee, this one narrowed down to 10 members following the conference championship season.

"It's an honor to be among those who will be finalists," Wetmore said.  "I hope she can do well enough over the next month to have a chance at it."

The other nine on the watch list include Abbey D'Agostino (Dartmouth), Olivia Ekpone and Shelbi Vaughan (Texas A&M), Phyllis Francis and Laura Roesler (Oregon), Kendra Harrison (Kentucky), Courtney Okolo and Kaitlin Petrillose (Texas) and Kendell Williams (Georgia).