Alabama Punches Seven Tickets to Nationals on Second Day of East Prelims

Alabama Punches Seven Tickets to Nationals on Second Day of East Prelims

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The second day of the NCAA East Prelims featured the beginning of the women’s action at North Florida’s Hodges Stadium. The Alabama track and field women’s program saw seven student-athletes, across four events, punch their ticket to the NCAA National Championships.

In Alabama’s opening event of the day, both Taylor Gorum (65.26m | 214-1) and Samantha Kunza (62.62m | 205-5) advanced to Austin, Texas, in the hammer throw. Gorum earned her qualifying spot on her final attempt, while Kunza punched her ticket via a second-attempt throw.

Later that day, another pair of field athletes would clinch qualifying spots, this time in the shot put. Having coming up short from qualifying in the hammer throw, Chelsea Igberaese wasted no time in punching her ticket in the shot put, needing only her first attempt to secure her place (17.34m | 56-10.75). Teammate Cherisse Murray used a second-attempt performance (16.67m | 54-8.25) to qualify her spot at Nationals.

Over on the runway, Caelyn Harris went from a foul on her first jump, all the way to second place after her second attempt in the long jump. The freshman would ultimately finish third (6.41m | 21-0.50), becoming the only underclassman in the entire East Region to advance to the NCAA National Championships in the women’s long jump.

Before the night was done, the Crimson Tide would have two more tickets punched to Nationals, as distance duo Mercy Chelangat (33:18.49) and Hilda Olemomoi (33:21.71) clocked second and third place finishes, respectively, in the 10,000-meter final.

Three UA student-athletes would advance to event finals that will be held on Saturday. First, Milan Fields clocked UA’s seventh-fastest, 100-meter time (11.30), in program history, in the preliminary event to advance her to Saturday. Flomena Asekol would follow suit in the 1,500-meter run, earning an automatic qualifying spot after finishing within the top five of her heat (4:23.48). Na’Taja Ballard would become the final Crimson Tide athlete to advance out of the preliminary round, recording a 23.04 time in the 200 meters. The run is now UA’s ninth-fastest time, as Ballard earned her finals appearance as an automatic qualifier after finishing in the top three of her heat.

Asekol, Ballard and Fields will have to finish in the top 12 of their respective event final to punch their ticket to the NCAA National Championships (June…

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