JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Penn State track & field team qualified seven more members of its squad over four additional entries to the National Championships in Austin, Texas, following an excellent outing on day three of the 2023 NCAA East Region Preliminaries.
“I’m very happy with the way Penn State track and field competed at the first round of the National Championships on the men’s side this weekend,” said head coach John Gondak. “We had a very good start on Wednesday and closed it out in fine fashion today. Last year we had two entries at the national finals and this year we’re very excited to be heading to Austin with six. Great to see the four-by-four return as well as Evan [Dorenkamp] make it through in the 1500 and Handal [Roban] and Olivier [Desmeules] in the 800. We had some really great things happen today and we’re looking forward to seeing the women compete tomorrow.”
Evan Dorenkamp was the first Nittany Lion to advance on day three of the preliminaries. The Nittany Lion junior went 3:49.50 in the second heat of the 1500-meter quarterfinals to earn his qualifying mark. Handal Roban and Olivier Desmeules punched their tickets to the National Championships in the 800 meters as the evening rolled on. For Roban, this will mark his second National Championships appearance this year after finishing third place in the indoor 800 this past March. In the final event of the night, the men’s 4×400 relay squad of Austin Gallant, Savion Hebron, Callum Dodds, and James Onwuka claimed the men’s squad’s final entry into the 2023 National Championships.
In total, the men’s squad will send six entries to Austin, adding four new contenders to the pair of returners from a season ago.
TRACK EVENT SUMMARY
Dorenkamp advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the second time in his career on Friday, his first time moving on in the 1500-meter event. In 2021, Dorenkamp made the trip to Eugene, Oregon, qualifying in the 800.
In the first East Prelims competition of his career, senior Josh Lewis ran a 9:24.72 in the steeplechase to close out his Nittany Lion tenure.
In the men’s 800 meters, Roban (1:51.67 Q) and Desmeules (1:50.31 q) will join Dorenkamp on the trip to Austin. Darius Smallwood and Yukichi Ishii finished just outside the necessary qualifying times, going 1:50.54 and 1:50.97, respectively….
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