The Warm-Up Lap: NCAA Division I Preliminaries Info

The Warm-Up Lap: NCAA Division I Preliminaries Info

NEW ORLEANS – All roads to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., on June 11-14 run through Jacksonville, Fla., and Fayetteville, Ark., this weekend as the East and West Preliminaries get underway today.

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Both the East and the West sites will see the top 48 competitors in each individual event – other than the combined events – whittled down to a list of just 12 from each site for a total field of 24 in Eugene.

Relay fields of 24 teams per site will be cut in half to 12 for a total of 24 teams advancing to Oregon.

Decathlon and heptathlon fields for the NCAA Championships have already been announced, with no combined event competitions scheduled to take place at either site.

Detailed information on each of the Prelims sites can be found on the USTFCCCA National Championships Central page, including all-time bests and year-by-year histories at each site.

As far as the race for the team title is concerned, this weekend will be crucial in determining how many student-athletes each team will have representing them as they battle for the NCAA Championship at Hayward Field.

The team rankings have already been analyzed in depth as they relate to the East and West Prelims earlier this week – including lists of which teams have the most entries into the meets – but here are a few individual plotlines to watch out for.

  • Many athletes are doubling or even tripling in events, but several of the multiple-entries are more interesting than others with entries ranked among the top 22 nationally.

    Both Lawi Lalang of the Arizona men and Agata Strausa of the Florida women will attempt the 1500 meters/5000 meters double. No man in Division I history has ever won titles in both events at the same championships, and only Sheila Reid of Villanova in 2011 has accomplished the feat on the women’s side.

  • Speaking of Lalang, the 2011 cross country champion will square off at 5000 meters with 2012 cross country champion Kennedy Kithuka of Texas Tech and reigning XC champ Edward Cheserek of Oregon. With qualifying being the lone goal, don’t expect an all-time great race between the three, but it will be a preview of what is likely to be an epic showdown in Eugene.

    Cheserek and Kithuka will also battle at 10,000 meters.

  • Both Brycen Spratling of the Pitt men and Shapri Romero of the Arizona women are ranked in the top 22 national entries both at 200 and 400 meters. No woman has ever won titles in both events in the same year, while only two men have accomplished the feat – the last being George Rhoden of Morgan State in 1951.
  • Rachel Sorna of Cornell is attempting the 3000-meter steeplechase/5000 meters double, and would be the first to win both titles since the steeplechase was first contested as a national championship event in 2001.

USTFCCCA InfoZone: Broadcast Schedule

Thursday, May 29, 2014

5:30 PM ET / 
4:30 PM CT
NCAA DI Outdoor Preliminaries (West)
(Fayetteville, Ark.)
WEB: Arkansas LIVE
7:00 PM ET Pac-12 Championships
(Pullman, Wash.)
TV: Pac-12 Network tape-delayed

Friday, May 30, 2014

6:00 PM ET / 
5:00 PM CT
NCAA DI Outdoor Preliminaries (West)
(Fayetteville, Ark.)
WEB: Arkansas LIVE

Saturday, May 31, 2014

3:30 PM ET Nike Prefontaine Classic
(Eugene, Ore.)
TV: NBC Sports Network LIVE
4:30 PM ET Nike Prefontaine Classic
(Eugene, Ore.)
7:00 PM ET / 
6:00 PM CT
NCAA DI Outdoor Preliminaries (West)
(Fayetteville, Ark.)
WEB: Arkansas LIVE