On the final day of the NCAA East Preliminaries, WKU Track & Field saw two relay units along with Julius Morris in the 200-meter dash all earn spots at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 6-9. Both the WKU men’s 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relay units won their respective heats to automatically qualify for chances at All-American status from Hayward Field in a couple weeks.
“This meet is nothing short of outstanding,” head coach Erik Jenkins opened. “WKU was represented well against many of the nation’s and world’s best. This meet will humble you very quickly! You have to survive the rounds and advance to NCAA final rounds in Eugene.
The 4×100-meter relay unit of Will Bush, Kymari Gates, Julius Morris and Eli Minor got the day started for the Hilltoppers running a 39.17 from the USF Track & Field Stadium. The mark ranks as the third-fastest in WKU outdoor program history. Running in the first heat, the Red and White locked up an automatic spot with a season-best mark to take third in the heat and sixth overall.
“On the track, both men’s relays finished in the top-8 and that’s hard to do against SEC, ACC and Big Ten programs,” Jenkins continued. “Our group stayed focused and ran well.”
A little while later, Morris earned himself another ticket to Eugene after running a mark of 20.44 to earn fifth place overall at the Prelims. The Montserrat native will be making his third-straight NCAA Championships appearance qualifying for the 200 and 4×100 in 2016 and the 100 in 2017.
“Julius Morris had the type of meet we know he is capable of,” Jenkins added. “He ran well on the relays and earned an individual spot in the 200.”
To close out the day, WKU’s 4×400-meter relay squad of Minor, Morris, Gates and Oliver Alexandre clocked a 3:06.41 – the second-best time at the NCAA East Preliminaries in the event. Through two heats, the Hilltoppers owned the field’s top mark before LSU ran a 3:06.26 in the final heat.
For the sixth-straight season, WKU Track & Field will send at least one relay squad to the National Championships
“We are looking forward to competing at the NCAA Championships final round in Eugene,” concluded Jenkins.
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WKU Athletic Communications/Media Relations