May 29, 2014
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Cekarri Nixon broke her own school record in the 400-meter dash on Thursday evening at the NCAA Track and Field West Prelim Meet at the University of Arkansas, leading five UC Davis men and women who advanced through first round heats.
Besides Nixon - who was timed in 53.26 seconds - other Aggies to move into the national quarterfinals include Ashley Marshall, who's looking for her second straight trip to the NCAA Finals in the 100, Raquel Lambdin in the 1,500, Karl Moran in the 400 hurdles and Nathan Strum in the 800. Lamdbin, Moran and Strum turned in career-best times.
UC Davis qualified 21 athletes for the meet, which serves as the opening round of the NCAA Championships that continue with the national finals at the University of Oregon next month. Thursday was the first of three days of competition at Arkansas, one of two sites along with Jacksonville, Fla., hosting regional meets this weekend.
Nixon set the school record in the 400 when she finished third at the Big West Championship last season with a time of 53.41 seconds. She captured this year's conference title for the first time before pulling off a career-best on Thursday. Nixon finished third in the event's second heat, earning an automatic berth into the quarterfinal round on Friday at 4:15 p.m. Oregon's Phyllis Francis posted the fastest qualifying time, crossing in 51.92.
Marshall, named earlier this week as the the Dr. Hubert Heitman Award winner as UC Davis' top women's athlete this year, earned her berth in Friday's quarterfinals of the 100 by finishing third in her heat and seventh overall at 11.50 seconds. She's the two-time defending Big West champion in both that event and the 200, both which she'll race on Friday.
Lambdin, another conference champion, ran in the last of four heats of the 1,500 and turned in a PR with her time of 4:22.08. She was fifth in her prelim - the top five automatically advanced to Saturday's quarterfinals - while slicing a second off her previous best and move up three spots to No. 5 on the Aggies' all-time list.
Moran was the first of the UC Davis athletes to advance on Thursday, finishing 10th overall and third in his heat of the 400 hurdles in 51.03 seconds. That beat his previous best of 51.95 from the Arizona State Sun Angel Classic this season and jumped him one position to No. 3 on the program's all-time list. Moran will race in the quarterfinal round on Friday.
Strum was the other member of the Aggie men's team to move onto the quarterfinals, taking third in his 800 prelim in 1:50.05 and improving his No. 3 all-time position at UC Davis. Strum was in the back of the pack at the midway point of the eight-person race, but then used a strong kick to pass the necessary runners and earn an automatic spot in the next round with this third-place finish.
UC Davis had 11 of its 21 regional qualifiers in action on Thursday. Leslie Reed, who was in the same 100 prelim heat as Marshall, was timed in 12.11 seconds. Big West champion Shanie Landen led her heat of the 800 for nearly 600 meters before eventually finishing sixth in 2:10.59. Christine Hoffmann, in her first regional and coming off a conference title in the 10,000, finished in the top half of Thursday's race. She placed 23rd in 35:15.64. Senior Kellie Grigg, who won the Big West title in the 400 hurdles, was timed in 1:01.28 at the regional meet, finishing 40th overall.
Three Aggie sprinters on the men's side made their regional debut in the 100. Marcus Johnson, who captured the Big West title two weeks ago, had the highest finish of the group when he placed 34th in 10.66 seconds. Sava Boyadjiev (10.86) and Kaio Sena (11.00) also competed.
In the field events, Praise Adesida and Veronica Smart both qualified in the shot put and faced an elite field on Thursday. Adesida was 28th at 48 feet, 10.25 inches while Smart had a mark of 44-6. Freshman Holly Tokar, Big West titlist in the pole vault, cleared 12-3.25 on her second try and 12-9 on her third before bowing out in 31st place after missing at 13-3.
Brandon Greenberg was fifth in his flight and 33rd overall after throwing the shot put 55-5.25 on his final attempt.
Friday is another busy day for UC Davis. On the men's side, Johnson will compete in the first round of the 200 at 6 p.m. (PDT) while Moran will open competition in the 110 high hurdles at 3 p.m. Strum's quarterfinal in the 800 is at 5 p.m. while Moran will return to the track for the next round of the 400 hurdles at 5:30.
Marshall's quarterfinal heat of the 100 is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. before she and Reed are back in action with the first round of the 200 at 6:25. Nixon will race in the 400 quarterfinals at 4:15 while Catherine Li competes in the triple jump at 3 p.m.
All quarterfinal round heats will send 12 athletes to the NCAA Finals at Oregon while the top 12 finishers in each field event will also move on to Eugene.
UC Davis' 21 athletes are its largest contingent ever at the Div. I regional meet.
NCAA WEST PRELIM MEET
Fayetteville, Ark. (hosted by Univ. of Arkansas)
Day 1 of 3
UC Davis results only
100 (1st r.d) - 1. Jenna Prandini, Oregon, 11.31... 7. Ashley Marshall, 11.50; 43. Leslie Reed, 12.11.
400 (1st rd.) - 1. Phyllis Francis, Oregon, 51.92... 15. Cekarri Nixon, 53.26.
800 (1st rd. ) - 1. Amy Weissenbach, Stanford, 2:05.87... 36. Shanie Landen, 2:10.59.
1500 (1st rd.) - 1. Stephanie Brown, Arkansas, 4:20.73... 6. Raquel Lamdbin, 4:22.08.
400H (1st rd.) - 1. Janeil Bellille, Texas A&M, 57.00.... 40. Kellie Grigg, 1:01.28.
10,000 (semifinal) - 1. Katy Moen, Iowa State, 34:02.98... 23. Christine Hoffmann, 35:15.64.
PV (1st rd.) - 1. Siamara Planell Cruz, Washington, 4.14 (13-07.00)... 31. Holly Tokar, 3.89 (12-09.00).
SP - 1. Christina Hillman, Iowa State, 17.37 (57-00.00)... 28. Praise Adesida, 14.89 (48-10.25); 45. Veronica Smart, 13.56 (44-06.00).
100 - (1st rd.) - 1. John Teeters, Oklahoma State, 10.14... 34. Marcus Johnson, 10.66; 45. Sava Boyadjiev, 10.86; 48. Kaio Sena, 11.00.
800 (1st rd.) - 1. Nick Hartle, UCLA, 1:48.70... 15. Nathan Strum, 1:50.05.
400H (1st rd.) - 1. Michael Stigler, Kansas, 49.84... 10. Karl Moran, 51.03.
SP (1st rd.) - 1. Ryan Crouser, Texas, 20.40 (66-11.25)... 33. Brandon Greenberg, 16.91 (55-05.75).
Aggies host All-Comers
Track & Field Meet on Jan. 28