Ten Track & Field athletes qualify for NCAAs

By EMILIE HOFFER | March 8, 2018

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Felicia Koerner wins the 3k at the Tufts Last Chance Meet to qualify for NCAAs.

This past weekend, the Hopkins track and field team capitalized on their last opportunity of the season to qualify for the NCAAs. A total of 10 individuals will head down to Birmingham, Ala. this Friday to compete in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field National Championships.

A number of Jays headed to The Armory in New York City this past Friday and Saturday to compete in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships. Junior Maya Hammonds started the weekend off for the Jays with an impressive performance on the first day of the pentathlon. 

In her first event of the day, Hammonds set a new personal record in the 60-meter hurdles, crossing the line with a time of 9.17 seconds and taking first in the event. She followed up with another personal best and new school record in the high jump, jumping a height of 1.61 meters for another first-place finish.

Hammonds also managed to win the long jump, with a mark of 5.38 meters. She took eighth in the shot put, throwing a distance of 7.83 meters and third in the 800-meter run, finishing with a time of 2:36.41.

Finishing with a point total of 3,290, more than 80 points ahead of the second-place finisher, Hammonds became the new ECAC pentathlon champion. Despite the dominant win, Hammonds will focus on the long jump at NCAAs this coming weekend, as her teammate, senior Jenn Su, will represent Hopkins in the pentathlon at NCAAs. 

Meanwhile, on the men’s side, sophomore Matthew Su won the long jump with a mark of 7.16 meters, setting a new school record and tying the Centennial Conference record in the process. Su will enter NCAAs seeded 12th in the event.

Junior Grant Mosser led the way in the heptathlon after the first day of competition, starting off with a fourth-place finish in the 60-meter dash, followed up by personal bests and first-place finishes in both the high jump and the long jump. He came in third after the first day of competition with a 10.23-meter throw in the shot put.

On the second day of competition, Mosser widened his lead in the heptathlon to solidify his ECAC championship title and book his ticket to NCAAs. Mosser dominated the competition in the second day, taking first in every event of the day: the 60-meter hurdles, the pole vault and the 1,000-meter run. His 4,987 point total puts him at sixth in the nation heading into NCAAs.

While some of the Jays spent their weekend in New York, some of the team headed even further north for the Tufts Last Chance Meet. Highlighting the meet at Tufts was junior Felicia Körner’s 3,000-meter run.

Coming into the race, Körner was in the last spot that would qualify for NCAAs.

“I knew I was going to have to defend my spot,” Körner said. “There were a couple of other girls with the same goals, and I was trying to just see that as an opportunity for all of us to punch our ticket together. This whole season I have been so intent on qualifying, and I have raced a 3K every weekend for a month now in order to achieve that goal.”

Körner won the race with the sixth-best performance in the nation this year and a season-best time of 9:49, solidifying her ticket to NCAAs this coming weekend. Körner will lead the Jays with the sixth-place seed and will be joined by classmate Tasha Freed and sophomore Rebecca Grusby, who enter the race as the 10th and 15th seeds, respectively.

“It is awesome that so many of us managed to qualify. Last year, only three of us made it [to NCAAs], and I remember hoping that we would be able to grow that number in the future.”

Last year, it was Körner who took home the silver in the indoor 3,000-meter championships at NCAAs before suffering an injury later in the year.

“Qualifying was a lot harder for me this year,” she said. “And the promise of being able to compete with my teammates was an added source of motivation.”

Also joining Körner on the women’s side will be freshman Therese Olshanski, who has already made a splash on the national stage in just her first season of collegiate racing. Olshanski is seeded second for the mile at NCAAs next weekend. Joining Olshanski in the mile is senior Caroline Smith, who is seeded 12th in the field entering the race this weekend.

Finally, junior Ellie Clawson, who had a breakout season this past fall, will race in the 5K. Clawson sits seeded at 12th, with just 12 seconds separating Clawson and the fourth-seeded runner.

This week, the Blue Jays will prepare for their biggest meet of the season as they head to Birmingham, Ala. for the National Championship competition, which will take place on March 9-10.

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