OXFORD, Ohio – Seven members of the Miami University men’s track and field team will look to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships this weekend as the RedHawks head to the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds Thursday, May 23 to Saturday, May 25 in Greensboro, N.C. Seniors John Cantwell and Jarrod Eick, juniors Jahquil Hargrove, Sam Spallinger and Rob Stein, sophomore Tyler Yee and freshman Peter Stefanski will be representing Miami at the meet this weekend. The seven qualifiers are the most Miami has sent to the East Prelims since the current format began in 2010.
The NCAA East Preliminary Rounds, which are held at North Carolina A&T State University’s Irwin Belk Track at Aggie Stadium, serve as the first and second/quarterfinal rounds (and in some events the semifinals) of the NCAA Championships. The top 48 athletes per event and the top 24 relay teams from each region (East and West) qualify for the Preliminary Rounds. The top 12 finishers in each event from both the East and West Preliminary Rounds advance to the NCAA Championships.
Five of the seven RedHawks compete Thursday, starting with Stein, while Yee throws on Friday and Stefanski jumps on Saturday. Quarterfinal races are held Friday and Saturday night, which could also include RedHawks.
For the third time in three years, Stein (Villa Park, Ill.) qualified for the East Prelims in the discus, as he ranks 21st in the region with his heave of 55.79m/183-0. He recorded his throw at the Jesse Owens Classic April 19 and ranks third in school history in the event. Stein will compete in the NCAA discus first round on Thursday, May 23 at 10 a.m. in the very first event of the weekend. He is one of six Mid-American Conference throwers to qualify in the discus and will throw in the second of three flights. The top 16 from all of the flights combined advance to the final for three more attempts immediately after the third flight. The top 12 finishers from that group then move on to the NCAA Championships.
A pair of RedHawks qualified for the long jump in Cantwell (Holland, Pa.) and Spallinger (Pandora, Ohio). Cantwell is the highest ranked RedHawk in the East Region, as he sits 15th in the long jump with his leap of 7.58m/24-10.5, which ranks him second in school history. He recorded his personal-best jump at the Billy Hayes Invitational. Spallinger is 33rd in the region with his jump of 7.43m/24-4.5, which ties him for fourth in school history. He notched his mark at the MAC Championships last Friday en route to winning the MAC long jump title, while Cantwell earned MAC runner-up. Cantwell and Spallinger are two of six MAC jumpers to compete in the NCAA first round of the long jump, which takes place next Thursday at 1 p.m. Spallinger jumps in flight two while Cantwell is in flight three of four with, like the discus, the top 16 moving on to the finals for three more attempts.
Eick (Hartville, Ohio) returns to the NCAA East Prelims for a second straight year, doing so in the 1500m run. He ranks 36th in the East Region with his personal-best time of 3:46.07, which he clocked at the Billy Hayes Invitational, as well, and ranks him sixth in school history. Eick, who looks to improve on his 37th-place finish at last year’s East Prelims, will run in the 1500m first round on Thursday at 6 p.m. The top five in each of the four heats, along with the next best four times then advance to the 24-man quarterfinals on Saturday at 6:45 p.m. Eick, the 2013 MAC champion in the 1500m, will be one of just two MAC runners in the 1500m field, both of whom run in the fourth and final heat in the first round.
Also making his second straight trip to the NCAA East Prelims, Hargrove (Norristown, Pa.) again qualified in the 400m dash. He ranks 38th in the East Region with his time of 47.23, which he clocked at the Billy Hayes Invitational May 3. The school record holder in the event, Hargrove will run in the fifth heat of the first round on Thursday at 7:45 p.m. Should he finish in the top three in his heat or have one of the next six best times after the top three in each heat, he would then advance to the 24-man quarterfinals and run again Friday at 6:15 p.m. Hargrove, the runner-up in the 400m at this year’s MAC Championships and the 400m champion at last year’s MAC meet, is one of just two MAC sprinters in the 400m field.
Yee (Florida, N.Y.) earned a spot in the javelin with his toss of 64.35m/211-1, which ranks him 38th in the region and second in school history. He recorded the throw at the MAC Championships last Thursday, when he finished fourth. He will be joined by five other MAC throwers in the NCAA first round of the javelin, which takes place at noon on Friday, May 24. He will throw in the first of three flights while the top 16 get three more throws in the final, before 12 move on to the NCAA Championships.
Stefanski (Aurora, Ill.) completes Miami’s qualifiers at the NCAA East Prelims, as he ranks 40th in the high jump with his leap of 2.10m/6-10.75, which actually ties for 33rd in the region. He cleared the bar at 2.10m three times during the season, first doing so at the Sea Ray Relays April 13 and most recently at the RedHawk Invitational April 27. Stefanski, who was the runner-up in the high jump at last weekend’s MAC Championships, will compete in the first round at 6 p.m. on Saturday in the final field event of the East Prelims. He is one of four MAC high jumpers to qualify for the NCAA East Prelims, three of which jump in the first of two flights, including Stefanski. The top 12 overall finishers advance.
The final field of 24 for each event will gather in Eugene, Ore. June 5-8 at historic Hayward Field for the NCAA Championships, which are hosted by the University of Oregon.
Live results for the East Preliminary Rounds will be available on MURedHawks.com. The field for the Preliminary Rounds was determined based on times/marks recorded throughout the season. The Mississippi River serves as the dividing line between the East and West Regions with the West Preliminary Rounds being held in Austin, Texas at the University of Texas this weekend, as well.