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Six Track & Field Athletes Compete at NCAA Championships

Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications                                                                      Release: 06/05/2014
Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications
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please note all times are Pacific, local times

PRINCETON, N.J. (6/5/14) - Six members of the Princeton track & field teams will compete at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., from June 11-14. The meet will take place at Historic Haywood Field on the campus of University of Oregon.

A member of the Princeton OAC will be on hand in Eugene to bring you a daily blog, photo gallery and videos. Follow along on Twitter as well @PUtigers. Portions of the championship will be aired on ESPNU and streamed on ESPN3. The championships will be aired on ESPN3 on Wednesday and Thursday. ESPNU will be live on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. All times are Pacific, local times.

Sophomore Julia Ratcliffe is Princeton's best bet to win, entering the championships with the best throw in the nation. The final is slated for Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. The top nine after three attempts will move on to the final for three more attempts. Ratcliffe boasts a 70.28 (230-7), the best throw in the NCAA since 2011 when Gwen Berry (Southern Illinois '11) threw 70.52. Last year Ratcliffe fouled on two of her three attempts and threw to 62.25 to finish 11th. Nine other competitors from last year's final return. Top returners include Brittany Funk (Akron/6th), Brook Pleger (Bowling Green/7th) and Emily Hunsucker (Colorado/9th).

Freshman Megan Curham makes her NCAA Championship debut in the 10k. The final will take place at 7:15 p.m., Thursday. Four of last year's competitors return including three top-10 finishers: Emma Bates (Boise State/3rd), Megan Goethals (Washington/4th) and Allison Lasnicki (UConn/9th). Elinor Kirk (UAB) enters with the best time in the nation at 32:17.05. Curham ran a school record and a PR of 33:24.79 at Heps and ran close to that with a 33:25.12 at the East Regional to finish fourth.

Senior Damon McLean is making his second outdoor final in the triple jump, after competing in the final as a sophomore. The triple jump is scheduled for Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The top nine after three attempts move on to the final for three more attempts. McLean's school record of 16.11 (52-10.25) ranks seventh in the nation. He was eighth at the Regional with a 15.85. McLean was eighth at the 2012 championships with a 16.03.Seven finalists from last year are back including four that were in the top 10 including Cordairo Golden (Mid. Tenn. State/4th), Imani Brown (Alabama/6th), Jonathan Gardner (Georgia Tech/7th) and Matthew Oneal (South Florida/9th). Marquis Dendy (Florida) has the best jump in the nation this year at 16.52 and was 18th last year.

For the second consecutive year, senior Chris Bendtsen will run in the 10k. The race is the final event on Wednesday, slated to begin at 7:15 p.m. Bendtsen ran a school record of 28:49.08 earlier this season, the 13th best time in the nation. He qualified by clocking a 29:51.08 to take third at the Regional. Last year in Oregon, Bendtsen finished 22nd with a 31:06.83. He is one of just four that makes a return to the championship. Parker Stinson (Oregon/6th) is the top returner from last year's final. The nation's leaders are Shardrack Kipchirchir (Oklahoma State) and Kennedy Kithuka (Texas Tech), who have each clocked a sub-28.

Junior Eddie Owens makes his championship debut in the steeplechase. The semifinals are on Thursday at 5:35 p.m., with the top 12 advancing to the final on Saturday. Owens will have to contend with the reigning national champion Anthony Rotich (UTEP), as well as Stanley Kebenei (Arkansas/3rd) and Max Darrah (Georgetown/11th). Rotich boasts the best time in the nation at 8:30.54 while Kebenei ranks third with an 8:40.12. Owens is coming off of back-to-back PRs. He ran 8:52.78 at Heps and 8:46.41 at Regionals.

Sophomore Adam Bragg brings his poles to Eugene for the first time. The pole vault final is set for Wednesday at 4 p.m. The 2013 national champion Sam Kendricks (Mississippi) returns for his sophomore season, as does Shawn Barber (Akron/3rd) and Andrew Irwin (Arkansas/4th). Kendricks has the top height in the nation at 5.70 (18-8.25). Bragg cleared a PR of 5.32 (17-5.5) at Regionals, as did the other 11 vaulters in the East.

Another former Tiger in the mix for a victory is Peter Callahan '13, who is exhausting his eligibility at New Mexico. Callahan ran the second-best time at the West Regional in the 1500 with a PR of 3:40.35. Track enthusiasts are excited to see if the "kid with the kick" can beat out Arizona's Lawi Lalang and Oregon's Mac Fleet - as pair enter the meet as the favorites for the title. Fleet is the reigning champion in the event, while Lalang is a multiple-time NCAA champion in events including the indoor 3k, 5k, mile and cross country during his career. The semifinal of the 1500 is on Thursday at 4:30 p.m., with the final Saturday at 2:18 p.m.

 

WEDNESDAY

     

Julia Ratcliffe

Hammer

Final

1:30 p.m.

Adam Bragg

Pole Vault

Final

4 p.m.

Chris Bendtsen

10k

Final

7:15 p.m.

       

THURSDAY

     

Peter Callahan '13

1500

Semifinal

4:30 p.m.

Eddie Owens

Steeplechase

Semifinal

5:35 p.m.

Megan Curham

10k

Final

7:15 p.m.

       

SATURDAY

     

Damon McLean

Triple Jump

Final

12:30 p.m.

Peter Callahan '13

1500

Final

2:18 p.m.

Eddie Owens

Steeplechase

Final*

2:57 p.m.

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