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Hernandez, Witmer Set for USATF Jr. Championships
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Liberty freshmen Oasis Hernandez (women's triple jump) and Mary Witmer (women's 400 hurdles) will travel to Eugene, Oregon, to compete in this weekend's 2014 USATF Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
The two-day meet, slated for Saturday and Sunday at Hayward Field, will feature the nation's top athletes under the age of 20. The top two finishers in each event will qualify for the 2014 IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships, to be contested in the United States for the first time, July 22-27 in Eugene.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
USATF.tv will provide live video streaming coverage of the meet, free of charge.
Live results will also be available throughout the event, courtesy of Branch Sports Technology.
The weather is forecasted to be warm and sunny in Eugene this weekend, with high temperatures in the mid-to-upper 80s Saturday and Sunday.
Women's 400-Meter Hurdles
Liberty Competitor: Mary Witmer (Fr., Ephrata, Pa.)
Schedule: First Round – Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Eastern; Final – Sunday at 8:10 p.m. Eastern
How She Got Here: Witmer punched her ticket to Eugene during her eighth and final 400-meter hurdles race of the season. She clocked a personal-best time of 1:01.04 in the ECAC 400 hurdles prelims, May 17 at Princeton, dipping under the qualifying standard of 1:01.34. Witmer, who ranks No. 5 in program history for the women's 400-meter hurdles, placed eighth in the event at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Another highlight of her freshman year came on March 1, when Witmer helped the Lady Flames break the program record in the 4 x 400 relay with a 3:46.28 clocking at the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships.
A Look at the Competition: Texas A&M freshman Shamier Little is the pre-meet favorite in this event after winning the NCAA women's 400 hurdles title with a sterling time of 55.07 seconds last month. Other top contenders include Centennial High School (Nevada) senior Tiana Bonds (300 hurdles PR of 40.90, Nevada state champion), Piedmont Hills High School (California) freshman Reonna Collier (300 hurdles PR of 40.90, California state champion), Union Catholic Regional High School (New Jersey) freshman Sydney McLaughlin (400 hurdles PR of 56.89, New Balance Outdoor Nationals champion) and Harvard freshman Jade Miller (400 hurdles PR of 57.22, ECAC champion, NCAA national qualifier).
Women's Triple Jump
Liberty Competitor: Oasis Hernandez (Fr., Emporia, Kan.)
Schedule: Final – Saturday at 8:45 p.m. Eastern
How She Got Here: Hernandez met the USATF Junior qualifying standard at the low-key Roanoke/VT Twilight Qualifier on May 8, where she triple jumped a personal-best 41-0.5. That effort, which ranks her No. 2 in program history, just missed qualifying Hernandez for the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet. During her freshman season, Hernandez placed seventh in the triple jump at the ECAC indoor meet and was fourth in the Big South outdoor triple jump competition. The Kansas native also excelled on the sprint straightaway in 2014, winning the Big South 60-meter dash title and setting Liberty indoor records in both the 60 (7.45) and 200 (24.37).
A Look at the Competition: The top seed in Saturday's competition is Keturah Orji, a senior at Mount Olive High School (New Jersey). Orji, who won the triple jump title at the recent New Balance Outdoor Nationals, placed third at the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships with a personal-best leap of 44-11. Marshay Ryan of Auburn was the national runner-up at the 2014 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, reaching 44-0.5. The field also includes both freshmen who triple jumped at the 2014 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, in Vanderbilt's Simone Charley (ninth place) and South Alabama's Kaitlyn Beans (17th place).