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10 Flames Qualify For NCAA Preliminary Round
NCAA East Preliminary Round Men's Qualifiers
NCAA East Preliminary Round Women's Qualifiers
NCAA East Preliminary Round Informational Webpage
Ten Liberty athletes will compete at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet, which will be held May 26-28 at Indiana's Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex in Bloomington, Ind.
Seven men's athletes made the field, including Sam Chelanga (5K & 10K), Taylor Courtney (400 Hurdles), Elliot Galeone (Discus & Javelin), Evans Kigen (3K Steeplechase), Kolby Shepherd (Pole Vault), Ryan Smith (Shot Put) and Isaac Wendland (1,500).
On the women's side, Liberty will be represented by the trio of Mia Aghaji (Triple Jump), Dacia Bushman (10K) and Jennifer Klugh (1,500). Aghaji and Bushman, along with Courtney and Shepherd from the men's team, are first-time NCAA qualifiers.
The meet will get started on May 26, and Galeone will be Liberty's first athlete to compete. The men's javelin is scheduled for a Noon start, as Galeone will attempt to qualify for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships for the second consecutive year.
Chelanga, an 11-time All-American, will be Liberty's final athlete in action. He will run the 5K May 28 at 8:45 p.m. in an attempt to qualify for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in both the 5K and 10K for the second season in a row.
Chelanga, the defending NCAA national champion in the men's 10K, enters the NCAA East Preliminary Round meet as the No. 2 seed in the event. He is one of Liberty's two top 10 seeds, along with Shepherd, who is No. 4 in the men's pole vault.
On the other end of the spectrum, Wendland (No. 43 in the men's 1,500), Klugh (No. 44 in the women's 1,500) and Courtney (No. 48 in the men's 400 hurdles) were among the last competitors to get into the 48-member fields for their respective events.
Klugh was Liberty's most unlikely qualifier for the NCAA Preliminary Round meet. The Big South women's 1,500-meter run champion was listed No. 88 on the East Region performance list. However, she made the field when 44 runners ahead of her on the list failed to declare for the meet.
The top 12 finishers in each event at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet will qualify for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, scheduled for June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa. They will be joined in Des Moines by 12 qualifiers per event from the NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round meet, which will take place next weekend in Eugene, Ore.