Alejandro Perlaza Zapata punched his ticket to Eugene in the men's 400 on Friday.
Liberty junior Alejandro Perlaza Zapata earned a trip to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the men's 400, headlining Friday's action at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet at USF Track & Field Stadium. Jovaine Atkinson, who earned All-America honors at this year's NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, moved a step closer to his first NCAA outdoor national qualification in the men's 110 hurdles on Friday.
Men's Day Two Recap Perlaza Zapata's first visit to Eugene came courtesy of a third-place finish in his men's 400 quarterfinal heat. The Rio Olympian's time of 45.28, the second-fastest clocking of his career, was the fifth-best effort among Friday's three quarterfinal sections.
Perlaza Zapata becomes Liberty's first men's 400 runner to reach the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships since Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer Mike Decker in 2001. His next race will come in the NCAA men's 400 national semifinals, June 6 at 9 p.m. Eastern at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Returning from an injury which had sidelined him since April 7, Atkinson displayed no signs of rust in the men's 110 hurdles first round. The redshirt sophomore placed a close second to Georgia's Michael Nicholls in 13.92 seconds, automatically qualifying to Saturday's 1:35 p.m. quarterfinal round. This will mark Atkinson's second consecutive season competing in the NCAA men's 110 hurdles quarterfinals.
Bradley Prentice finished 15th in the men's 800 quarterfinals in 1:48.74. The junior just missed a trip to Eugene by 0.33 seconds and nearly broke his own school record of 1:48.70 from Thursday's first round heat.
Women's Day Two Recap Junior Delaney McDowell clocked a time of 2:10.14 for 23rd place in her women's 800 quarterfinal debut.
Battling a tough lane one draw, senior Kimone Green also came in 23rd in the quarterfinals with a 400 hurdles time of 1:00.71.
Chelsea Igberaese's first discus attempt landed at 165-5. That mark stood up for 19th place in the event, including fourth among freshmen. The Georgia native became the Lady Flames' third freshman to post a top-25 finish in the last two days, following Noel Palmer (18th place in women's 10K) and Naomi Mojica (21st place in women's shot put) on Thursday.
Junior teammate Patria Vaimaona fouled all three of her discus throws in her NCAA Preliminary Round debut.
Liberty's first competitor of the day Friday morning, redshirt senior Jessie Glynn topped out at 12-4.75 to tie for 32nd place in the women's pole vault. Thus ended the two-time Big South women's pole vault champion's collegiate career.
Up Next The NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet will wrap up with a full day of action on Saturday, beginning at 8:45 a.m. with Dasiana Larson in the women's hammer.