The NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships begin today at 10:00 a.m. with three days of preliminary rounds segregated by East and West sites. For the Ducks, this means competing in Austin, Texas, against the best of the West. The competition is comprised of 20 events each for men and women. For individual events, the top 48 student-athletes in each region qualify. For relays it’s the top 24 teams. From these groups, the top 12 competitors from each individual event and 12 teams from each relay for each region advance to the championship rounds to be held at Hayward Field.
The Ducks, ranked third nationally for both men and women, have a fantastic representation going in.
For the men, we have 28 athletes competing in 15 different events. De’Anthony Thomas is expected to finally return to action in the 4 X 100 meter relay. This is great news since Thomas’s speed will bolster this already competitive relay team.
The women have 18 athletes competing in 17 different events. Having already won NCAA championships in cross country and indoor track this school year, a win at the Outdoors would lock up a triple crown, something that has never been done in NCAA women’s track & field. After four straight runner-up finishes at the Outdoors, the women are hungry for the title.
With this great number of superb athletes, things look promising going into this weekend; however, this is the “Prelims.” The pressure has been turned up a notch not only for our Ducks, but for all the athletes competing this weekend. There are no second chances to make it to the big show coming up June 5 – 8 at Hayward.