With the indoor season on it’s last leg, two men will represent Southern Utah’s track and field team at the NCAA Indoor National Championships. Kasey Knevelbaard and Mike Tate have qualified and will be competing in College Station, Texas on March 9 and 10.
This is the first time since 2012 that a male athlete from Southern Utah has qualified for the NCAA Indoor National Championships, and the first time that more than one student-athlete from the institution has qualified in the same year.
Both Knevelbaard and Tate qualified for NCAA West Regionals last outdoor season, and both were a major contributor for the Thunderbirds during the cross country season as the T-Birds sat atop the NCAA standings all season long.
Knevelbaard qualified for the Mile while Tate qualified in the 3,000-meter and the 5,000-meter.
Distance runner for SUU, Kasey Knevelbaard, is a junior from Caruthers, California. This season, he has brought the thunder in all of the events he has competed in.
Knevelbaard is currently ranked No. 5 in the NCAA in the Mile, and has the third fastest time amongst those competing in College Station.
At the Mountain T’s Invitational at NAU, Knevelbaard had a performance like no other in the mile. He ran a time of 3:55.96 earning the top spot in school history indoors. At the time that mark put Knevelbaard second in Big Sky history and third in NCAA.
He also ran the second-fastest 800-meter time in SUU history with a mark of 1:50.33, and the third-fastest 3,000-meter time with a 7:54.85.
Knevelbaard also competed in the Big Sky Championship where he took two gold medals and a bronze medal. He landed the gold when he competed in the mile where he ran a time of 4:10.58. He then competed in the 800-meter where he ran a time of 1:52.46, earning himself a bronze medal. He was also part of Southern Utah’s distance medley relay team that claimed a gold medal.
Because of his performances, Kasey was also awarded his eighth Big Sky Athlete of the Week award this season. He has also earned All-Academic status for his efforts in the classroom this past cross country season.
Mike Tate runs distance as a senior at SUU from Antigonish, Nova Scotia. As his career at SUU is coming to a close, he has proven to be one of the best athletes the track and field team has seen.
Tate is currently ranked No. 1 in the entire NCAA in the 5,000-meter, entering the event as one of the favorites in the event.
At the Big Sky Indoor Championships, Tate claimed a silver medal in the 5,000-meter with a time of 14:36.38. The following day of competition, he claimed the title of Big Sky Champion when he ran in the 3,000-meter with a time of 8:30.84.
Tate also set the SUU indoor record for the 5,000-meter with a time of 13:37.33. Cam Levins was the previous record holder in the 5K with a time of 13:38.12.
Tate currently holds second place in the school records in the 3,000-meter with a time of 7:51.71.
The Canadian product will have one more season of eligibility for the Thunderbirds after indoor nationals, as he will be able to run outdoors for the Thunderbirds to close out his collegiate career in 2018.
Stay current on the Thunderbird track and field programs by following @SUUTFXC on Twitter and Instagram and like the Southern Utah Track and XC page on Facebook.
Head to suutbirds.com for all Thunderbird athletics news.
SUU Athletics Strategic Communications