The Thunderbird track and field program has advanced a record number of student-athletes to the NCAA National Championships in Austin Texas, as four men and one woman are set to compete for a national title.
“At every level of competition there is a certain level of excitement,” SUU head coach Eric Houle said. “Winning the conference championship was crazy cool, but now to have the best athletes on this stage in the program rising to the level they needed to and qualifying more athletes to the National Championship than we ever have is a big accomplishment. I’m so proud of those athletes and the coaches that have helped get them there through the years.”
Frank Harris III was the first Thunderbird to punch his ticket on Saturday, clearing 7′ 1″ in the men’s high jump to advance to the National Championship for the first time as a sophomore. The multi-sport athlete ended competition tied for sixth in the West Region.
After qualifying for back-to-back Indoor National Championships and claiming All-American status twice, Kasey Knevelbaard is headed to his first Outdoor National Championship in the men’s 1,500-meter. He ran a school record time of 3:41.69 to get there in a ‘come from behind’ performance. He ended up eighth in the field.
Capping off the night, Angie Nickerson became the first woman from SUU to make the National Championship meet since 2015, running the 5,000-meter in 15:48.08 and earning an automatic berth by finishing fifth in her heat.
“We run a balanced program, this isn’t just a distance program, this is a jumps, throws and sprints program as well,” Houle said when asked about the diversity of events the T-Birds will be competing in on the next level. “That’s one of the biggest contributing factors of why we won the conference championship and why the women are so competitive. To be able to have that kind of balance boasts well for you during championship season.”
The four men that will represent the Thunderbirds makes up the biggest single-gender squad Southern Utah University has sent to the National Championships in history. The five combined between the men’s and women’s team also sets a new high mark for SUU.
In the women’s 1,500-meter, Sharlie Dimick broke her own school record with a time of 4:16.95, which put her in 14th in the West Region. Unfortunately, the time wasn’t quite fast enough to advance her to the National Championships.
Senior Cannon Brunsvik wrapped up his T-Bird career in Sacramento, throwing a 59′ ¾” in men’s shot put. For Brunsvik this was his NCAA Prelims debut.
Read about the first two day of competition below…
The NCAA National Championships will take place June 5-8 at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas. The University of Texas at Austin will serve as the hosts for the event.
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