LEBANON — Three members of the McKendree University track and field program will represent the Bearcats at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The official list of participants was released Tuesday evening by the NCAA.
The three-day meet will be held May 22-24 at the Grand Valley Track and Field Stadium in Allendale, Mich. Grand Valley State University and the West Michigan Sports Commission are serving as hosts of the national meet.
Two females and one male from McKendree will be participating in the national meet. For the women's team, senior LaTia Jefferson ( Belleville East) and freshman Irma Maciukaite will represent the Bearcats. Jefferson, who also qualified for the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships back in March, is entered in the field for the triple jump. A little more than a week ago, Jefferson set a new Great Lakes Valley Conference meet record in winning the triple jump, which is her specialty. She cleared a distance of 11.98 meters at the GLVC Outdoor Championships, just two months after claiming the GLVC indoor triple jump crown in record-breaking fashion.
Jefferson's qualifying jump of 12.56 meters is tied for the seventh-best mark in NCAA Division II during the outdoor season.
Maciukaite will race in the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA Division II meet. She won the event at the GLVC Outdoor Championships with a time of 1:01.30. Maciukaite qualified for the national championships with a provisional mark of 1:00.29, which ranks her in the top 15 in the nation this spring.
Senior Blake DeLong ( Hillsboro) will close out a storied career at McKendree as the lone representative for the Bearcat men's program. DeLong qualified for the NCAA Division II championship in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. His qualifying time of 9:04.48 is the eighth-fastest time in the event this spring.
DeLong, who became McKendree's first NCAA All-American with his 17th place finish at the Division II Cross Country Championships in November, also posted an 11th-place showing in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships back in March.
The Bearcats' men's and women's track and field teams closed out regular-season competition for the 2014 outdoor seasonlast week at the Eastern Illinois University Last Chance Meet.
There were a pair of record-setting performances for the McKendree women's program at the meet. The first came in the women's 400-meter hurdles, where freshman Irma Maciukaite established a team program record in the event. Maciukaite won the race with a time of 1:00.29, edging the previous Bearcats' mark of 1:00.45 which was set by Neisha Thompson back in 1999.
Sophomore Hannah Wilhelm (Wesclin) cleared a distance of 45.08 meters with her toss in the hammer throw on Friday to set a new team mark. Wilhelm bested the old record of 45.02 meters posted just last year by Kristin Wykoff (Triad) at the Saint Louis University Invitational. Wilhelm was fifth in Friday's hammer throw finals.
In the women's 800-meter run, freshman Karis Johnson took fourth place with a time of 2:22.26, while junior Christine Cunningham (Triad) was sixth in the race at 2:25.45.
The McKendree men's team had two individuals competing in the 100-meter dash at Eastern Illinois. Sophomore Donovan Friscia registered a fourth-place finish with his time of 10.61 seconds in the finals, while senior Jordon Henderson took eighth place at 10.88 seconds.