Former Cahokia High School standout and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville long jumper La'Derrick Ward finished first in the NCAA West Prelimaries with the No. 1 mark in the country and a personal best 26-feet, 8.5-inches.
Ward will move on to the NCAA Championship in Eugene, Oregon, June 10-13.
Despite several lightning delays, Ward managed to best his former SIUE record and win by more than six inches.
"La'Derrick had a terrific series," said SIUE coach Eileen McAllister. "He was behind the board on his first jump and rushed the finished on his third jump, but all three had the distance. He showed poise through all the weather delays."
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Senior Elizabeth Hampl broke her own SIUE record in the hammer throw, throwing a personal best of 200-2. She finished her SIUE career with a 15th place finish in the prelimary round.
"Hampl competed very well," said McAllister. "She was engaged and looked fantastic. It is bittersweet. The previous two years, she would have gone to the finals with her mark, but the level of competition was higher this year. I couldn't be more proud of her and Coach Block."
Ahmad Evans fell .04 seconds shy of moving on to the next round in the 100 meters, but broke the SIUE record and set a new personal best at 10.38 seconds.
"His start was excellent and he competed," said McAllister. "Kudos to Ahmad and Coach Howard."
Evans will compete in the 200 meters in day two of the NCAA West Preliminaries.
Jessica Oranika finished 27th in the 400 meters with a time of 54.36. Although the junior will not move on in the 400, she will get another chance to qualify for nationals in the 200 meters.
"I'm excited to see everyone compete in day two," said McAllister.