EUGENE, Oregon Simon Wardhaugh, Forest Braden and Eleni Kafourou placed among the top five in their respective event at the NCAA West Regional on Friday (May 25) and have automatically qualified for the NCAA National Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

            Wardhaugh was the top finisher among the Boise State University student-athletes competing on the University of Oregon campus when he placed fourth in the men’s hammer with a throw of 213-8 (65.14m).  This will be the second straight trip to nationals for Wardhaugh.

            Braden, a two-time NCAA All-American in track and cross country, heads back to the national championship meet after placing fifth in the men’s 5,000-meter run with a time of 14:12.23.  Braden could also compete in the 10,000-meter run at nationals as he has already posted a provisional qualifying mark. 

            Braden and Wardhaugh’s finishes gave the Bronco men 11 points and put the team in fifth place through four events.

            Kafourou will also be returning to nationals for the second straight time in her collegiate career following a fifth place finish in the women’s long jump with a mark of 20-3.50 (6.18m).  Kafourou will try to qualify in two events at nationals when she competes in the triple jump on Saturday.

            The top five regional finishers in each event automatically qualify for the national championships which will be held June 6-9 (Wednesday-Saturday) in Sacramento, Calif.

            Hammer thrower Jarrod Stevens, who finished seventh on Friday with a throw of 210-10 (64.26m), could advance to nationals as a wild card.  Stevens entered this weekend with the 11th best throw in the country.  The top five to six competitors, who do not automatically qualify for nationals, will be selected as wild cards early next week.

            Becky Guyette and Theodora Xylaki were the only other two Boise State student-athletes to compete in final events on Friday.  Guyette placed 14th in the women’s 5,000-meter run with a time of 16:59.35, while Xylaki failed to clear her opening height in the women’s high jump.

            In preliminary competition on Friday, Sterling Small advanced to the finals of the men’s 400-meter hurdles when he posted the sixth best time at 51.74. 

            Three other Broncos competed in the prelims on Friday, but failed to advance to Saturday’s finals.  Kayleen McDowell had the 12th best time in the women’s 800-meter run at 2:09.40; Breanne Sande was 16th in the women’s 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:30.96; and Ty Axtman placed 25th in the men’s 1,500-meter run with a time of 3:54.39.

            Along with Small in the men’s 400-meter hurdles and Kafourou in the women’s triple jump, other Broncos competing in final events on Saturday include Annika Hjelm and Eleni Ypsilanti in the women’s hammer, Zacharias Arnos and Wendell Lawrence in the men’s triple jump, Erik Whitsitt in the men’s shot put and the women’s 4x400-meter relay team of McDowell, Megan and Paige Olivetti and Nerisha Phillip.

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