Track and Field Prepares for NCAAs

BOISE, Idaho Boise State University is sending nine student-athletes to compete in 10 events at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships, June 6-9, at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex at Sacramento, Calif.


Forest Braden, Zacharias Arnos, Simon Wardhaugh, Scott Viafore, and Eleni Kafourou each automatically qualified to the national championships by finishing in the top five in their respective events at last week’s NCAA West Regional at Eugene, Ore. Erik Whitsitt, Jarrod Stevens, Annika Hjelm, and Becky Guyette each earned wild card selections to the NCAAs with provisional qualifying marks set earlier this season.


“This is the largest number of athletes that we have ever qualified to the NCAA championships,” head coach Mike Maynard said. “The quality of these athletes in each and every case is very high. Each of them has an opportunity to score and become an NCAA All-American.”


For Kafourou, Wardhaugh, Braden, and Viafore, this year’s championships will mark their second trip to the NCAAs. Kafourou, a sophomore from Athens, Greece, is the Broncos’ lone two-event qualifier. She qualified in both the triple and long jumps after finishing fourth (42-feet, 8.25-inches/13.01-meters) and fifth (20-3.50/6.18m), respectively, in the events at the regional meet.


Wardhaugh, a sophomore and native of Bracken Ridge, Australia, will be competing in the hammer throw after finishing fourth at the regional meet with a toss of 213-8.00 (65.14m). His season-best toss of 219-6.00 (66.90m), April 27, earned the Broncos’ top seed (No. 10) on the men’s side at nationals.


Braden, a two-time All-American in track and cross country, placed fifth at the regional meet in the 5,000-meter run (14-minutes, 12.23-seconds) to qualify to nationals for the second time in his career. An injury forced the Bonners Ferry, Idaho, native to sit out his first trip. Viafore, a junior from Duxbury, Mass., qualified in the javelin with a throw of 213-5.00 (65.04m) at regionals, finishing fourth. His season-best toss of 232-5.00 (70.88m) earned him a No. 12 seed at NCAAs.


After just missing an automatic bid with a sixth place effort in the hammer throw at the regional meet, Hjelm, a sophomore from Huddinge, Sweden, is the Broncos’ top overall seed (No. 8) at the event. She broke the school record for the second time this season with a hammer throw of 208-3.00 (63.47m) at the regional meet, earning her first trip to nationals with an at-large bid.


Also making their first trips to the national championships are Arnos, a freshman from Nicosia, Greece, Whitsitt, a senior from Pueblo, Colo., Stevens, a junior from Adelaide, Australia, and Guyette, a senior from Marsing, Idaho.


Arnos finished fourth at last week’s regional meet with a triple jump of 51-4.50 (15.66m), earning an automatic bid. Whitsitt’s shot put mark of 61-9.00 (18.82m), April 27, earned a No. 12 seed at nationals. Stevens also earned a No. 12 seed at the national meet, posting a hammer throw mark of 218-10.00 (66.71), May 12. Guyette’s 10,000m time of 34:22.41, April 29, earned an at-large bid to the national meet.

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