Alexander, Curtis Advance


May 31, 2008

LINCOLN, NE — Hawkeye senior Kineke Alexander and junior A.J. Curtis joined Iowa’s four other NCAA automatic qualifiers with their top-five finishes at the NCAA Midwest Regional in Lincoln, NE, Saturday. Alexander placed second in the 400 meters with a season-best 52.24, while Curtis placed third in the discus with a throw of 176-8. Curtis also automatically qualified in the shot put Friday. The NCAA Championships are scheduled for June 11-14 in Des Moines.

Junior John Hickey and seniors Diane Nukuri, Meghan Armstrong and Tammilee Kerr are Iowa’s other automatic NCAA qualifiers. Hickey will compete in the shot put, Nukuri and Armstrong will run the 10,000 meters, and Kerr will compete in the heptathlon.

The Hawkeye men’s team posted their highest finish in the six-year history of the regional meet, placing 12th with 25 points. Their previous best team finish was 15th in 2004. The Iowa women’s team placed 18th with 12 points.

The NCAA Midwest Regional is one of four meets held this weekend to determine event fields for the NCAA Championships. The top five placers in each individual event earned automatic bids to the national meet, while all individual competitors who placed between sixth and 12th earned a spot in an at-large pool. NCAA event fields will be filled first from the automatic qualifiers and then from the top performers in the at-large pool by Tuesday, June 3.

Four of Iowa’s five other Saturday regional competitors placed in the top 12 to earn a spot in the at-large pool. Junior Renee White led the group with her record-breaking triple jump performance. White broke her own school record by over a foot, recording a 43-10 on her first jump of the competition to place sixth. White had an outstanding meet, jumping over 20 feet in the long jump for the first time in her career Friday. Junior Andy Napier posted a collegiate best 8:57.54 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase for seventh place, and sophomore Ray Varner placed eighth in the 400-meter hurdles with a season-best 51.07. Kerr placed 10th in the javelin (155-8), and senior Shane Maier placed 11th in the discus (164-2). Senior Jessica Schmidt closed out her Hawkeye career Saturday, placing 15th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (10:41.15).

“We had a great, near perfect weekend,” said Head Women’s Track Coach Layne Anderson. “We will have a good contingent at the upcoming NCAA Championships. The student-athletes we are taking can score points and have a chance at all-America honors. We are hoping for a good finish to a great season.”

“We are really proud of John (Hickey) and A.J. (Curtis) in that they punched their own tickets by automatically qualifying (for the national meet),” said Head Men’s Track Coach Larry Wieczorek. “As a group, the guys we brought did a great job at the meet. Guys like Ray (Varner) and Andy (Napier) scored team points, and earned a spot in the at-large pool, and senior high jumper Jeremy Petsche came in as a first time qualifier and posted a collegiate-best performance. We are hoping to build off these accomplishments for next season.”

Women’s Final Team Standings
1. Texas A&M 116
2. Texas Tech 66.50
3. Minnesota 53.50
4. Kansas 49
5. Oklahoma 46
18. Iowa 12

Men’s Final Team Standings
1. Texas A&M 87
2. Nebraska 68.50
3. Colorado 55
4. Texas 54
5. Texas Tech 53.50
12. Iowa 25

Women’s Javelin – Trials & Finals
1. Katie Coronado (New Mexico) 178-7
10. Tammilee Kerr (Iowa) 155-8

Women’s Triple Jump – Trials & Finals
1. Blessing Okagbare (UTEP) 45-10
6. Renee White (Iowa) 43-10

Women’s 400 Meters – Finals
1. Jessica Beard (Texas A&M) 51.47
2. Kineke Alexander (Iowa) 52.24

Men’s Discus – Trials & Finals
1. Jason Schutz (Colorado St.) 182-10
3. A.J. Curtis (Iowa) 176-8
11. Shane Maier (Iowa) 164-2

Men’s 400-Meter Hurdles – Finals
1. Robert Griffin (Baylor) 49.53
8. Ray Varner (Iowa) 51.07

Women’s 3,000-Meter Steeplechase – Finals
1. Jenny Barringer (Colorado) 9:44.46
15. Jessica Schmidt (Iowa) 10:41.15

Men’s 3,000-Meter Steeplechase – Finals
1. Billy Nelson (Colordado) 8:41.93
7. Andy Napier (Iowa) 8:57.54

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