NEW HAVEN, Conn. – On Thursday, the NCAA DI Track and Field Committee released the list of athletes who have qualified to compete in the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round next week in Lexington, Ky. From the hundreds of DI schools and thousands of athletes across the eastern region, only the top 48 competitors in each event are selected to participate. This year, three Bulldogs, all seniors, will make the trip to the University of Kentucky for this prestigious meet next weekend May 25-27.
Senior Meredith Rizzo is currently ranked 10th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:07.93 as her current best, a time that she ran on her first time running the race since her freshman year. Her ability to perform at such a high caliber without the extensive experience bodes well for her going into this meet, as it will feature some tough competition that might also push her to perform at near-personal-best speed. She needs to be amongst the top 12 to advance to the National Championships, and stands a very good chance of doing so.
Senior Frances Schmiede stands a similar chance of doing well, as she is among the top 1,500-meter runners in the country with a time of 4:17.50. After a very strong performance in the first round at last year's Eastern Preliminaries, she just missed the opportunity to make Nationals in the semifinal. This time around, she has a better shot with her extensive experience at multiple different National Championships, in addition to last year's Eastern Preliminaries. She is also coming off her first win at Heps, an experience that will definitely help her next week.
Senior Emily Waligurski completes the trio, as she qualified in the 1,500-meter run. She just made the cut for the race with a time of 4:24.37. Yet her best time in this race would possibly qualify her past the first round into the semifinal race. At last year's meet, Waligurski was cut after the first round despite running a strong time. This time around she will hope to go further.
More information on the meet will be posted as available, and a preview of the meet with the schedule will be posted next week. The full list of accepted athletes for the NCAA Eastern Preliminaries can be found here.
Report by Ariel A. Sánchez '19, Yale Sports Publicity