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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics

2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field East Preliminary Preview

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 05/23/2012
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Live Results: Thursday | Friday | Saturday

NEW YORK – Twenty-one Columbia track & field student-athletes will represent the Lions on the national stage this week when they head down to Jacksonville, Fla., to compete in the 2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships East Preliminary Round from May 24-26 at North Florida’s Hodges Stadium.

Live results and a live webcast will be provided on UNFOspreys.com. There are various three-day and single-day ticket options for fans attending that can be found here. For more information on the NCAA East Preliminary Round, click here. The 2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championship finals will be held June 6-9 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.

With five qualifiers in the men's 1,500m in Kyle Merber, Daniel Everett, Adam Behnke, Mark Feigen and Byron Jones, Columbia is tied for second nationally in having the most entries in one event at in the 2012 NCAA Preliminary Round.

Below is a schedule highlighting when the Columbia student-athletes will be in action and what their qualifying times/distances were.

Thursday, May 24        
Time Event Round Columbia Entry Qualifying Mark/Rank
5 p.m. Women's 400m Hurdles 1st Kyra Caldwell 59.64 (34th)
5:30 p.m. Men's 1,500m 1st Kyle Merber 3:42.49 (10th)
      Daniel Everett 3:43.80 (17th)
      Adam Behnke 3:44.74 (26th)
      Mark Feigen 3:45.01 (30th)
      Byron Jones 3:45.94 (47th)
6 p.m. Women's 1,500m 1st Erin Gillingham 4:22.23 (33rd)
8:10 p.m. Men's 800m 1st Harry McFann 1:49.27 (25th)
      Connor Claflin 1:49.41 (28th)
      Brendon Fish 1:49.80 (37th)
8:35 p.m. Women's 800m 1st Madeline Rathbun 2:07.79 (39th)
9 p.m. Men's 10,000m Semifinal Mike Murphy 29:26.68 (18th)
      Nico Composto 29:42.77 (34th)
      Gary Brownell 29:54.00 (46th)
9:40 p.m. Women's 10,000m Semifinal Emily Lanois 33:53.06 (11th)
         
Friday, May 25        
Time Event Round Columbia Entry Qualifying Mark/Rank
7 p.m. Men's 800m Quarterfinal    
7:15 p.m, Women's 800m Quarterfinal    
7:45 p.m. Women's 400m Hurdles Quarterfinal    
8:50 p.m. Men's 3,000m Steeplechase Quarterfinal John Gregorek 8:53.29 (15th)
      Ben Veilleux 9:01.00 (37th)
9:30 p.m. Women's 3,00m Steeplechase Quarterfinal Mallory Anderson 10:28.03 (37th)
         
Saturday, May 26        
4:30 p.m. Women's Triple Jump 1st Nadia Eke 12.81m (20th)
      Queen Okeke 12.60m (42nd)
6:30 p.m. Men's 1,500m Quarterfinal    
6:45 p.m. Women's 1,500m Quarterfinal    
8:45 p.m. Women's 5,000m Quarterfinal Clare Buck 16:37.30 (45th)

THE COLUMBIA MEN

800m
Harry McFann | So. | Gahanna, Ohio | Gahanna Lincoln

McFann has enjoyed a fine outdoor track season to cap his breakout sophomore season. He qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Round with a time of 1:49.27 that he clocked in the prelims at the 2012 Ivy League Heptagonal Outdoor Track & Field Championships. That time ranks 25th in the NCAA East Prelims field. The following day, he won the Ivy League title in the 800m the following day and also ran the anchor leg of Columbia’s conference-record-setting 4x800 relay (7:20.53).

McFann’s fastest time in the event was the 1:48.14 he ran last week at the Swarthmore College Last Chance Meet after NCAA qualifying times had been set. That time would rank eighth in the NCAA East region.

Connor Claflin | Fr. | Indianapolis, Ind. | Lawrence Central
Claflin clocked a PR 1:49.41 in the prelims of Outdoor Heps and ended up taking fourth place in the finals. His 1:49.41 ranks 28th in the NCAA East Prelims field and he has been steadily dropping time all spring after opening the season with a 1:52.26 in early April.

Claflin has been active in relays this year as well, running in the 4x400 and the 4x800. He ran the first leg of the Lions’ 4x800 at the Penn Relays this year helping set an Ivy League record of 7:20.80 that was later broken by another Columbia quartet at 2012 Ivy League Heptagonal Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Brendon Fish | Fr. | Madison, Conn. | Daniel Hand
Fish’s PR of 1:49.80 he ran at the George Mason Patriot Open on April 14 ranks 37th in the NCAA East Prelims field.

Like fellow-rookie Claflin, Fish has played a major role in relays this year. He was on the Lions’ second leg of the Penn Relays 4x800 team that set a then-Ivy League record with a 7:20.80 and he was the second leg for the Columbia 4x800 squad that broke that record a few days later at the 2012 Ivy League Heptagonal Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a 7:20.53.

1,500m
Kyle Merber | Sr. | Dix Hills, N.Y. | Half Hollow Hills West

On May 14, Merber set a new American collegiate record in the 1,500m with a time of 3:35.59 at the Swarthmore College Last Chance Meet. That time was the second-fastest collegiate time ever, the second-fastest in the U.S. in 2012 and the 15th-fastest in the world in 2012. That time was also recorded after the NCAA East Prelims field was set. His time of 3:42.49 that he ran at the Stanford Invitational qualified him and ranks 10th among the qualifiers at the NCAA East Prelims. If Merber has a repeat performance of last week, where he shaved nearly seven seconds off his previous career best, he could be on his way to the NCAA Finals in Des Moines.

Merber is the 2012 Ivy League champion in the outdoor 1,500m and the outdoor 4x800m relay that set a new conference record with a time of 7:20.53.

During the indoor track season, Merber ran the second sub-four-minute mile of his career with a time of 3:59.44 at the Columbia Last Chance Meet. He was also the Ivy League champion in the indoor mile and the distance medley relay.

This will mark the second time in 2011-12 that he is competing at the national level as he was a key member of the Lions’ first-ever men’s team to compete at the NCAA Cross Country Championships this past fall.

The 2011-12 season has a remarkable comeback year for Merber after he sat out 2010-11 with a foot injury that occurred when a piece of glass cut through his shoe. Merber was already an established middle distance standout following his sophomore season when he qualified for the 2010 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 1,500m and finished 10th. That year, he set an Ivy League record with a 3:58.52 indoor mile.

Daniel Everett | Fr. | Creve Coeur, Mo. | Westminister Christian Academy
Everett also set a new personal record in the 1,500m at the Swarthmore College Last Chance Meet with a time of 3:42.82. The time that qualified him for the NCAAs was the 3:43.80 (17th in NCAA East) he ran at the George Mason Patriot Open Invitational.

At the 2012 Penn Relays, Everett ran the second leg of Columbia’s 4xMile relay that took second place with a time of 16:17.86.

During the indoor season, he was an Ivy League champion on the men’s distance medley relay squad, along with fellow NCAA qualifiers Kyle Merber, Adam Behnke and Byron Jones.

Adam Behnke | Sr. | St. Louis, Mo. | Lutheran South
Behnke set a new personal record in the 1,500m at the Swarthmore College Last Chance Meet with a time of 3:43.68. The time that qualified him for the NCAAs was the 3:44.74 (26th in NCAA East) he ran at the George Mason Patriot Open Invitational.

He has been shaving time in the 1,500m this spring at a steady pace. He ran a 3:47.30 at the Princeton Sam Howell Invitational in early April before taking nearly three second off that at George Mason and trimming another second at Swarthmore.

During the indoor season, he was an Ivy League champion on the men’s distance medley relay squad, along with fellow NCAA qualifiers Kyle Merber, Daniel Everett and Byron Jones.

This is Behnke’s second trip to the NCAAs. As a junior, he competed in the 1,500m at the 2011 NCAA East Prelims and ran a time of 3:54.57.

Mark Feigen | Jr. | East Greenwich, R.I. | East Greenwich
Feigen set a new personal record in the 1,500m at the Swarthmore College Last Chance Meet with a time of 3:43.11. The time that qualified him for the NCAAs was the 3:45.01 (30th in NCAA East) he ran at the George Mason Patriot Open Invitational.

Feigen has battled back from an injury that forced him to sit out the indoor track and much of the cross country season. He has come back strong, helping set the Ivy League record in the 4x800m relay (7:20.53) at the conference championship last month.

Byron Jones | So. | Westborough, Mass. | Westborough
Jones qualified for the NCAA East Prelims just a few days before the cutoff, running a career-best time of 3:45.94 (45th in NCAA East) at the 2012 New Balance Boston Twilight Meet – Race #1.

That time is nearly seven seconds better than the 3:57.30 he started the 2012 outdoor track season with at the Princeton Sam Howell Invitational.

During the indoor season, he was an Ivy League champion on the men’s distance medley relay squad, along with fellow NCAA qualifiers Kyle Merber, Adam Behnke and Daniel Everett.

3,000m Steeplechase
John Gregorek | So. | Seekonk, Mass. | Seekonk

Gregorek set a new personal record in the 3,000m steeplechase with a time of 8:53.29 at the IC4A Outdoor Track & Field Championships and that time ranks 15th in the NCAA East Region. His pervious two times of 9:00.06 and 8:59.28 would have also safely qualified him for the NCAAs.

Gregorek took second place in the 3,000m steeplechase at the 2012 Ivy League Heptagonal Outdoor Track & Field.

Ben Veilleux | Jr. | Berryville, Va. | Clarke Country
Veilleux qualified for the NCAA East Prelims with a career-best time of 9:01.00 at the Princeton Larry Ellis Invitational.

This will mark the second time in 2011-12 that he is competing at the national level as he was a key member of the Lions’ first-ever men’s team to compete at the NCAA Cross Country Championships this past fall.

10,000m
Mike Murphy | Jr. | Bloomfield Hills, Mich. | Brother Rice

Murphy clocked the second-fastest 10,000m time in school history when he ran a career-best 29:26.68 at the Stanford Invitational. That time ranks 18th in the NCAA East Prelims field and nearly 35 seconds better than Murphy’s previous career best.

This will mark the second time in 2011-12 that he is competing at the national level as he was a key member of the Lions’ first-ever men’s team to compete at the NCAA Cross Country Championships this past fall.

Nico Composto | So. | Chicago, Ill. | Loyola Academy
Composto qualified for the NCAA East Prelims with a 10k time of 29:42.77 (34th in NCAA East) at the Princeton Sam Howell Invitational. What is remarkable is that was the first and only time Composto had run that race in his Columbia career.

This will mark the second time in 2011-12 that he is competing at the national level as he was a key member of the Lions’ first-ever men’s team to compete at the NCAA Cross Country Championships this past fall.

Gary Brownell | Sr. | Brownstown, Mich. | Woodhaven
Brownell qualified for the NCAA East Prelims a PR time of 29:54.00 (46th in NCAA East) in the 10k at the Princeton Sam Howell Invitational. That time was over one minute and two seconds faster than his previous career best.

THE COLUMBIA WOMEN

400m Hurdles
Kyra Caldwell | Sr. | Ypsilanti, Mich. | Ypsilanti

Caldwell will wrap her illustrious Columbia career with a third-consecutive trip to the NCAA East Prelims. She qualified this year in the 400m hurdles with a time of 59.64 that she clocked at the Princeton Sam Howell Invitational. That time ranks 34th in the NCAA East field.

In each of her previous two NCAA East Prelims appearances (2010 and 2011), she advanced to the semifinals heats of the 400m hurdles. Caldwell’s career best time in the event is 57.98, which set a school record two years ago at the 2010 ECAC Outdoor Championships.

800m
Madeline Rathbun | Fr. | Seattle, Wash. | Lakeside School

Rathbun qualified for the NCAA East Prelims with a 2:07.79 in the 800m at the George Mason Patriot Open Invitational. That time ranks 39th in the NCAA East Field.

1,500m
Erin Gillingham | Jr. | Solana Beach, Calif. | Torrey Pines

Gillingham punched her ticket to the NCAA East Prelims on the last possible weekend. She clocked a PR 4:22.23 at the at the 2012 New Balance Boston Twilight Meet – Race #1. That time ranks 33rd in the NCAA East field.

Her qualifying time was over two seconds better than her previous career best of 4:24.65.

3,000m Steeplechase
Mallory Anderson | Jr. | Madison, N.J. | Madison

Anderson clocked a PR time of 10:28.03 in the 3,000m steeplechase at the 2012 Ivy League Heptagonal Outdoor Track & Field Championships to qualify for the NCAA East Prelims. That time was nearly eight seconds better than her previous career best and ranks 35th in the NCAA East.

Anderson makes her second trip to the NCAAs. As a first-year, she qualified for the 2010 NCAA East Prelims in the 3,000m steeplechase.

5,000m
Clare Buck | Jr. | Pennington, N.J. | Hopewell Valley Central

Buck took over seven seconds off her previous PR in the 5,000m at the Princeton Larry Ellis Invitational with a time of 16:37.30 to qualify for the NCAA East Prelims. That time ranks 45th in the NCAA East field.

10,000m
Emily Lanois | Jr. | South Hamilton, Mass. | Hamilton-Wenham Regional

Lanois has enjoyed a strong indoor and outdoor track year and will make her third-consecutive trip to the NCAA East Prelims. She ran the second-fastest 10k in Columbia history when she clocked a PR time of 33:53.06 at the Stanford Invitational in early April. That time was over two minutes better than her previous career best.

She had a great indoor season, taking fourth place in the 3,000m and third in the 5,000m at the Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Track & Field Championships. Lanois won the 3,000m at the 2012 Millrose Collegiate Invitational.

Lanois previously qualified for the NCAA East Prelims in 2010 and 2011 in the 5,000m.

Triple Jump
Nadia Eke | Fr. | Worchester, Mass. | Holy Name

Eke qualified for the NCAA East Prelims with a triple jump of 12.81 at the Princeton Sam Howell Invitational, setting a new school record in the process. That distance ranks 19th in the NCAA East field.

In a short period of time, Eke has established herself as the premier triple jumper in the Ivy League and one of the best in the country. She won the 2012 Ivy League outdoor triple jump title with a 12.67m leap and claimed the indoor crown with a 12.91m leap. Eke’s 12.91m indoor leap tied for 19th in the nation prior to the NCAA Championships.

Queen Okeke | Jr. | Irving, Texas | Irving
Okeke has qualified for the NCAA East Prelims for the third-consecutive year. Her 12.60m triple jump mark at the ECAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships ranks 40th in the NCAA East field.

Okeke qualified for the 2011 NCAA East Prelims with a leap of 12.44m and qualified for the 2010 NCAA East Prelims with a jump of 12.45m. Her career-best leap is a 12.77m jump she did during the 2011 indoor season.

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