first_imgAUSTIN, Texas – Student-athletes from seven Southland schools have made their way to the 2019 Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Austin, Texas, set to take place Wednesday through Saturday June 5-8. The conference will be represented by 12 individual competitors and a pair of relay teams. All events will be held at Mike A. Myers Stadium.Stephen F. Austin leads the way with seven competitors, six of which will challenge for a national title on the women’s side. The Ladyjacks will be represented in the 4×400-meter relay by Imani Nave, Aaliyah Teel, Daijia Carr and Cayla Burch after the team clinched a berth with a 3:35.23 performance and a 10th place finish in the NCAA West Preliminary Meet in Sacramento, Calif. (May 25). The SFA relay team will hit the track in heat one of the preliminary race Thursday evening, slated for 10:18 p.m. CT.Fellow Ladyjacks teammates Madison Pecot and Nastassja Campbell also punched their tickets at the West Preliminary meet in the pole vault event after clearing the bar at 4.32m (14-02.0 feet). Pecot and Campbell are set to test their mettle in the finals portion beginning Thursday at 7:30 p.m.Branson Ellis, the lone Lumberjack men’s competitor, is looking for a national title in the pole vault event. Ellis, a freshman, qualified for the national meet with an eighth-place finish at the West Preliminary meet following a 5.36m (17-07.0 feet) vault.Sam Houston State will send a pair of individual competitors in Chris Jefferson and Clayton Fritsch, along with its men’s 4x100m relay team. Jefferson qualified for the 100m dash after a 15th-place, 10.34 finish in the west preliminaries in Sacramento. The Bearkats’ senior sprinter is making his third-straight appearance at the NCAA Championships in a pair of events. Competing alongside Jefferson and Fritsch will be the 4x100m relay team of A.J. Tisdale, Jo’Vaughn Martin, Eric Callaway and Bryan Henderson. The relay squad took ninth place at the West Preliminary Championships with a time of 39.76, earning the No. 21 seed at the national meet.Clayton Fritsch rounds out the Bearkats’ competitors and will look to contest for a national championship in the pole vault event. Fritsch concluded his performance at the West Preliminary Meet tied for first place after clearing the bar at 5.36m (17-07 feet). The sophomore is making his second appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships after capping his freshman pole-vaulting campaign with a 19th place finish at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships.Abilene Christian will send a pair of throwers to the NCAA Championships in seniors Kayla Melgar and Annina Brandenburg. The Wildcats’ duo became the first ACU female competitors to represent the university at a NCAA Division I Championships since high jumper Mazel Thomas appeared in 1989. Melgar will take part in the shot put after cementing a program record 16.8m (55-01.5 feet) heave in her first of three attempts for an eighth-place finish at the West Preliminary Championships. Brandenburg also claimed a program record at the west preliminaries with a 56.86m (186-02.0 feet) toss in the discus throw event, where she finished sixth overall. Melgar will contend for the shot put title as the No. 12 seed in Austin, while Brandenburg will enters the meet as the No. 10 seed in the discus throw.Northwestern State will also send a pair of women’s field competitors to the NCAA Championships as Reagan Darbonne and Jasmyn Steels will represent the Lady Demons. Darbonne secured her spot with a 10th-place finish at the East Preliminary Championships (May 24). The Northwestern State pole vaulter cleared the bar at the east regional meet with a 4.17m (13-08.25 feet) leap that stands as a personal best and an NSU school record. Steels stitched together a performance to be remembered in the long jump at the east regional meet, logging a second-place, 6.22m (20-05.0 feet) leap on her third and final attempt. The Northwestern State junior long jumper will look to claim her second national long jump title of the year after taking gold at the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championships (March 8).Incarnate Word’s Sarea Alexander will be the lone Cardinal representing her school at the NCAA Championships as the senior jumper secured a spot in the long jump with an eighth-place finish at the NCAA West Regional Championships. Alexander registered a 6.21m (20-04.5 feet) leap in order to become the first-ever UIW competitor at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.Houston Baptist’s Denim Rogers will represent his university in the two-day decathlon at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Rogers secured a spot at the national meet with his score of 7,504 at the Bryan Clay Multis in Azusa, Calif. (April 17-18). His qualifying mark stands as the 13th best among the 24 qualifying competitors. Rogers’ appearance at the national meet solidifies him as the first Husky to qualify for the national meet since the program was reinstated in 2008.Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Sashane Hanson qualified for the high jump as the lone Islanders’ competitor after finishing fourth overall at the West Regional Championships. Hanson cleared the bar with a 1.80m (5-10.75 feet) leap to cement her position in the NCAA Championships. The senior is set to begin her high jump competition beginning Saturday at 5 p.m.Action kicks off at the 2019 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships Wednesday at 12 p.m. CT with the decathlon. Day one will consist of 21 events (10 prelims, 11 finals).Fans looking to keep up with all three days of competition can follow live coverage on ESPN, ESPNU or ESPN3. For a full list of events and broadcast channels, click here.A full schedule of events can be found here.last_img read more