After sweeping the Colonial Athletic Association conference meet on both the men’s and women’s sides, bids to advance to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championship came quickly. Athletes needed to finish in the top 12 slots of their event to advance from the NCAA East Preliminaries to the NCAA Championship, held in Eugene, Oregon.
The men’s program sent seven athletes to the East Preliminaries, none of whom finished high enough to advance to the finals. Senior Josh Hardin battled a rainy and tough field to finish six seconds shy of advancement, crossing the line in 14th place in the 10,000 meter run. Freshman Bob Smutsky threw two personal bests in the javelin toss, but finished three spots out of qualification.
On the women’s side, junior Elaina Balouris finds herself in familiar territory. Balouris’ 33 minute, 43 second 10,000 meter run placed her ninth in the East Preliminary, advancing her to the NCAA Championship for the second year in a row. The time also qualifies Balouris for the United States of America Track and Field Senior Championships.
Freshman Emily Stites joins Balouris in Eugene after her 16:12 5,000 meter time won an automatic qualification to the NCAA Championships. Stites, whose freshman year has far exceeded even her own expectations, will conclude her season June 7 at 9:15 p.m. Balouris will run two days earlier, at 10:10 p.m. June 5.
Editor’s take: The College’s most successful program continues to shine. Sweeping the conference cross country and track and field titles this past fall and spring, the season still isn’t over. Stites, the program’s brightest star, looks to take home another national title in the 5,000 meter run. Balouris, who will head back to Williamsburg for her senior year, returns to the national stage for a second time in as many years. If you’re in Oregon, make the trip to Eugene and see the best William and Mary has to offer on the track.