BUFFALO, NY – A total of ten University at Buffalo athletes in 12 events have earned invitations to compete in the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field East Region Preliminary Round, the first step to the NCAA National Championships. The regionals are scheduled for May 24-26 at the University of North Florida's Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville.
Representing the UB women's team are throwers Kristy Woods, Rachel Roberts and Erin Miller, hurdlers Brooklynn Ventura and Anna Holmes and middle-distance specialist Asia Henry. For the UB men, four athletes, throwers Rob Golabek, Corey Knox and Jacob Sunday and hurdler Will Cole, are among those entered in the field.
Woods and Roberts are entered in the women's shot put, slated for Thursday, May 24 at 1:00 pm. Woods is seeded 28th with her top throw of 50-10.75 (15.51m) coming at the Bucknell Bison Outdoor Classic on April 15. Roberts is seeded 31st at 50-8 (15.44m) following her victory at the Penn Relays on April 26. Woods finished fourth and Roberts took sixth at the MAC Championships.
Woods will also compete in the women's hammer throw on Saturday, May 26 at 2:00 pm, along with Miller. Both throwers posted their top marks at the MAC Championships with Miller finishing fourth at 188-10 (57.56m) and Woods placing fifth at 187-6 (57.16m). Miller is seeded 24th in the regional field with Woods 26th.
Ventura will race in the women's 100-meter hurdles with first-round heats on Friday, May 25 at 5:30 pm and the quarterfinals on Saturday at 7:20 pm. Ventura is seeded 46th with her 13.71 clocking from April 29 when she won the Big Red Invitational. She ran a wind-aided 13.60 at the Cortland Classic Invitational on April 20 and placed fourth in the finals at the MAC meet last weekend.
Holmes is seeded 12th in the women's 400-meter hurdles, which will be contested on Thursday at 5:00 pm with the quarterfinal round on Friday at 7:45 pm. Holmes won the MAC title in the event after twice breaking the UB record, finishing with a 58.38 clocking in the championship race, and taking 1.40 seconds off her previous best time prior to the MAC meet.
Henry is entered in the women's 800-meters, which will have heats on Thursday at 8:35 pm and quarterfinals on Friday at 7:15 pm. Henry is seeded 34th with her 2:07.49 showing which won the 800-meters at the Bucknell meet. She placed third in the MAC Championships last week just six-hundredths of a second off her top mark.
Golabek, an All-America honoree in 2011, will compete in the men's shot put on Saturday at 5:00 pm. Golabek is seeded seventh in the field with a top throw of 63-4.75 (19.32m), set at the Bucknell meet when he finished second to Penn State's Joe Kovacs, the region's top seed. Golabek threw 61-4.75 (18.71m) at last week's MAC Championships as he won his third consecutive men's outdoor shot put title.
Knox will compete with Golabek in the shot put as well as the men's discus on Thursday at 1:00 pm. Knox is seeded 35th in the shot put after posting his top mark of 56-10.75 (17.34m) at Bucknell. He is seeded 22nd in the discus following his MAC Championships performance of 176-7 (53.82m) where he second and earned second-team All-MAC recognition.
Sunday competes on Thursday at 11:00 am in the men's javelin. He finished fourth at the Penn Relays with his season-best throw of 208-0 (63.42m) to earn the region's 42nd seed. He finished third at the MAC Championships with toss of 204-0 (62.18m).
Cole will be in the men's 400-meter hurdles on Thursday at 4:30 pm with the quarterfinal round on Friday at 7:30 pm. Cole set his top time of the season (52.29) when he finished second at the MAC Championships and earned a spot on the All-MAC Second Team. He is seeded 35th overall.
Women's head coach Vicki Mitchell commented on her team's performances as they head into the regional meet. "Six women advancing to the NCAA East Preliminary Round is proof to the level of performance that our women have achieved this season. We head to Jacksonville with excitement and high aspirations. Our coaching staff is extremely proud of the accomplishments of these six women and of the entire team this season."
"We have a possiblity of qualifying three or four to the finals of the NCAA's," said men's head coach Perry Jenkins. "On the men's side, I'm very proud of the four student-athletes that are representing the University at Buffalo at the first round of the NCAA's."
Jenkins also highlighted on Golabek's chances for advancement. "Right now Robert Golabek is in the top 10 to advance to the final. It's not a guarantee, but I see Mr. Golabek advancing to the final where he represented the University at Buffalo last year. But you never know. That's why you show up to the dance."
A total of 48 athletes are entered in each individual event. Seedings are based on their top marks for the 2012 season. Track events will consist of a first round and a quarterfinal round in which the top 24 runners from the first round will compete. For field events, after their first three attempts, the top 16 entrants will move into the second round of competition.
The top 12 finishers in each event will move on to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships, June 6-9 in Des Moines, IA. The West Region Preliminary Round will also be held May 24-26 in Austin, TX as 24 total spots in the national field will be determined from the two regional meets. The Bulls advanced three athletes, Golabek (shot put), Matt Gac (discus) and Becky O'Brien, (shot put and discus) to the 2011 National Championships also held in Des Moines.