May 27, 2011
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BLOOMINGTON, IN – Red-shirt junior April Sinkler qualified for the NCAA Championships in the high jump and triple jump on Friday, giving her a perfect 3-for-3 performance this week in terms of qualifying for the national outdoor meet held in Des Moines from June 8-11. Defending NCAA triple jump champion Patricia Mamona also locked up a berth in the event, while Justin Murdock will return to the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the first time since 2009. Also on Friday, first-time tickets to the NCAA Championships were punched by Sonni Austin, Warren Fraser and Alyssa Kulik.
“Overall, it was a pretty productive day,” said Lawrence Johnson, Clemson’s Director of Track & Field. “We received big runs from Justin Murdock and Warren Fraser. It was a fine performance by April Sinkler, who had two events going on at the same time today. Patricia really made a statement early and took care of her business. Then, we qualified some people for the next rounds tomorrow that we thought we could.”
Sinkler’s high jump transfer came with a tense moment. She had to clear the bar at 5’8.75″ on her third attempt, but did so successfully. She then cleared the next two bars on her second try (best of 5’11.25″) to earn a spot at outdoor nationals in the high jump for the first time. She has competed in the event indoors on two occasions. She is the first Tiger female to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the high jump since Sharia Clinkscales (1994), and only the second in school history.
Sinkler’s busy afternoon continued in the triple jump, where she hit a mark of 41’9.75″ on her first attempt of the finals to place eighth overall. Mamona was second among the field of 48, and only needed one attempt to do it. She was strong out of the gates with a jump of 44’3.5″ and will look to defend her crown in the event in two weeks at Drake Stadium. Mamona will compete for the fourth time at the outdoor national meet in her decorated career.
Murdock and Fraser both advanced to the semifinals in Des Moines in the 100. Fraser ran a 10.30, showing the same form of three weeks ago when he set a personal best at the Bob Pollock Invitational. Murdock ran 10.35, and the two were both among the top six competitors Friday. Murdock, who is returning to the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the first time since his freshman year, also qualified (21.28) for Saturday’s quarterfinal round in the 200.
“Those two guys (Murdock and Fraser) have had a strong month of May,” Johnson said. “We challenged them to be as good as their talent says they should be. They stepped up in fine fashion by auto qualifying in the 100.”
Kulik became the first Clemson female to advance to the NCAA Championships in the steeplechase. She won the third and final section and was second-fastest overall with a time of 9:58.48. Kulik is the first Clemson female to run under 10 minutes in the event. It was the first NCAA qualification of any kind for the Tiger junior from Simpsonville, SC.
“Alyssa was intent on winning her race,” Johnson said. “She had a huge personal best, which puts her in the upper echelon nationally. I’ve never seen her run that determined, I am really proud of the effort she put forth.”
Austin was impressive in the 400 hurdles, clocking a lifetime best time of 57.31. She dropped four tenths of a second off her previous best 57.72. Austin will compete in the event at Des Moines, the first Tiger female since Silja Ulfarsdottir in 2005 to represent the program at the national championship meet.
“Sonni ran a great race and did what she had to do,” Johnson said. “She’s starting to come into her own. But, at the same time, there’s so much more potential there.”
Spencer Adams was sharp in Friday’s 110 hurdle prelims. The red-shirt sophomore clocked a time of 13.83 into a head wind, the second-best time overall. Miller Moss (14.41) and Marcus Maxey (14.45) just missed advancing to the quarterfinals, which will be Saturday at 7:20 PM.
Four women’s hurdlers moved on to the quarterfinals after Friday’s action. Michaylin Golladay (13.38), Bridgette Owens (13.44) and Monique Gracia (13.53) all advanced automatically by placing in the top three of their respective heat. Jasmine Edgerson (13.80) also moved on, based on time. Saturday’s quarterfinals will take place at 7:05 PM.
Chris Slate finished 16th in the men’s 800 quarterfinals, missing one of the transfer spots by a slim margin. He had a time of 1:50.29. Ty McCormack competed in his first NCAA event, the men’s steeplechase. The Georgia native posted a time of 9:01.82 and was 23rd overall. Stephanie Buffo was 29th in the women’s steeplechase with a time of 10:38.25.
Josh Fowler put a wrap on his career. The Clemson graduate was 17th in the triple jump, hitting on a top mark of 49’8.25″ in the first flight.
Liane Weber – an NCAA qualifier in the heptathlon – competed in the open javelin on Friday. She was 18th with a top mark of 145’9″, narrowly missing the top 12 for the right to compete at Des Moines. Weber will be one of 24 contestants in the heptathlon in two weeks.
Alex Padgett concluded his career on Friday. The recent graduate and 2011 ACC shot put champion was 30th overall in the hammer throw. He hit a mark of 187’8″ on his second attempt during the preliminary round. He will close out his time at Clemson ranked second on the school’s all-time performance list for the hammer.
The Tigers close out action in Bloomington on Saturday. Brittney Waller is scheduled for the women’s discus throw at 11:00 AM, but the first track event will be the women’s 4x100m relay at 6:00 PM.
Clemson’s NCAA Qualifiers – FridayWarren Fraser – Men’s 100Justin Murdock – Men’s 100Sonni Austin – Women’s 400 HurdlesAlyssa Kulik – Women’s 3000 SteeplechaseApril Sinkler – Women’s High Jump, Triple JumpPatricia Mamona – Women’s Triple Jump
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