NCAA West Preliminary Rounds
The University of Northern Iowa men's and women's track and field teams will send 17 athletes to compete at the NCAA Division I Track & Field West Preliminary Rounds in Austin, Texas, from May 24-26. The Preliminary Rounds serve as the sole method of qualification for the NCAA Outdoor Championships to be held June 6-9 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
OUT OF THE BLOCKS
UNI will be sending 17 athletes to the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds in a total of 13 events. This marks the largest group of NCAA qualifiers for UNI since the transition to the new championships format in 2010.
The UNI men have seven entries in the throwing events for the NCAA Championships -- the fourth-most in the nation. Justin Romero (shot put), Jordan Williams (discus, shot put) and Tanner Hurt (hammer throw) all rank in the Top-15 of the West Region.
Not a Bad Number
Excluding the major conferences (SEC, Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC), only seven schools in the nation have more entries at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds than the UNI men (14).
Justin Romero (Shot Put, Senior, Cedar Falls, Iowa)
Romero will be making his second appearance at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds in the shot put after also qualifying in 2011. His No. 10 ranking in the West Region is the highest rank of all UNI athletes entering the meet. Romero has broken the school record in the shot put twice already this season, having topped it by more than one foot on both occasions. At the Messersmith Invite on May 4, he threw the current UNI all-time best of 61-01.50 (18.63m). Romero won the MVC indoor title in the shot put in 2011 and 2012 and was the runner-up at the MVC Outdoor Championships both years.
Jordan Williams (Discus, Shot Put, Junior, Monticello, Iowa)
With an outstanding 2012 season, Williams has made a case for himself as one of the top all-around throwers in UNI history. For the second straight year, he has advanced to the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds in two events, qualifying in the discus and shot put this season after competing in the discus and hammer throw a year ago. He has won the last two MVC titles in the discus. Williams ranks No. 2 all-time at UNI in the discus and shot put, No. 4 in the indoor shot put, and No. 5 in the hammer throw.
Tanner Hurt (Hammer Throw, Senior, Newton, Iowa)
The UNI school record-holder in the hammer throw, Hurt enters the NCAA Preliminary Rounds with the No. 14 mark in the West region. His season-best throw of 203-05 (62.01m) came on May 4 at the Messersmith Invite. Hurt's lifetime best in the event is 206-01. He took runner-up honors at the 2012 MVC Outdoor Championships.
4x100m Relay (Carlos Anderson, Derek Kramer, Wilmot Wellington, Jarred Herring)
This quartet returns to the NCAA Preliminary Rounds for the second straight season. They've won the last two MVC titles in the 4x100m relay, and last year they advanced to the national semifinals to earn honorable mention All-American recognition. Their time of 40.11 seconds from Apr. 28 at the Drake Relays ranks No. 3 in school history and No. 16 in the West region this year.
Sam Kranz (Pole Vault, Senior, Sugar Grove, Ill.)
Kranz will be making his third straight appearance at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds in the pole vault, having placed 16th as a sophomore in 2010 and 19th as a junior in 2011. This year he enters with a tie for the 23rd-best mark, clearing 17-02.75 (5.25m) at the MVC Outdoor Championships. Kranz owns three MVC titles in the pole vault between the indoor and outdoor seasons.
Olimpia Nowak (400m Hurdles, 100m Hurdles, Senior, Rawicz, Poland)
Nowak has qualified for the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds in both hurdle events for the second straight season, coming in ranked at No. 25 in the 400m hurdles and No. 27 in the 100m hurdles. Her 400m hurdles personal-best time of 58.77 seconds ranks No. 2 in UNI history, and her 100m hurdles personal-best of 13.58 seconds stands as the school record. Nowak is also one of the nation's premier multi-event athletes, having locked up a spot in the NCAA Championships in the heptathlon.
Daniel Gooris (Pole Vault, Junior, Albuquerque, N.M.)
Gooris earned his third straight berth in the pole vault at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds with a clearance of 17-00.75 (5.20m) at the Drake Relays. He has come painfully close to qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the event in each of the last two seasons, finishing 14th on both occasions with the top 12 vaulters advancing. Gooris has already guaranteed himself a trip to Des Moines for the NCAA Outdoor Championships this year by holding the No. 15 spot on the national list in the decathlon.
Aaron Stockstell (800m, Senior, Iowa City, Iowa)
Stockstell owns the fastest 800m time in the Valley this season and is currently No. 32 in the West Region at 1:49.29. He placed second in the 800m at the MVC Outdoor Championships, and his season-best time trails only former UNI athlete Tyler Mulder for the fastest time by an MVC athlete in the past four seasons. Stockstell also ran a leg on the Panthers' indoor and outdoor 4x400m relays that captured MVC titles.
Jarred Herring (100m, Senior, Burlington, Iowa)
Herring enters the NCAA Preliminary Rounds ranked No. 33 in the 100m with a time of 10.44 seconds. He won his third MVC title in the event on May 13, becoming only the seventh athlete in league history to win the 100m dash at least three times, having taken the championship in 2009 and 2011 as well. He is a 10-time All-MVC performer and the 2012 recipient of the MVC Elite 18 Award as the league's top student-athlete in men's outdoor track & field.
Adam McDonnell (Javelin, Hammer Throw, Sophomore, DeWitt, Iowa)
McDonnell will be making his first appearance at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds after qualifying in two events. He is ranked No. 34 in the javelin and No. 38 in the hammer throw in the West region this season, and he placed in both events at the MVC Outdoor Championships. McDonnell is No. 2 in school history in the javelin with a lifetime-best throw of 211-07.
Sebastian Barth (110m Hurdles, Freshman, Gauting, Germany)
Barth is one of three true freshmen who will be representing UNI at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds in Austin, having qualified with the 34th-fastest 110m hurdles time in the West region. He recorded his season-best time of 14.22 seconds at the Messersmith Invite on May 4. Barth took fourth in the event at the MVC Outdoor Championships.
Traci Harms (Hammer Throw, Senior, Hampton, Iowa)
Harms is making her second appearance at the Preliminary Rounds after coming in at No. 36 in the West region in the hammer throw. Her toss of 190-04 (58.01m) at the Messersmith Invite on May 4 has her at No. 2 on the UNI all-time performance list in the event. Harms is also second all-time at UNI in the weight throw and indoor shot put and fourth all-time in the outdoor shot put.
Justin Baker (Shot Put, Freshman, Sioux City, Iowa)
Baker qualified for the Preliminary Rounds as a true freshman after breaking out with a throw of 57-05.75 (17.52m) in the shot put at the Cornell Open on Apr. 14. He placed sixth at the MVC Outdoor Championships in the event and enters the Preliminary Rounds ranked No. 36 in the West Region.
Paige Knodle (400m Hurdles, Freshman, Byron, Ill.)
Knodle put together one of the best freshman seasons ever by a UNI woman in 2012, making an immediate impact in the hurdles and multi-events for the Panthers. She ran 59.81 in the 400m hurdles at the Messersmith Invite on May 4, becoming only the third woman in UNI history to finish the race in less than one minute, and she enters the Preliminary Rounds at No. 38 in the West Region. Knodle also finished the year ranked No. 25 in the nation in the heptathlon, missing out on a spot at the NCAA Championships by just seven points.
Jenna Wexter (Pole Vault, Senior, New Lenox, Ill.)
The UNI school record-holder in the indoor and outdoor pole vault, Wexter will be making her first appearance at the Preliminary Rounds. She used a personal-best clearance of 13-00.75 (3.98m) to tie for second place at the MVC Outdoor Championships and earn a trip to Austin. She enters the meet tied for No. 42 on the West Region performance list.
Athlete Event West Region Ranking
Olimpia Nowak Heptathlon 10 (national rank)
Justin Romero Shot Put 10
Jordan Williams Discus 11
Jordan Williams Shot Put 14
Tanner Hurt Hammer Throw 14
Daniel Gooris Decathlon 15 (national rank)
UNI 4x100m Relay 16
Sam Kranz Pole Vault 23
Olimpia Nowak 400m Hurdles 25
Olimpia Nowak 100m Hurdles 27
Daniel Gooris Pole Vault 31
Aaron Stockstell 800m 32
Jarred Herring 100m 33
Adam McDonnell Javelin 34
Sebastian Barth 110m Hurdles 34
Traci Harms Hammer Throw 36
Justin Baker Shot Put 36
Adam McDonnell Hammer Throw 38
Paige Knodle 400m Hurdles 38
Jenna Wexter Pole Vault 42
The UNI men came away from the 2012 MVC Outdoor Championships with five event titles. Jarred Herring (100m), Jordan Williams (discus) and Daniel Gooris (decathlon) each won individual championships, and the Panthers swept the relay titles by winning the 4x100 and 4x400.
Re-Writing the Record Books
The Panther women have seen school records fall in 11 different events over the past 15 months, and a total of 30 performances from this season alone rank in the school's all-time top-five.