Texas State athletes advance to national outdoor competition

Sports Reporter

Texas State Track and Field competed in the NCAA West Preliminary Round at Arkansas last weekend.

The team had two athletes advance to the NCAA Final Championships, Darian Brown, junior thrower, and Allie Saunders, junior jumper.

“The biggest thing that Allie and Darian bring to our team is experience and leadership, but each shows leadership in a different way,” said Coach Dana Boone. “Darian is a vocal leader, while Allie leads by example on the track. The two of them qualifying for the final championships is a good step for the future to build our program.”

Saunders qualified for the Final Championships Friday, finishing eighth out of 44 participants with a triple jump of 12.77 meters. Saunders’ triple jump matches an outdoor career high that she set earlier this season.

Brown completed a discus throw of 58.10 meters, just short of his outdoor career high, which placed him seventh out of 47 participants.

“Throughout the season we had a few rough patches, went through ups and downs, but I’m obviously pleased with the end results,” Brown said. “Everything has turned out for the better, and I have reached my season-long goal of qualifying for nationals.”

Danielle Candelaria, senior jumper, tied for 13th in the high jump with a height of 1.72 meters but missed qualifying for the final championships. Marika Brown, freshman runner, finished 19th in the 200-meter semi-finals with a time of 23.75, and Talore Kelly, sophomore thrower, finished 28th in the hammer throw.

“Last year we had a lot of seniors, causing us to lose several leaders on our team,” Boone said. “One of the most important things for me this season was to train up and develop new leaders, build the culture so we perform when it counts. Having two juniors qualify for nationals will benefit us next year.”

Twenty Bobcats qualified for 21 events in the NCAA West Preliminary. There were 200 teams represented and approximately 1,670 athletes competing.

Prior to the NCAA West Preliminary, the Texas State track and field team competed in the Sun Belt Outdoor Conference Championships, with the women’s team finishing third and the men’s team finishing fourth.

“This season, we didn’t do as well as we had hoped, but we have a lot to build on because this is a young team,” Boone said.  “Since I have been at Texas State, we have been through three different conferences, so that has provided us with a challenge, but overall it was a good season.”

The 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be held June 11-14 at Oregon.

 

Follow Tyler Hammond on Twitter: @tyhamm28