UC Riverside sent eight athletes to compete at the NCAA West Regional Preliminary Round, which was held this past week at the Mike A. Myers stadium in Austin, Texas. In order to move past the preliminary round and onto the national meet, each Highlander athlete needed to come in the top 12 places in their respective events. Out of the eight, Travis Smith, Caleb Stuart and Ryan Swafford were the only Highlanders to advance on to the NCAA National Championships. This is the first time in Highlander history that the track and field program has sent three athletes to the national round. UCR will also be the only Big West team this season having more than two athletes qualify for the national competition.
Travis Smith in the men’s shot put set a mark of 18.48m, claiming a new school record in the process. His mark positioned him in 11th place, as he qualified to move on to nationals. Smith also qualified himself for the Olympic Trials “B” standard meet.
Ashley Gatewood set a mark of 48.48m in the women’s javelin, as she finished in 13th place, missing 12th place by 0.03m, which would of qualified her for NCAA nationals. Gatewood also competed in the hammer throw event, where she finished in 37th place with a throw of 54.66m.
Raquel Heflin finished in 19th placed in the women’s 800m with a time of 2:08.63.
Deja Watkins finished in 21st place with a 50.0m throw in the women’s discus. The qualifying mark set in the event was 51.30m.
Ted Hooper took part in the men’s long jump, but the sophomore from Arcadia could not post a mark on the board, as he fouled on three of his attempts.
Caleb Stuart’s throw of 63.60m in the men’s hammer throw set a new school record. The 63.60m mark also enabled Stuart to easily qualify for nationals, as he finished in fifth place.
Ryan Swafford had a bad start as he fouled on his first attempt. On his second attempt though, Swafford set a personal best with a jump of 15.80m in the men’s triple jump, placing seventh.
Demajeria Dubose ran a 4:31.59, placing 19th place in the women’s 1,500m distance finals. Dubose was the 32nd seed after the first round, but her 19th place finish moved her up 23 places.
Smith, Stuart, and Swafford will travel to Des Moines, Iowa to compete at Drake Stadium in the NCAA National Championship from June 6-9.