Five Toledo student-athletes will continue their season at the NCAA East Regional Preliminary Meet on the campus of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville beginning Thursday, May 26.
“It’s great for the program to have five athletes in,” Head Coach Linh Nguyen said, “especially across the different event groups. It shows we can nationally compete in a number of events.”
The top 48 competitors from each event throughout the east region qualified for the meet. Senior Kyesha Neal, junior Madeline Pacella, senior Brooke Tullis, freshman Jennifer Lichter and senior Liz Weiler qualified for the NCAA meet.
Neal qualified in two events, the shot put and the discus, with marks of 15.47 meters and 49.55 meters. Neal ranks 30th in the region in the shot put and 41st in the region in the discus.
Pacella also will represent the field events in the high jump. Pacella sits in 31st with a mark of 1.76 meters, which she earned at the Hillsdale College Gina Relays.
“Our field events have gotten stronger,” Nguyen said. “The throws have taken a big step forward, and Madeline in the high jump has done tremendous. It shows the development of the program.”
Tullis and freshman Jennifer Lichter will compete in the 10,000-meter. Tullis ranks 17th in the region with a time of 34:11.33, and Lichter ranks 35th with a time of 34:38.83. Tullis earned his best time at the Stanford Invitational, while Lichter earned her time at the Raleigh Relays.
At the Mid-American Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Tullis and Lichter ran the 5,000-meter in preparation for the 10,000-meter.
“The MAC 5K was a very tactical championship race, and I think it gave them solid preparation for Jacksonville,” Nguyen said. “They had to hang tough in the 5K, and having the practice will help them.”
Lichter will run her second career 10,000-meter race at the NCAA meet.
“She’s pretty tough mentally,” Nguyen said. “Brooke has run this race here before, and Jennifer can lean on her for advice.”
Weiler will return to the NCAA meet in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Weiler sits 15th in the NCAA East Region with a time of 10:10.89 and earned that mark at the Virginia Challenge.
“Liz knows what she is capable of,” Nguyen said. “This is her third time running this in Jacksonville, and she has done better in each race.”
The top 12 from each event will move on to the NCAA Outdoor Championships June 8-11.
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