LOUISVILLE, Ky.(NEWS RELEASE) -- Four University of Louisville track and field student-athletes secured spots at the NCAA Outdoor Championships by advancing out of their respective events Thursday at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Rounds at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla.
Highlighting the day were throwers Khadija Abdullah and Chinwe Okoro, as the duo placed first and second, respectively, in the in women’s shot put competition.
Behind a career-best mark, Abdullah’s throw of 17.12m/56-2 in the shot helped her capture the event title and punch Louisville’s first ticket of the day to nationals. The senior sent her first two throws just over 52 feet before improving her mark by four feet for her second win in the event this season. Okoro, who took runner-up honors and earned the team’s second bid to nationals, posted a throw of 16.86m/55-3.75.
Abdullah and Okoro each earned All-America distinctions in the event at last year’s outdoor championships.
Charachesicia Lockhart guaranteed her second appearance of her career at the national championships, while breaking her school record in the long jump. On her third attempt of the day, Lockhart jumped 6.34m/20-9.75 – four inches better than the previous school best – to place third in the competition. She is scheduled to participate in the triple jump on Saturday.
Louisville’s final national championships qualifier of the day came in the form of Holly Knight. The graduate student raced to a seventh-place finish in the 10,000m, the final event of the day, in 34:29.77. Already a three-time All-American, including once in the 10,000m, Knight entered the competition with the second-fastest mark in the region.
On the men’s side, Jordon Frazier remained in the hunt to earn a trip to the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. By finishing 25th in the 400m hurdles behind a time of 52.80, the senior will participate in the quarterfinals of the event Friday night. To advance to nationals, he must finish in the top 12.
Thursday’s competition also signaled the conclusion of four student-athletes’ seasons, as Wesley Smith (long jump), Emmanuel Matadi (100m), Jenna Wargo (javelin) and Ahlivia Spencer (800m) were unable to advance in their respective events. Smith fell just one quarter of an inch short from finishing in the top 12 to advance.
Louisville returns to action on Friday, May 25, in Jacksonville at 10 a.m., with Sam Bombaugh in the men’s hammer throw.
For all of the latest information on Louisville cross country and track and field, log on to UofLsports.com, or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow the team's Twitter account.