ELON, N.C. – The Elon University track and field team had a program-best five athletes qualify for the 2014 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round in Jacksonville, Florida, as announced on Thursday afternoon, May 22. The preliminary round is slated to begin on May 29-31.
Bria Bell (400-meters), Jennifer Esposito (400-meter hurdles), Sydney Griffin (100-meter hurdles), Megan Kirschling (high jump) and Allyson Oram (10,000-meters) will represent the maroon and gold at the NCAA Prelims after finishing in the top-48 of their respective events in the East region this season.
“I’m so excited and happy for each of the young ladies as this is a huge achievement for our program,” said Elon head track and field coach Mark Elliston. “To have a school-record five athletes qualify for the NCAAs is a testament to their hard work and determination over the year. We’re looking forward to representing the university with a strong showing next week in Jacksonville.
“I also want to say thank you to all of our supporters during the year from President (Leo) Lambert, Dave Blank, Faith Shearer and many others. I also want to recognize Coach (Christine) Engel for the great job she has done with the distance group and our athletic trainer Marty Baker as well.”
This is the second straight year that Elon has sent an athlete to the NCAA East Prelims and three out of the last four. The five competitors also bests the program’s previous high of two in both 2006 and 2001.
Bell won the 400-meters at the Southern Conference Outdoor Championships on May 27 with a school-record time of 53.95. The senior from East Brunswick, New Jersey, also earned outdoor All-SoCon honors with the 4×400-meter relay team.
Esposito was also an outdoor conference champion in the 400-meter hurdles with a program-best time of 59.60. She also received outdoor All-SoCon marks in the 4×400-meter relay and a spot on the SoCon Outdoor All-Freshman team.
Griffin also had a gold medalist performance in the 100-meter hurdles at the SoCon Outdoor Championships and broke her own school-record in the event last weekend at the Wolfpack Last Chance Qualifier. The Marietta, Georgia, native clocked in a time of 13.56 in the event.
Kirschling set a new SoCon outdoor record in the high jump after clearing the bar at 5’10.5” (1.79m) at the league championships. She is also the highest-ranked Phoenix athlete in her event, sitting in the top-20 of the region.
Oram will represent the distance group in the 10,000-meters. The Marlborough, Massachusetts, native broke her own school-record in the event at the prestigious Stanford Invitational with a time of 34:49.59. She received All-SoCon outdoor accolades in the 5,000-meters.
The top 12 of each event at the preliminaries will then advance to the NCAA Championships on June 6-14, held in Eugene, Oregon, hosted by the University of Oregon.