Trio of Spartans Earn Second-Team All-America Honors At NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

2016 NCAA East Prelims, Day 2
2016 NCAA East Prelims, Day 2

Lauren Chorny, Rachele Schulist and Alexis Wiersma garnered second-team All-America honors

EUGENE, Oregon – Seniors Lauren Chorny and Rachele Schulist, and junior Alexis Wiersma garnered second-team All-America honors on Thursday, June 9, at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Schulist earned her third outdoor second-team honor (two in the 5,000m, one in the 10,000m), while Chorny and Wiersma earned their first outdoor All-American accolades.

Schulist opened the 10K toward the back of the field with Wiersma. Within the first five laps, Schulist inched her way into the top-10 where she remained for much of the race. With six laps to go, Schulist began losing touch with the lead pack as she was in ninth. Wiersma spent much of the race on her own after being disconnected from the lead group a little over a mile into the run. Fueled by personal records of 33:24.97 and 33:49.21, respectively, Schulist and Wiersma finished 11th and 16th.

“I just stayed engaged and didn’t get discouraged,” Schulist said. “It was a whole new level of competition out there. I just controlled myself and my emotions because it is a long race out there. It meant a lot to get here after a weird year for me. I hadn’t competed that well in awhile, so it was what I needed.”

Chorny opened the competition with a first-attempt clearance of 4.05m. It was the fourth time this season she sailed over the height. Chorny was knocked out of the field at 4.20m, leaving just nine remaining. She finished in a four-way tie for 10th, earning second-team All-America status.

“Making it here is a big accomplishment,” said Chorny. “In my pole vaulting career, I have come a long way and have learned a lot about myself. It wasn’t my best day, but it was fun and I will take the experience with me the rest of my life."

Senior Katie Landwehr advanced in the steeplechase, taking fifth in the opening heat with an effort of 9:59.77. Landwehr opened the race inside the top-five, where she patiently remained throughout the race. She moved to third while the pack broke apart, but faded down the final backstretch to fifth. The final of the steeplechase will be on Saturday at 6:54 p.m. ET.

“There definitely is a lot more competition here, being the semifinals of the NCAA,” Landwehr said. “Looking at the girls in my heat, they are talented runners so I knew they were going to make it pretty honest. I knew I had to go out and compete for a top five spot.”

Senior Cynthia Watt competed in flight one of the hammer finals. Watt opened with a heave of 58.59m. She followed the effort with tosses of 58.15m and 55.55m. Watt closed her trip to Eugene in 20th overall, garnering honorable mention All-America accolades.

Junior Aubrey Wilberding, who reached Eugene in the 800m fueled by a pair of personal records at the NCAA East Prelims, crossed the line in eighth of the opening heat. Wilberding’s 2:09.92 finished 23rd overall. She ends the season with honorable mention All-America plaudits.

Sophomore Katelyn Daniels will compete in the finals of the discus on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. ET.

Daniels qualified with a second-place effort in the NCAA East Preliminary in the discus. She opened the discus competition with a career-best heave of 59.52m. Daniels has five top-five finishes, with two event wins in the discus. Daniels won the 2015 Big Ten title in the discus and was runner-up this season.

The NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships will be live on ESPN and WatchESPN throughout three of the four days of competition. ESPN picks up action of Friday at 8:30 p.m. and at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. All times are ET.

Last year’s meet drew record numbers of television viewers to the ESPN network. The men’s and women’s championship finals averaged 579,000 and 534,000 viewers, respectfully – making those the two most-watched sessions of the NCAA championships ever on the ESPN channels.

At this year’s NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the men compete on Wednesday, June 8 and Friday, June 10. The women take over on Thursday, June 9 and Saturday, June 11. The only overlap occurs in the combined events with the decathlon spilling over into Thursday, and the heptathlon starting on Friday.