XCTF sends six to NCAA championships

Sports General Cover Photo

Joelle Conway

Six Washburn track and field student athletes will be competing at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships. The championships begin May 23 in Kingsville, Texas.

The six student athletes who advanced to NCAA Outdoor Championships are Allexis Menghini, Rachael Mayberry, Skyler Saunders, MaKayla Kueser, Shelby Edwards and Tom Haug. This is a record number of Washburn students qualifying for the outdoor championships.

Menghini is a senior pole vaulter who is returning to the NCAA championships for her fourth time. Menghini is Washburn’s first automatic NCAA championship qualifier in the university’s history. The fourth best in this season’s NCAA Division II, she hit a mark of 13 feet 6.5 inches and won the ESU Sam Williams Twilight Qualifier. Menghini finished eleventh at the 2017 indoor championships, eighteenth at the 2017 outdoor championships and ninth at the 2019 indoor championships.

After an injury last year, Menghini was a medical redshirt for both 2018 seasons. Menghini beat the odds and came back this year.

“I had a bit of a trial last year not being able to compete. So I’m really excited to be able to come back and make it to nationals. I’m ready to go,” said Menghini.

Sophomore Mayberry is ranked sixteenth in the NCAA pole vault outdoor championships with a vault of 12 feet 10 inches. This is her third time competing at the NCAA championships. At the 2019 indoor championship, Mayberry placed tenth. She took ninth place at the 2018 indoor championships.

Mayberry attributes consistency to her making outdoor championships this year.

“Last year, I made it to the indoor NCAA championships and then for outdoor, I missed it by two spots because I couldn’t hit the same marks as I did at indoor,” Mayberry explained. “This outdoor season, I was just trying to make every single meet count and get over consistent heights. I think that’s what did it for me.”

Sophomore Haug is the only Ichabod from the men’s XCTF team to make it to this year’s nationals. He will be competing in high jump. Haug cleared a height of 7 feet 0.25 inches. During the NCAA indoor championship earlier this season, Haug placed eighth, tying with another competitor.

Ranked sixth in the tournament, Edwards is a sophomore returning to the outdoor championships for javelin. She threw 160 feet 9 inches at the MIAA championship, winning first place. In 2018, Edwards placed eleventh at the NCAA outdoor championships.

Kueser, junior long jumper, is seeded twelfth in the NCAA outdoor championships. At the West Texas Classic, Kueser qualified for the championships after hitting 19 feet 7 inches. This year marks her first appearance at an NCAA championship.

Freshman Saunders is ranked thirteenth in the high jump championships with a jump of 5 feet 7.75 inches. Saunders took fourteenth place at the NCAA indoor championship earlier this year.

Edited by Adam White and Abbie Barth