Eight members of the Syracuse Orange track and field teams are headed to Indiana University this week to compete in the NCAA East Regionals. The way NCAA outdoor track and field qualifying works is that the top 48 athletes in each event go to the two regionals and 12 from each event will qualify to advance to Eugene Oregon and the NCAA Championships.
Action starts on Wednesday with the men and Jaheem Hayles will be first to compete when the rounds of the 110m hurdles begin at 6 pm. Hayles has the 12-fastest time (13.57) in the region heading into the meet and in the first round of the event the top 3 in each of the 6 heats along with the next 6 fastest times will advance to Friday’s quarterfinal.
Nathan Henderson will be next as he runs the first round of the 1500m at 6:30. Henderson’s 3:42.03 is the 30th-best time in the region and his ability to advance will likely be determined by the final 200m of the event. Most of the distance races are tactical as athletes try to conserve energy while advancing which does open up opportunities for upsets.
Wrapping up Wednesday evening’s entries are a trio of Orange runners in the 10000m semifinal. Joe Dragon (13th 28:34), JP Trojan (15th 28:35) and Matthew Scrape (41st 29:07) will be the first Syracuse athletes with a chance of qualifying for Nationals. Dragon and Trojan will be looking to extend their careers one more meet and based on their times they should be in contention for a qualifying spot in this one while Scrape will likely need to run a season-best to be in position for a top 12 spot.
The women take over on Thursday and Abigail Spiers will be competing at 9:10 in the 10000m. Spiers enters the meet with a time of 34:17 in the event which places her 41st and 40 seconds behind the 12th fastest time. Like Scrape, Spiers will need to run a fast time and hope that a tactical race gives her a chance to contend over the final 1000m.
Friday gives us the next round of the 110m hurdles and 1500m run so we hope that Hayles and Henderson are back in action but we know that Kevin Robertson will compete in the 3000m steeplechase. Robertson’s time of 8:46.98 is 20th in the region and with the top 3 from each heat and next 3 fastest advancing to Eugene he’s going to have a shot at getting through in his first regionals appearance.
The meet concludes on Saturday when Annie Boos will take the track for the 3000m steeplechase at 5:40. Boos has the best regional qualifier for Syracuse this season as her 9:56 is 8th in the event. She still needs to run well as like the men, it’s the top 3 in each heat and next 3 fastest times who punch their ticket to Eugene.
We’ll recap the action later this week and hope that several of these athletes are advancing to the NCAA Championships.