Appalachian State University men's track and field finalized its list of athletes who will compete in the NCAA East Preliminary Round in Jacksonville, Fla. next week, May 24-26. The Mountaineers, who wrapped up their third-straight SoCon Outdoor Championship last month, will send a total of 12 competitors to the Sunshine State in an attempt to lock down
NCAA Championship berths. ASU will enter next week's meet ranked 88th nationally and 12th in the Southeast Region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
As per NCAA qualification standards, the top 12 performers in each event in each region will move on to the NCAA Championship at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa next month (June 6-9). The Apps currently boast several athletes with exceptional chances to move on to the NCAA Championships.
Darius Purcell, who broke the school record in the high jump (7'3.25") earlier this season, is currently ranked 10th nationally and seventh in the East Region. He has finished in the top three in seven of eight outdoor meets this season including first-place finishes at Auburn, Coastal Carolina and the annual Mountain vs. Beach meet in Wilmington, N.C.
Alex Taylor is poised to be a serious contender in the 1,500-meter run after breaking a 28-year old school record at Virginia last weekend. Taylor's time of 3:42.29 moved him into 22nd nationally in the event and 12th in the East Region.
Appalachian's remaining athletes who will compete next weekend include four sprinters, three distance runners, two jumpers and one thrower.
Dennis Moore is one of the top sprinters who will compete for the Apps in Jacksonville. Moore will participate in the 100-meter dash and the 4x100-meter relay. His time of 10.35 seconds in the 100-meter dash at the SoCon Championships rank him 26th in the East Region and 48th nationally.
Landon Powell will also run the 100-meter dash and 4x100-meter relay. His time of 10.42 seconds in the 100-meters at the league championships place him 42nd in the region and 76th nationally.
ASU's 4x100-meter relay team will also feature AJ Dohanic, whose time of 14.10 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles at Clemson two weeks ago have him ranked 41st in the region and 74th nationally.
The relay team will, which is ranked 27th in the region, be rounded out by Justin Thomas who was one of Appalachian's most reliable sprinters in the 100-meter and 200-meter events during the season.
The Mountaineers' contingent of distance runners includes three athletes ranked in the top 50 in the region in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Chris Moen leads the group as he ranks 37th in the East Region and 82nd nationally in the event with a time of 8:59.70.
Sean Soderman's season-best time of 9:01.38 rank him 44th in the region and 90th nationally while fellow runner Josh Cox's season-best performance of 9:03.31 place him 52nd in the region and 113 in the nation.
The Apps also boast two of the better jumpers in the region and nation in Daryl Saunders (high jump) and Jamal Tiller (triple jump). Saunders, who won the high jump at the SoCon Championships, is ranked 18th in the region an 26th nationally after posting a mark of 7'1.25" at the league championship.
Tiller, who has placed in the top four in four meets this season, ranks 52nd in the East and 98th nationally with a mark of 49'7".
Appalachian State's NCAA First Round competitors are rounded out by Jared Stalling, one of the top throwers in the nation.
Stalling, who was named as the Most Valuable Field Performer and Most Outstanding Athlete at the SoCon Outdoor Championships, will compete in the discus and hammer throws in Jacksonville.
The junior is ranked 43rd in the region in both events while ranking 92nd nationally in the hammer (192'0") and 97th in the discus (171'5").
On the women's side, Cassie Crawford will compete in the NCAA East Preliminaries in Jacksonville, Fla. next weekend (May 24-26).
Crawford, who is ranked 42nd in the East Region and 115th nationally in the pole vault, has finished in the top five in eight of the 10 meets she has competed in this season, including a first-place showing with a season-best mark of 12'7.5" at the NC State Last Chance Meet last weekend.
The sophomore finished second at this year's SoCon Outdoor Championships and was the runner-up in three other meets this season.
As a team, Appalachian State is currently ranked 22nd in the Southeast Region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Photo Courtesy: John Weaver, ASU Athletics