Following a successful season and victory in the Ivy League Championship, the Princeton men’s and women’s track teams performed admirably in this past weekend’s NCAA East Regional Meet in Lexington, Ky. In damp competitions delayed due to rain, several Princeton athletes punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships, held June 7-10 in Eugene, Ore.
The men’s team received stellar performances from a number of different athletes, but most notable were juniors William Paulson and Alex Kiles, who earned bids to the NCAA Championships in the 1500m and the pole vault, respectively. Paulson posted the fourth fastest time of all competitors with a remarkable 3:46.95 to secure his bid to nationals. Kiles finished eighth overall in the pole vault, clearing 5.25m. This mark was short of Kiles’ mark of 5.31m during the Ivy League Championship, but it was enough for him to earn the opportunity to exceed his personal best at next week’s national championships. Other Tigers competing were junior Garrett O’Toole, who finished 10th in the 1500m; senior Jared Bell, who finished 39th in the discus; junior Mitchel Charles, who finished 39th overall in the shot put; senior Xavier Bledsoe, who finished 29th in the high jump; senior Ben Gaylord, who cleared 5.00m in the pole vault; and freshman Joey Daniels, who finished 27th in the 60m hurdles.
Likewise, the women’s team saw two athletes qualify for nationals. Senior Julia Ratcliffe continued her illustrious collegiate career by winning the hammer throw with a 65.42m toss. Ratcliffe, who holds the Ivy League record in the hammer throw, earned her fourth consecutive bid to the NCAA championships, in which she was the runner-up in 2015. Senior Allison Harris also earned a national championship bid in the pole vault, clearing 4.10 meters. Harris finished in tenth and will participate in her first ever NCAA nationals next week. Sophomore Anna Jurew and senior Katie Hanss both advanced past the preliminary round in the 800 and 1500m, respectively. In the quarterfinals, Jurew failed to finish due to injury, and Hanss finished 19th overall. Also competing were senior Lizzie Bird, who finished 20th in the steeplechase and freshman Madeleine Sumner, who finished 44th in the 1500m.
After a season of impressive individual accomplishments, four Princeton athletes, Paulson, Kiles, Ratcliffe, and Harris, will travel across the country to compete at the highest level collegiate sport has to offer. For all, the chance to earn individual glory and to represent Princeton will serve as significant motivation.