Marissa Tschida won the women’s javelin as the qualifying odyssey for the NCAA Track and Field Championships began with the West preliminary meet Thursday in Eugene, Ore.
The Washington State senior got off a second-attempt throw of 174 feet, 10 inches for an 18-inch edge on runner-up Brittany Borman of Oklahoma. Tschida’s teammate Courtney Kirkwood also advanced, placing 10th at 162-5.
The top 12 finishers in the West preliminary qualify for the nationals June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa. Nine “semifinals” were completed Thursday, along with early heats in 10 other events that have their deciding races today and Saturday.
Only two other area athletes booked trips for Des Moines on Thursday. Idaho shot putter Eugenio Mannucci finished ninth in his specialty with a throw of 58-10 3/4. Lewis and Clark High School grad Joe Zimmerman of Washington used a 235-1 throw to move from 12th to sixth after the first three rounds of the men’s javelin, won by teammate Kyle Nielsen at 253-5.
In the heats on the track, WSU’s Jeshua Anderson led a group of three Cougars that qualified for Saturday’s quarterfinals. Anderson, the national leader with a best of 48.13 seconds, won his heat in an easy 50.60, just ahead of teammate Dana Wells in second (51.59). Teammate J Hopkins was third in his heat in 51.48 to move along.
Idaho’s Lauren Schaffer had the day’s fifth-best time in the women’s 800, running third in her heat in 2:06.95, while WSU’s Anna Layman also advanced with a 2:07.31 clocking.
Other heat survivors included WSU’s Matt Cronrath in the men’s 1,500 (3:46.73), Joe Abbott in the 800 (1:50.39) and Shaquana Logan in the women’s 400 hurdles (1:00.19).
• Whitworth’s Tonya Turner set another school record in the women’s 1,500 and, along with teammate Elizabeth Mattila, advanced to the finals at the NCAA Division III championships in Delaware, Ohio.
Turner, a senior from Mead, slashed nearly 4 seconds off the Whitworth mark she set earlier this year, clocking 4:29.13 for the third-best time out of the semifinals. She’ll compete in today’s 3,000 steeplechase finals, and run the 1,500 final on Saturday.
Mattila clocked 1:01.62 in running second in her 400-meter hurdles heat to advance to Saturday’s finals.
• Post Falls alum Ryan Booth of Eastern Oregon won his heat of the men’s 800 in 1:53.02 to advance to the finals at the NAIA championships in Marion, Ind.
The Spokane Shock added defensive lineman Ayanga Okpokowuruk to their roster and released DL Lance Witherspoon.
Okpokowuruk (6-foot-3, 260 pounds) played four seasons at Duke and was a member of the New York Giants’ practice squad last year.