Wichita State Shockers

Five things to watch at the NCAA track and field regional in Lawrence

The NCAA West Preliminary runs Thursday through Saturday at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence. The event will include track and field athletes from the 121 Division I schools west of the Mississippi River who rank top 48 in their respective events. The top 12 athletes and relays advance to the NCAA Championships on June 8-11 in Eugene, Ore.

Here are five things to watch for:

1. A massive haul

Wichita State has 25 entries in the meet, a record for the program. Jared Belardo is the top men’s hopeful. The freshman is competing in the triple jump and the long jump. His triple qualifying mark of 52 feet, 6 1/2 inches is sixth-best in the field. Carlea Holt has the 15th-best mark (WSU-record 164-11) in the javelin.

2. Top leaper

Kansas State’s Kim Williamson won her second straight Big 12 high jump title two weeks ago with a region-best leap of 6 feet, 1 1/2 inches. After finishing second in the nation last year, Williamson will look to earn her spot in the NCAA Championships once again at 5 p.m. Friday.

3. KU star

Kansas’ Mitch Cooper will be continuing his pursuit of a national championship in the discus at 4 p.m. Friday after winning a Big 12 title in his last meet. The Australian’s seed mark of 205 feet, 3 inches is best in the region.

4. Pole position

After a 1-2 finish at the Big 12 meet two weeks ago, KU’s Jake Albright and Nick Meyer will look to advance to the NCAAs after posting top-five marks in the region. Missouri’s Matthew Ludwig is right behind with a sixth-place seed mark for the 4:30 event Thursday.

5. Hammer time

WSU’s Weston Cottrell, a senior, has the eighth-best mark in the men’s hammer throw. He threw 213-10 and holds the Shocker record (215-3), set last season.

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