Hopkins NCAA Championships Preview
CANTON, NY - The Johns Hopkins track and field teams will look to capture the attention of the country this weekend at the NCAA Championships and lay claim to its first national title. The Jays are sending six competitors to the Championships, which will be held in hosted by St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.
The first Blue Jay to make an impression in Canton will be Michael Spadaro. Spadaro will compete in the first five events of the 10 event decathlon today, with the first being the discus at 12:45 pm. Spadaro will finish the remaining events on Saturday afternoon.
Competing against a deep and talented field that features seven guys who score 6500 points or higher in the event in the regular season, Spadaro will need to bring his "A" game to leave Upstate New York with some hardware.
Pole vaulter Andrew Bartnett will look to nab his first national title but he will be up against a talented group of competitors, headlined by the indoor pole vault champion, Luke Winder of North Central College.
Bartnett has been fantastic all season, claiming first five different times this season, including taking home the top spot at the Centennial Conference Championships earlier this month. His season-best mark of 5.20m (17-0.75) tied him for the second best mark in the country, behind Winder. After a third place finish at the indoor NCAA Championships, Bartnett is sure to have his eye on the top prize.
In the early evening, three Blue Jays will all compete for gold in the 10000 meter run, as Sophia Meehan, Bridget Gottlieb and Frances Loeb will compete against a talented field. After posing the country's best and only sub-35 minute time in the event in the regular season (34:42.65), Loeb is seen as the favorite in the event.
Teammate's Gottlieb and Meehan will look to take their shots at the crown after putting together solid regular season performances to qualify. Gottlieb got down to business early in the season, putting together a 35:36.20 performance at the Raleigh Relays to earn her spot in the NCAA's.
On the other hand, Meehan waited for the bright lights and big stage of the conference championship, where, in her first-ever 10k, she posted an NCAA qualifying mark of 36:02.01 and took home first place.
Hopkins will have its last chance at points on Saturday afternoon, as the trio of Loeb, Meehan and Ashley Murphy will take to the track in the women's 5000 meter run. Loeb posted the nation's third best time with a 16:39.61 finish at the Raleigh Relays, a good time but still more than 20 seconds behind top regular season finisher, Cal Lutheran's Melissa Skiba.
At the Penn Relays, Meehan snagged the country's 11th best time with a 17:02.99 performance, while Murphy backed that with a 17:11.82 finish in that race. Though each resides outside the top-10 coming into the weekend, a career-type race from each could put the Jays in contention for three top-eight spots and a bundle of points in one of the last events of the weekend.
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