IU outdoor track and field competed in the 2021 NCAA East Preliminary Round in Jacksonville, Florida, from May 26 to May 29, sending 35 student-athletes to the regional finals.
The Preliminary Round saw eight Hoosiers qualify for the 2021 NCAA National Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
For the men, sophomore Nathan Stone got the team off to a fast start on day one, clearing a height of 5.35 meters in the pole vault to take seventh place overall and advance to nationals. The sophomore, competing in his first ever outdoor regional meet, took ninth place in the March indoor national finals.
On the third day of competition, the Hoosiers saw two additional men secure their spots in Eugene. Leading the way once again was senior Ben Veatch, who advanced to Nationals for the second time in his career with a time of 13:48.87 in the 5,000 meter.
Veatch was joined in the group of qualifiers by freshman Parker Raymond, who ran a personal best time of 1:48.07 in the 800 meter. Despite finishing outside the top 20 in the 800 meter at the conference championships, Raymond showed up on the big stage to advance to the final round.
The IU women, who finished second in the Big Ten Championships, saw five qualify for Nationals in Jacksonville, including two in multiple events.
Senior Leah Moran led the way once again for the Hoosiers as she qualified for nationals in both the long and triple jumps. Moran, who took first in 12 of her 14 events this season, leapt 6.48 meters in the long jump and recorded a mark of 13.19 meters in the triple jump, good for sixth and ninth overall, respectively.
Khayla Dawson, also a senior, was the other IU athlete to qualify for nationals in multiple events. Dawson finished second overall in shot put and 11th overall in the discus, becoming the first thrower to qualify for Nationals in both the shot put and discus since 1992. Dawson earned her spot in the discus with a heave of 54.08 meters and in the shot put with a throw of 17.71 meters.
Dawson was joined by junior Maddy Pollard in the shot put, after Pollard finished just behind her teammate to claim third place and secure her spot in Eugene. Pollard’s toss of 17.53 meters was a season-best for the thrower.
The Hoosier women had one more field athlete qualify, with junior Anna Watson taking fifth overall in the pole vault with a jump of 4.27 meters. Watson, who has been IU’s best pole vaulter all season, will make her first career trip to Nationals in June.
Senior Kelsey Harris was the lone qualifier for the women’s team on the track, running a personal-best time of 4:11.75 in the 1500 meter to take third overall. Looking ahead to Nationals, Harris’ time ranks fifth of the 24 participants in the 1500.
The eight athletes who earned qualifying spots will next represent the Hoosiers at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships in Eugene, Oregon, slated for June 9-12.