Weiler Finishes Third at East Preliminary, Advances to NCAA Championships

Though Ivy League competition has come and gone, the 2011-12 track and field season is not over for some of Harvard’s athletes.

Over the weekend, 11 members of the Crimson men’s and women’s squads traveled to Jacksonville, Fla. to compete in the NCAA East Preliminary meet. The regional competition featured qualifying athletes from some of the nation’s top track and field programs, who hoped to earn bids to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

And while a number of Harvard’s athletes who attended the meet turned in strong performances, only one was good enough to earn a trip to the championship, which will be held at Drake University from Jun. 6-9.

Junior Nico Weiler finished in third place out of 47 competitors in the pole vault with a clearance of 5.32 meters, just 0.06 meters short of his personal-best, which is also the top mark in school history. The junior will join Virginia Tech’s Hunter Hall, who won the event, and 10 other pole vaulters from the East region at the NCAA championships.

Weiler, who established himself as the best pole vaulter in Crimson history this season, was a consistent force for Harvard all year long. And while most predicted that he would qualify for the national championship meet, the fate of Harvard’s other key contributors—its throwers—was less certain.

Freshman Ben Glauser, who scored 16 points for the Crimson at the Outdoor Heptagonal Championships by finishing in second place in two events, capped off his rookie campaign by finishing 21st and 22nd in the hammer throw and the shot put, respectively.

Sophomore Dustin Brode finished ahead of Glauser in the shot put. Brode hurled a mark of 17.82 meters, earning 18th place overall—six places and less than half a meter away from 12th place, the NCAA championship qualifying standard. And though he will not advance to compete for the national championship, Brode’s throw was the best of his career and the third best mark in school history.

On the women’s side, sophomore Adabelle Ekechukwu, who is also a Crimson arts and photography editor, finished in 35th place in the hammer throw with a mark of 53.50 meters, two meters shy of her personal best.

Freshman Erika Veidis turned in a strong finish in the 800-meter run. After steadily cutting time over the course of the year, Veidis capped off her freshman year with a personal-best time of 2:07.63. While the mark was good for fourth best in school history, it was not enough to qualify her for the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

-Check thecrimson.com for updates

-Staff writer Dominic A. Martinez can be reached at dmartinez@college.harvard.edu

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