Aztec Track & Field Heads to NCAA Championships

June 4, 2012

SAN DIEGO -

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No. 24 San Diego State heads to Des Moines, Iowa, this weekend to compete in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Five Aztecs qualified for the four-day meet, which begins Wednesday (June 6) at historic Drake Stadium on the campus of Drake University.

Senior Whitney Ashley is scheduled to compete in both the discus throw and shot put, while junior Alex Evans (triple jump), junior Kelsy Hintz (pole vault), sophomore Allison Reaser (heptathlon) and sophomore Shanieka Thomas (triple jump) also qualified for the finals in their respective events.

Ashley kicks things off for SDSU Wednesday in the discus, which begins at 5:30 p.m. CT. Ashley earned the trip to Des Moines last week in the NCAA Preliminary Rounds (west region), taking fourth of 48 competitors with a throw of 181 feet, 3 inches. The mark has her sixth of 24 heading into this weekend's competition. Ashley will compete in the first of two flights. Her personal-best mark is 183-01, set on April 21 at the Mt. SAC Relays (No. 4 in school history). Last year, Ashley finished seventh at the national meet with a toss of 179-07.

Hintz also gets things underway at 5:30 p.m. CT Wednesday, but in the pole vault. Hintz qualified for Des Moines after tying for ninth (tied for first in height) two weeks ago in Austin, Texas, with a mark of 13-08.25. The 13-08.25, however, has her tied for first heading into the meet. Hintz set a personal-best mark of 13-10.00 on April 28 at the UCSD Triton Invite. Last year, Hintz failed to clear a height at the championship meet.

Reaser, meanwhile, begins her two-day heptathlon on Thursday at 1 p.m. CT with the 100-meter hurdles. Reaser, who qualified for the meet with 5,653 points by winning the event at the MW Championships, will follow with the high jump (2 p.m. CT), shot put (4:30 p.m. CT) and 200 meters (6 p.m. CT) on Thursday and the long jump (3 p.m. CT), javelin (4:15 p.m. CT) and 800 (6:45 p.m. CT) on Friday. Her 5,653 points rank her 11th of the 24 scheduled competitors and second in school history. Last year, Reaser was 18th in the event with 5,165 points. She went onto win the heptathlon at the U.S. Junior Track & Field Championships (5,359) and take fourth at the Pan American Junior Championships (5,162).

Ashley competes again on Friday in the shot put, which is slated for a 5 p.m. CT start. Ashley qualified for this weekend's NCAA Championships by finishing fifth at the NCAA West Prelims in Austin, Texas, two weeks ago with a toss of 55-05.00. The mark broke a Mountain West record, was second all-time at SDSU and has her ranked sixth heading into this weekend's meet. Ashley also competed in last year's championships, but fouled on all three of her attempts.

Thomas and Evans wrap things up for San Diego State on Saturday in the triple jump. Thomas qualified for the meet after finishing second of 48 at in the prelims two weeks ago in Austin with a leap of 44-08.00. It was the second-best mark in program history, trailing only Karoline Koehler's mark of 44-09.00, set in 2009. The 44-08.00 has her ranked third heading into the meet. This will be Thomas' first appearance in the NCAA Outdoor Championships, but she did take seventh in the triple jump at the 2012 indoor championships and ninth at the 2011 indoor meet.

Evans will be making her first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championships after tying for 11th two weeks ago in the west prelims with a leap of 41-08.50. It was the fifth-best mark in program history. Evans heads into the meet ranked in a tie for 23rd.

The Aztecs are looking to better last year's placing, when they tied for 60th out of the 131 competing teams with two points. SDSU was 25th with 11 points in 2009, the program's first top-25 finish since 1985, when it took ninth.

Once again, this year's championship meet will take place at Drake Stadium. One of the premier track and field facilities in the country, Drake Stadium is hosting this year's NCAA Championships after hosting the 2007 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships, the 2008 NCAA Championships, the 2010 USA Championships and last year's NCAA Championships. Every April, Drake Stadium (capacity: 14,557) hosts the Drake Relays where numerous world, national and collegiate records have been set.

Live results for the four-day meet can be followed at http://www.flashresults.com/.

2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships (Finals)
Des Moines, Iowa (Drake University)
June 6-9, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012
5:30 p.m. CT - Kelsy Hintz, pole vault (seeded in a tie for first with a mark of 13-08.25)
5:30 p.m. CT - Whitney Ashley, discus throw (seeded fourth with a mark of 181-03)

Thursday, June 7, 2012
1 p.m. CT - Allison Reaser, heptathlon - first day (seeded 11th with 5,653 points)

Friday, June 8, 2012
3 p.m. CT - Allison Reaser, heptathlon - second day
5 p.m. CT - Whitney Ashley, shot put (seeded sixth with a mark of 55-05.00)

Saturday, June 9, 2012
10 a.m. CT - Shanieka Thomas, triple jump (seeded third with a mark of 44-08.00)
10 a.m. CT - Alex Evans, triple jump (seeded in a tie for 23rd with a mark of 41-08.50)