TULSA, Okla.- Oral Roberts University will have seven representatives at the NCAA Division I Track & Field West Preliminary Round, it was announced Thursday. The Golden Eagles will compete from May 23-25 at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.
Led by defending NCAA Champion Jack Whitt, the men’s team has five qualifiers, including a pair of pole vaulters. Whitt, who was recently named the Southland Conference Most Outstanding Field Athlete, won the SLC Championship with a meet and stadium record. Tied for the third best qualifying mark in the region, Whitt set his mark of 18-4 (5.61m) at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. Despite having his best mark of the season, it was a fifth place finish for Whitt, the only time in seven outdoor meets in which he did not win.
Also competing in the pole vault is Dustin Gehrke, who finished second in the Southland Conference Championship, trailing only Whitt. Gehrke had already qualified for the postseason, but put up a season-best 17-7 (5.40m) at the conference championship to move up the charts and has the 14th best mark in the region.
The lone track competitor on the men’s side, Jeffery Gibson won the Southland Conference Championship and has a season-best time in the 400m hurdles of 49.83, which he ran at the Texas Tech Open. That mark, which was adjusted to 49.94 due to account for altitude, puts him fourth in the region.
Morrie Turner, who has shown steady improvement and was recently named the Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year, qualified in the long jump. Turner won four of five outdoor events and had a season-best 24-8 (7.57m) at the Wichita State Track-It-Buster Invitational.
The final men’s competitor is Tim Jones, who posted a qualifying mark on his final attempt at the Southland Conference Championship. His triple jump mark of 49-9 (15.21m) put him sixth at the championship meet but got him into the top 48 in the region, sitting with the 38th best mark.
Two women qualified in their respective events, including Madison Reynolds in the 400m dash and Lauren McFarland in the pole vault. Reynolds holds the 27th-best qualifying time in the event at 53.51, which she ran in a second-place finish at the Texas Tech Open. She recently won the Southland Conference Championship in the event.
McFarland’s vault of 13-1 (4.01m) has her 31st in the region, with that mark coming at the 2013 Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, the site of the upcoming West Regional. She has a pair of victories during the outdoor season (Tulsa Duels and UTEP Springtime Invitational) and has finished in the top five in all seven outdoor meets.
Turner will be the first of three competitors for ORU on Thursday, with the men’s long jump starting at 1:30 p.m. Gibson will run at 5 p.m. on Thursday, while Reynolds will take to the track at 7:20 p.m. the same day. A full schedule of events, as well as live results and a free video stream of the meet can be found at www.TexasSports.com.