Following successful outdoor seasons, the Northwestern State men’s and women’s track and field teams are sending athletes in 14 events to the NCAA East Preliminaries. the NCAA announced Thursday.
The top 48 participants in the region in each individual event qualified, as well as the top 24 relay teams, with only one per team admitted.
The East Prelims, which take place in Jacksonville, Florida, are May 24-27 with men’s events happening Wednesday and Friday and women’s events occurring Thursday and Saturday.
Eleven men’s athletes are participating, including both relay teams, while six women’s athletes with the 4×400 relay team.
Two men’s athletes, Simon Wulff and Djimon Gumbs, are competing in two individual events.
Gumbs, who made the NCAAs in 2022, qualified in both the discus and shot put. His discus performance at the Cowboy Relays in which he recorded a throw of 205-11 was the top toss of the East region.
He also finished 11th in the shot put with a 63-1.5.
Gumbs is joined in the discus by twin brother Diamante Gumbs and Tarajh Hudson, who finished 24th and 28th in the region.
Diamante Gumbs comes in off the strength of his 184-4 at the SLC championships, where he claimed the gold.
Wulff, a sophomore from Radebeul, Germany, is competing in the 100-meters and 200-meters, ranking tied for 32nd and 44th in the region, respectively.
He could participate in the two relays as well.
Both men’s relay teams are participating, ranking 12th in the 4×100 and 24th in the 4×400, with the latter reaching it on the strength of its 3:08.57 at the Southland Conference championships.
Rounding out the men’s sprinters, Dylan Swain (200) and Destine-Unique Scott (400) are taking part in the events. Swain tied for 43rd.
Scott, the bronze medalist in the 400-meters at the SLC championships, was 59th in the prelims, but qualified due to athletes pulling out of the event, placing 47th in the qualifiers.
In the men’s jumps events, Adam Lindo and Andrew Gilreath each made it to Jacksonville on the strength of their showings at the Last Chance meet at West Texas A&M.
Lindo (25-0) and Gilreath (24-11.25) rank 25th and 30th in the region.
Randy Kelly, who enters off a silver medal in the high jump at the SLC championships, claims a spot after clearing 6-11.5 at both the SLC championships and Leon Johnson NSU Invitational.
On the women’s side, Sanaria Butler is the highest ranked Lady Demon, placing 15th in the 400-meter dash, clocking a school-record 52.19 at the Michael Johnson Invitational. The SLC Female Athlete of the Year broke her own school record of 52.22, which stood a week from her performance at the Leon Johnson Invitational.
In addition to Butler, teammate Maygan Shaw is also taking part in the 400-meters, ranking 25th in the qualifying list with a 52.73, which she also clocked at the Michael Johnson Invitational.
The duo is also prominent in the women’s 4×400, which also qualified for the NCAA East Prelims, placing 21st with a 3:35.77, which earned NSU the gold at the SLC championships.
Vanessa Balde, the Women’s SLC Freshman of the Year, is also a member on the relay team, as is Sian Weller.
The pairing also qualified for individual events.
Balde qualified in the 100-meter hurdles, ranking 44th with a 13.46 to claim the gold in the SLC championships, while Weller squeaked in at 47th in the 400-meter hurdles, clocking a 58.97 in the SLC championship prelims.
Lynell Washington also qualifies in the 100-meters, ranking 36th with an 11.40, which she clocked at the Battle on the Bayou.
The women’s 4×100 relay team narrowly missed the cut, finishing in the fifth spot out, one of five to finish five or fewer spots out, joining Butler (long jump), Zachaeus Beard (100), Taj Morris (110-meter hurdles) and Gilreath (triple jump).