Illinois junior Ashley Kelly punched her first ticket to the June 8-11 , NCAA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, joining Texas Longhorns’ Senior Chantel Malone, after a personal best effort to finish fourth in her 400 metre heat and snatched one of the 12 spots from the NCAA West Regional Championships in Eugene, Oregon on Friday.
Ms. Kelly chopped .12 from her previous best of 53.07 set last year, with the sixth best time of the meet, when the clock stopped at 52.95 seconds—the third best time in Illinois’ storied history.
In the 200 metre, Ms. Kelly advanced to her first quarterfinal after running 24.16 seconds, then placed eight in her heat in 24.41. Kelly, who had a busy competition, helped the Fighting Illini to a third place finish in the 4x100m relay behind Chantel Malone who led off the Texas Longhorns squad and passed off to St. Croix’s Allison Peter, en route to wining in 44.00, while Illinois ran 44.52 as both teams advanced to the NCAA championships. Ms. Kelly ended her three days of running with a second leg carry on the 4×400 metre relay that ran 3:40.78 to place a non advancing fifth in its heat.
Meanwhile, lurking in fourth place with a windy (+2.4 mps) leap of 12.92m (42’4¾”) that came in the second round, Malone uncorked a fifth round triple jump effort that vaulted her to the top of the pile and came within ½” of her legal best.
The 2010 Sol BVI Jr. Female Athlete of the Year, made her fifth round bound her best when she went ½” better than the leader with her 13.23 metre (43’5”) winning mark, adding the triple jump as her second NCAA Championships individual event to the long jump in which she was fourth with a 6.35 metre (20’10”) leap. Msmes. Malone and Kelly competing in the NCAA Championships marks the first time in the territory’s history that two athletes are simultaneously in Division I Championships competition.
Portland State’s Karene King, the Big Sky Conference double sprint champ, had a disappointing meet starting with the 100m that saw her only running 11.97 seconds. She had a non-advancing 24.57 seconds in the 200 metre before anchoring her team’s 4 x 100 metre relay that had a non-advancing seventh place showing in 46.13 seconds.
At the high school level, Shenique Frett, a Weequhic High School junior, became the second BVI athlete behind Ms. Malone to make qualifying standards in an IAAF World Youth Championships in three events, when she won the New Jersey State High School Championships Section 1 400 metre on Friday in Basking Ridge.
Ms. Frett’s 57.53 seconds run, eclipsed the 57.68 she ran during the County Individual Championships last week in Mont Clair, where she also recorded personal bests of 12.46 for second in the 100m and a 24.98 winner in the 200m. Each mark was under the IAAF World Youth Championships qualifying time.
Her performances qualified her for All Group Championships on Friday and Saturday in Plainfield. She has also qualified to the June 16-18 U.S. National High School Championships in North Carolina.