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Seeking more NCAA qualifications, track and field will compete at three events this weekend.

Outdoor track and field will send its top long-distance runners to the Stanford Invitational this weekend while other athletes will compete at the Florida Relays and Raleigh Relays.

Head coach Dan Ireland emphasized that the program’s focus this weekend is getting its athletes to qualify for NCAA Regionals. To qualify, an athlete must register a top-48 time or score in their event by mid-May. Ireland is confident that many of athletes on the team will earn a qualifying score this weekend, especially the sprinters and long distance runners.

The Light Blue will seek to build on its success last weekend at the Penn Challenge, its first outdoor meet of the season, where the women’s team took second place and the men’s side placed third. The women dominated in the 3k run, taking four out of the top six spots. Sophomore Katie Wasserman led the field with her time of 9:53. Senior Ryan Thomas, who is recovering from an injury, placed second in the men’s 3k with a time of 8:22. First-year Logan McDaniel, who is also recovering from an injury, took first place in the long jump after jumping 7.19 meters.

Although Ireland said he would prefer not to divide the team between three different meets this weekend, the split is necessary to sufficiently prepare for the Ivy League Championships.

“This time of year, we’re trying to get them to places where we know they’re gonna have people in their race that are going to challenge them,” Ireland said. “When we all come together in the meet that does count [Ivy League Championships], we’ve all gotten the challenges we need during the season to make sure we’re at our best for that meet.”

At the Stanford Invitational, Thomas will look to lead the way for the Lions in the 5k run. Last year, Thomas placed first in the 5k with his time of 14:00.56, less than half a second ahead of the second-place finisher. On the women’s side, senior Nell Crosby will compete in the 5k despite typically competing in the steeplechase.

“The team’s in a good place now as far as where everyone’s training and where our health is,” Ireland said. “We’re just excited that it carries over each week.”

At the same time, Lions’ sprinters and jumpers will head to the Florida Relays. The less experienced long-distance runners will compete at Raleigh.

The Stanford Invitational and the Florida Relays will take place this weekend on Friday and Saturday in Palo Alto and Gainesville, respectively. The Raleigh Relays are set to start at 7 p.m. Friday night.

alexander.brett@columbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

Stanford Invitational Florida Relays Raleigh Relays
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