NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)- Three events for the Stephen F. Austin track and field team are set to compete on collegiate track and field's biggest stage this week at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships, hosted for the fourth straight year by the University of Oregon at Historic Hayward Field.
My'Lik Kerley (400m), Charles Mathenge (10,000m) and the Lumberjack 4x400m relay, consisting of Kerley, Johnathan Joe, Will Gibson, Tedrick Hawkins, D'Lance Sharp and Kerry Gleason, will all be in action beginning on Wednesday evening in Eugene, Oregon.
The men's 10,000-meter run marks the first running final of the championships with the gun scheduled to sound at 9:08 p.m. CT on Wednesday. Mathenge posted a time of 30:02.03 at the NCAA West Prelims in Kansas to qualify in the 12th position and become SFA's first distance runner to ever make it to nationals in track and field. His qualifying time would have been good enough for first place in the East Regional as the Kenyan enters No. 12 out of 24 competitors overall.
Mathenge owns six school records between cross country and indoor/outdoor track and field. He most recently claimed the top outdoor 10k time in program history at Stanford earlier this season. His top time in the event is 29:23.59.
Kerley will be the first Lumberjack to stretch his legs on Wednesday, setting up in the blocks at 8:00 p.m. CT for the semifinal of the men's 400-meter run. The sophomore from Taylor, Texas (Taylor HS) used a personal best of 46.33 seconds in the regional round to qualifying in the No. 18 spot out of 24 overall. He is just one of three athletes in the event competing from a non-Power Five school.
Kerley will have only limited time to rest after his individual semifinal before anchoring the SFA 4x400 relay in its semifinal beginning at 9:48 p.m. CT late on Wednesday night. The 'Jacks were the talk of the NCAA West Prelims in Kansas after winning the regional title with a school record time of 3:03.56. The mark is the third fastest qualifying time overall among the 24-team field behind only LSU and Florida.
Sharp, Hawkins, Gibson and Kerley got the job done at regionals but Joe and Gleason could also run for the purple and white this week.
In both the 400m and 4x400m semifinals, the top two in each heat will automatically advance to finals along with the next two fastest times combined between the three heats. Event finals will take place on Friday.