EUGENE, Ore.- The Stephen F. Austin track and field program concluded another memorable season on Wednesday evening at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships inside the University of Oregon's Historic Hayward Field. The 'Jacks got three strong performances from its three events competing on the day and saw sophomore My'Lik Kerleyearn Second Team All-American honors.
Kerley was the first to hit the track for SFA on Wednesday evening and he brought his best stuff to the competition. The Taylor, Texas native went under 46 seconds in the 400-meter run for the first time in his career, crossing in 45.98 to place 12th out of the nation's fastest 24 men in the event. He was the top performer from a non-Power Five program and the fifth fastest underclassman.
Kerley edged his brother Fred from Texas A&M by .01 seconds to place one spot ahead of him. The two siblings ran next to each other in the third and final heat.
SFA's first male distance runner to qualify for nationals in the 10,000-meter run in track and field, senior Charles Mathenge also closed a solid season in Eugene on Wednesday. A native of Ol Kalou, Kenya, Mathenge crossed the finish line in 21st position with a time of 31:11.02. The outdoor 10k school record holder, who owns six SFA program marks overall, will be back in the fall to run one more cross country season for the Lumberjacks.
Double-dipping for SFA on Wednesday, Kerley found some extra gas in the tank for the final event of night one – the men's 4x400-meter relay semifinal. He pulled away down the home stretch to seemingly win the third heat and qualify the 'Jacks for Friday's finals, but SFA was disqualified after a post-race review.
SFA was ruled to have stepped over the line on the inside of its lane during a curve, negating a speedy 3:05.23. Johnathan Joe, Tedrick Hawkins and Will Gibson joined Kerley for an otherwise impressive race. Prior to the review, the group was announced as qualifying for finals as one of the top eight relays in the nation. The 'Jacks initially beat Purdue, Ohio State and Utah State in their heat to earn an automatic selection to the finals.
All four 'Jacks, along with their two alternates Kerry Gleason and D'Lance Sharp, will be back at SFA next year. Gibson is a junior while the other five individuals competed as underclassmen this season.
Many SFA athletes will continue to compete in various meets over the summer months. Notably, Demi Payne will attempt to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in the pole vault this July. For more updates on the SFA Track and Field program, follow the team on Twitter (@SFA_TFXC).
2016 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship Results
12. My'Lik Kerley (45.98)
21. Charles Mathenge (31:11.02)