By Steve Holt, Copy Editor
Two throwers were among the eight nationals qualifiers at Friday’s Red Raider Invitational in Lubbock. Sophomore Manuel Brandenborn and senior Shai Shalev qualified automatically for the Division II Indoor National Track and Field Championship in the shot put, placing first and second in the event, respectively.
Brandenborn, in his first action of the 2003 season, threw the shot 59-5 and vaulted himself to the top of the Division II performance list. Shalev, a second-year thrower from Israel, threw the shot 58-9 1/2. Head coach Jon Murray said friendly competition between the top two shot putters in the nation helps both throwers.
“They help each other in practice and training, pushing each other to do better,” Murray said.
Six other athletes qualified provisionally for the national meet. Freshman Martin O’Kello posted a strong provisional qualifying time in the men’s mile, winning the event in 4:15.25. Fresh-man Delt Cockrell placed fourth in the men’s 400-meter dash, qualifying provisionally in the event with his time of 48.14.
On the women’s side, four women provisionally qualified for the first time and two improved their provisional marks. Senior Althea Johnson qualified provisionally in the 400-meter dash, placing second with a time of 57.04. Senior Shauna-Gaye Stephens was third in the 55-meter hurdles and posted a strong provisional time of 8.32 in the event. Freshman Angela Campbell qualified in the long jump, soaring 18-4 1/2 for sixth in the event. Sophomore pole vaulter cleared 11-4 1/4, a provisional mark. Sophomore Alice Bergstrom bettered her provisional mark in the high jump, winning the event with a mark of 5-6 1/2. Senior Lakeshia Finch placed first in the triple jump, bettering her provisional mark with a jump of 39-8.
Freshman Yevgen Pashchenko, who has already qualified provisionally, won the men’s triple jump with a mark of 48-6.
Friday and Saturday, both Wildcat track and field teams will be in Fayetteville, Ark., at the Tyson Indoor Invitational. Murray said he will take about 25 to the meet.
“We are taking the top people with the best chances of going to nationals,” Murray said. “It is a great competition, and one of the better meets we’ll go to all year-even better than nationals in some races.”