Seven Jeffs Head to NCAA Indoor Championships

Contact: Mike O'Brien

amherst.jpgAMHERST, Mass. – Seven members of the Amherst men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams will head to Lincoln, Nebraska Friday, Mar. 14 for the two-day NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships hosted by Nebraska Wesleyan University.

The men’s team will be sending four Jeffs to Devaney Center. Headlining the group is 2013 All-American Matt Melton ’14. The senior makes his second consecutive appearance in the national championship and will compete in the 400 meter dash as well as the 400 meter leg in the distance medley relay.

Melton, who finished sixth in the 800 meter last season to garner All-America laurels, enters the 400 event as the top seed with a 47.91 mark set at the NEICAAA Championships. He will also join Romey Sklar ’14, Brent Harrison ’16 and Greg Turissini ’15 as a member of the distance medley relay team that enter as the 10th seed.

Finishing with a mark of 9:52.99 at the Tufts Last Chance meet, the DMR team earned a spot at the NCAA Championships. Leading off will by Sklar in the 1,200 meter leg followed by Melton in the 400, Harrison in the 800, and Turissini anchoring the squad in the 1,600.

The women will send three Jeffs in individual events. Highlighting the group is Naomi Bates ’14 who returns to the national meet for the third straight year following a stellar senior season. Bates earned All-America honors a year ago as a member of the DMR team that finished eighth overall. She also finished 12th in the long jump. As a sophomore, she earned a trip to the tournament as a member of the DMR.

Bates saved her best season for last, earning NCAA qualifying marks in three events. The senior is set to compete in the 60 meter dash, 200 meter dash, and the long jump. With a leap of 5.89 meters in the long jump at the New England Championships, Bates earned the second seed in Friday’s prelims. At the same meet, the senior clocked in at 7.80 seconds in the 60 meter to help Amherst finish fourth in the 28-team field. She enters the event as the 17th seed. The 2013 All-American will also compete in the 200 meter as the 12th seed with an Amherst program record time of 25.10, which she set at the NEICAAA Championships.

A pair of first-years will also represent Amherst at the national meet. Excelling in her first season wearing Purple & White is Karen Blake ’17. Surpassing Bates’ time of 7.80 in the 60 meter, Blake crossed the finish line in 7.75 seconds at the ECAC Championships to set a new program record. She earned the 10th seed in the event and also claimed the 14th seed in the 200 meter. At the Valentine Invitational, Blake ran to 25.16 seconds and temporarily held the fastest time in Division III as well as an Amherst record until Bates later broke it.

Kiana Herold ’17 has also shined throughout her first-year campaign and is set to compete in the high jump. Herold helped Amherst win its first-ever ECAC Championship with a mark of 1.69 meters to earn the 13th seed.

Links to live results and video for this weekend's NCAA Championships will be posted below as soon as they become available.

2014 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships
Friday-Saturday, Mar. 14-15 * Lincoln, Nebraska
Devaney Center

Friday, Mar. 14
2:00 p.m. --- Women’s Long Jump (Prelims and Finals)
2:50 p.m. --- Men’s 400 Meter (Prelims)
3:45 p.m. --- Women’s 60 Meter (Prelims)
5:05 p.m. --- Women’s 200 Meter (Prelims)
6:10 p.m. --- Men's Distance Medley Relay (Finals)

Saturday, Mar. 16
2:30 p.m. --- Women’s High Jump (Finals)
2:35 p.m. --- Men’s 400 Meter (Finals)
3:25 p.m. --- Women’s 60 Meter (Finals)
4:15 p.m. --- Women’s 200 Meter (Finals)