CORVALLIS, Ore. – Junior Kinsey Gomez, freshman Melissa Ausman and sophomore Michele Turney will represent the Oregon State track and field program at the NCAA West Preliminary Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas this weekend. Turney and Ausman will both be appearing in NCAA postseason action for the first time, Turney in the triple jump and Ausman in the discus, while Gomez will be making her second consecutive appearance at the meet.
The University of Arkansas is hosting the three-day competition at its John McDonnell Filed. Athletes who rank among the top 48 in their respective event earned berths into the NCAA West Preliminary Round. Those with the top 12 times or marks at both the East and West prelims will qualify for the NCAA Championships, held from June 11-14 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Live results from the meet can be found at this link and live streams of all the action will be available each day, beginning at 4:30 p.m. CT on Thursday, 5 p.m. CT on Friday and 6 p.m. CT on Saturday. An online headquarters for all regional track and field action can be accessed at arkansasrazorbacks.com.
The three competing for Oregon State at the NCAA West Preliminary Championships are responsible for half of the six school records the Beavers set in 2014.
Gomez, competing in the 10K, will be making her second trip to the West Preliminary Championships. Her school-record time of 34:37.80 at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. on April 17 is seeded 38th in the west. That time was 50 seconds better than Sandra Martinez’s previous OSU best of 35:27.82 from 2010, which also came at the Mt. SAC Relays.
As a sophomore last season, Gomez moved into second on Oregon State's all-time list in the 5K at Mt. SAC, cutting 14 seconds off her previous best to finish 10th in the event's ‘A’ section with a time of 16:24.17. That effort qualified her for the 2013 West Preliminary Championships in Austin, Texas, in which she finished 19th in her heat and 42nd overall in the 5K (17:17.54).
She is in the top four at OSU all-time in the 1,500m (4:26.89; 4th), 3,000m (9:49.17; 3rd), 5,000m (16:24.17; 2nd) and 10,000m (34:37.80; 1st).
The semifinals of the women’s 10K begin at 9:40 p.m. CT/7:40 p.m. PT on Thursday.
Ausman will be making her first postseason trip in her inaugural season at OSU. She earned her berth thanks to a school-record discus mark of 168’ from the OSU High Performance Meet on May 2, which was nearly 13 feet better than Beth Nygren’s 155’ 2” set in Corvallis on May 7, 1988 – the previous Oregon State record. It is seeded 42nd in the west, eighth in the nation among freshmen, fifth among U20 collegians and meets the qualifying standard for IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene this summer.
The freshman will be Oregon State’s first female thrower at an NCAA meet since 1987, when Connie Peterka was a finalist in the javelin and came in 10th with a mark of 154’ 2.75”. On the men’s side, John Thomas finished ninth in the hammer at the NCAA Championships in 1988 (205’ 10”).
Ausman’s shot put PR of 43’ 5.75” from the John Knight Twilight earlier this season is also seventh on Oregon State’s all-time list. Ausman and Kam Johnson are the only OSU women to be in the top seven of each of those events.
The women’s discus competition begins at 3 p.m. CT/1 p.m. PT on Friday.
The sophomore from Corvallis worked her way into the meet on Sunday following a few medical scratches. Her jump of 40’ 4.75” at the Pac-12 Track and Field Championships in Pullman, Wash. on May 18 placed seventh. The Beavers’ school record holder, who has set and re-set OSU’s best triple jump mark four times in less than two seasons, ranks 52nd in the west region.
That conference championship leap was wind-aided, but her fifth attempt of 40’ 0.75” was not and is the new Oregon State record. Turney, who had been unable to surpass the 40-foot barrier in each of her first 13 collegiate competitions, has now done it twice in as many tries. She won the triple jump at the OSU High Performance Meet in Corvallis on May 2 with a mark of 40’.
Turney’s non-wind-aided long jump of 18’ 1.75” at the same meet also placed her in a tie for sixth in Oregon State history. She joins Colleen Gibson as the only OSU women to be among the school’s 10 best in both horizontal jumps.
The women’s triple jump competition starts at 5 p.m. CT/3 p.m. PT on Friday.