BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU Track & Field will send four performances – two individual
and two relays – to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships to represent The
Hill from June 5-8 in Austin, Texas. The 2019 championships mark the 13th-straight
season that WKU has been represented on the biggest stage while the team has
qualified both the men’s 4×100 and 4×400 relays each of the last five campaigns.
Individually, Annastacia Forrester earned a trip to the Lone Star State in the
women’s long jump while Kymari Gates will represent the Red and White in the men’s
400 meter along with both relays. All three days of championships will be available
to live stream on ESPN, ESPNU or ESPN3.
Competition for the Hilltoppers from the Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the
University of Texas will open on Wednesday with a 4:32 p.m. CT gun for the men’s
4×100 meter relay prelims. WKU’s unit will run in the third and final heat of the
event, seeking a top-two finish in its heat or one of the next two best times to
advance to Friday’s finals.
The Hilltoppers’ 4×100 relay unit punched the team’s first of two tickets to the
championships on Saturday of the East Prelims after running a season-best 39.22.
While the mark ranked fourth in the third heat, the Red and White clinched the first
non-automatic spot to the NCAA Championships with the overall eighth-best mark at
the East Prelims. Hilltoppers running in the 4×100 relay were Will Bush, Martin
Owusu-Antwi, Abdur Kelly and Gates.
At 6 p.m., Gates will compete in the first of three heats in the men’s 400-meter
race. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native will be in the hunt for a top-two finish in his
heat or one of the next two best marks to advance to Friday’s final. Gates ran a
personal-best 45.83 to take third in his heat at the NCAA East Prelims and earn an
automatic trip to Texas.
Concluding WKU’s Wednesday slate, the men’s 4×400-meter relay will begin at 7:48
p.m. with the Hilltoppers lining up in the second of three heats. Just as the 4×100
relay works, the WKU unit will be in search of a top-two finish in their heat or one
of the next two best marks to advance to Friday’s final.
WKU’s second NCAA Championships-qualifying performance of the final day of the East
Prelims came in the men’s 4×400-meter relay. The unit ran a mark of 3:04.09 to win
its heat – clinching an automatic trip to nationals – and finish second overall at
the East Prelims. Representing WKU in the 4×400 relay were Kelly, Owusu-Antwi,
Duncan Agyemang and Gates.
The last time the WKU 4×400-meter relay qualified for the national championships
during both the indoor and outdoor seasons was 2008.
WKU is one of just 10 programs in the country sending both its men’s 4×100 and 4×400
relays to the NCAA Outdoor Championships and one of just four non-Power 5 programs
to do so. Also sending both relays are Arizona, Arkansas, Coppin State, Florida
Kentucky, North Carolina A&T, Purdue, UCLA and UT Arlington.
On the women’s side, Forrester will begin action in the long jump at 8:30 p.m. on
Thursday. The Lady Topper junior will compete from the second flight of the event’s
finals after posting a personal-best 6.19 meters (20′ 3.75″) at the NCAA East
Prelims to earn a trip to Austin.
Representatives from 142 different schools will participate in women’s events, while
126 programs are represented in men’s events. Individual and relay event participants qualified for the
national championships through preliminary events hosted May 23-25 in Florida and
California. The top 48 individuals and top 24 relay teams first qualified for