Terp Trio Heads to NCAA Track Finals
June 5, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa - This is the weekend every NCAA Division I track and field coach and student-athlete have been pointing toward all year.
According to Maryland head coach Andrew Valmon, the final rounds of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships are the product of successful careers for seniors Kiani Profit and Zack Ray, and junior Jon Hill.
"This group of athletes has led by example throughout their career," said Valmon, who next month will be the head coach of Team USA at the London Olympics. "They have done remarkable things and have overcome many obstacles to reach this level."
The Terrapin threesome advanced to this weekend either by performances two weeks ago at the East Preliminary Rounds or, in the case of Profit, by her mark in the heptathlon set earlier in the season.
They have each had outstanding outdoor seasons, each making improvements on their way to the national stage.
"I know I can count on Kiani, Zack and Jon to come through in competition when it counts," said Valmon. "They have done this for the team many times."
The finals begin on Wednesday and run through Saturday at Drake University. The entire event will be streamed live. Wednesday's events will be available via NCAA.com, and Thursday through Saturday on ESPN3.com. Saturday's events also will be televised on ESPNU in a window beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
The top eight finishers in each event earn All-America status.
MARYLAND QUALIFIERS FOR NCAA DIVISION I FINALS
Ran career-best 50.83 in national quarterfinals to earn the third and final advancement spot on time after finishing fourth in his heat... Set a then-PR with 50.84 in victory at IC4A Championships at Princeton... Also won 110 hurdles at IC4A... All-ACC this season in long hurdles with 3rd-place finish (51.76)... Kehoe Twilight champion... All but two marks have been under 53 seconds this year... Ranks 4th all-time at Maryland and one of only four under 51 seconds... Had Terps' best mark since 1978... Seeded 13th in East Region ... 19th among qualifiers for national semis... Drew lane 1 in last of three 8-athlete semifinal heats... Top 2 from each heat plus next best 2 times advance to 8-person final on Friday at 6:35 p.m. ET.
Valmon on Ray: "Zack has really surprised a lot of people this year in the 400-meter hurdles. Making it to the NCAAs was the hard part, but now he can have fun. He is ready to perform at a high level and he should enjoy every second of it."
Seeded 7th nationally with her school-record mark of 5,695 points set with her victory at the ACC Outdoor this season... Her best event in the heptathlon may be the 800 meters, where she has gone 2:10.92 this season... Three-time All-American: 2nd in 2010 NCAA heptathlon (5,682), T2nd in 2011 NCAA pentathlon indoors (4,396), 2nd in 2010 NCAA pentathlon indoors (4,242)... First four events start Thursday with the 100 hurdles and include high jump, shot put and 200 meters... Friday's events begin with long jump and javelin, with heptathlon 800 scheduled for 7:45 p.m. ET.
Valmon on Profit: "The heptathlon is a challenging event, and Kiani is one of the toughest competitors we have ever had at Maryland. If she remains steady and focused, I know all her hard work will pay off."
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