Newell, Saunders reach NCAA Championships

By: 

Sports Reporter

Coach Dana Boone was hopeful that past performances would serve as a spark for the Texas State track and field team heading into the NCAA West Preliminaries. 

Anicka Newell (senior pole vaulter), Allie Saunders (senior jumper), and the men's 4x400 meter relay team made up of James Hilliard (junior sprinter), Anthony Johnson (junior sprinter), De'Marcus Porter (freshman sprinter), and De'Quad Binder (junior sprinter) all qualified for the NCAA Championships.

"There were a couple of places where we just didn't put some things together and just came up short," Boone said. "Overall the ones that did get it together ran tremendously and jumped and vaulted out of this world."

Boone said the most exciting part of the NCAA West Preliminaries for her was seeing the 4x400 relay team go out and show that they can compete within the nation. It was the first time a relay team qualified for the NCAA Championships since Boone became coach at Texas State.     

"You're watching them run and you're like oh man, like we're in the mix," Boone said.  "Just to be that close in a battle for a spot for the championships was fun to watch."  

The men's 4x400 relay team posted a time of 3:06.08, placing them 11th overall at the NCAA West Preliminaries edging out TCU who had a time of 3:06.22. 

Newell finished eighth overall in the women's pole vault with a height of 4.24 meters.

Saunders will compete in the women's long jump and triple jump at the NCAA Championships.  

Saunders recorded a distance of 6.42 meters earning fourth overall in the long jump. In the triple jump Saunders set a new school record with her jump of 13.64 meters giving her first place. 

"To come away with a NCAA West Preliminary champion, to have two female qualifiers and a men's 4x400 qualifier it's definitely a sweet ending to a solid season," Boone said.  "When you really look at the scheme of things it was a very good season for Texas State track and field."  

While most of the attention was placed on the Newell, Saunders and 4x400 men's relay team, there were other Bobcats who were on the outside of qualifying. 

Talore Kelly, junior thrower, had a distance of 15.64 meters in the women's shot put putting her 14th overall just two spots shy of making her eligible for the NCAA Championships.

Seth Arnold, junior pole vaulter, fell short of qualifying after accomplishing a height of 5.20 meters.

"You talk to them and you tell them that it's a learning curve and hopefully you've learned something," Boone said. "You can be down for a little bit but you take this meeting and you use it as motivation that you'll be back and that you'll do better the next time."  

Looking back on the outdoor season, Boone said she is proud of the team did this season.

"I hope that they come away with confidence and understanding that you're talented, we believe in you and we can get this done,” Boone said.  

The NCAA Championships will take place in Eugene, Oregon June 10-13.