Lamar’s Ockenden qualifies for NCAAs

Published 11:49 pm Saturday, May 28, 2016

Lamar sports information
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the first time since 2012, an athlete will represent the Lamar track and field team at the NCAA Outdoor Championships after the Verity Ockenden qualified in the women’s 5000-meter race at the NCAA West Preliminaries hosted by the University of Kansas at Rock Chalk Park Saturday.
Tom and Joe Wade advanced to the NCAA’s in 2012, both in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Ockenden is also the first member of the women’s track and field team to move on since Amanda King did so, also in the steeplechase in 2007.
Last season, Ockenden missed the cut for the NCAA National Championships by three spots in the 1500-meter race, but she used her experience from 2015 and grabbed the 11th place finish in the 5K on a 16:25.16 mark, her best mark since the 16:14.81 career-best mark that put her in the prelims.
“Verity ran a very smart race. She sat at the back of the lead pack and as some started to fall out of that pack she just moved up spots,” said head coach Trey Clark. “Eventually it was just six racers running for five spots with about a mile left, and about the 200-meter mark she grabbed fifth place.”
The senior finished fifth in her respective heat, which sealed her advancement. The top five from two heats move on, plus the next two best times, which came from heat one.
“We are so proud of Verity,” said Clark. “She’s had a tremendous career for us and we are excited that she gets to finish it with a shot at a national championship.” The NCAA meet begins June 8.

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