March 2, 2013
BLACKSBURG, Va. - On the final weekend of competition before next week's NCAA Track & Field Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., junior Lady Vol pole vaulter Linda Hadfield put herself in prime position to qualify for nationals with a school record vault at Virginia Tech's last chance NCAA qualifier on Saturday.
Hadfield, who entered the day ranked 23rd in the nation in the event, needed to reach the top 16 nationally in order to have a shot at qualifying. Earlier in the season, the junior recorded an indoor school record with a mark of 13-5.75 (4.11m) to place second at Rector Field House. She entered the same facility this afternoon and one-upped that performance, surpassing both 13-7 (4.14m) and 13-11 (4.24m) to double PR and improve on her own UT record.
Placing fourth in a loaded field at the event, Hadfield is currently tied for 11th in the country and would be heading to her first indoor NCAA Championships if the mark holds through the weekend. With the vault, the Yorkville, N.Y., native currently possesses the four best women's indoor vaults in Tennessee history.
A pair of Vol vaulters were also in action at Rector Field House on Saturday, as neither junior Chase Brannon nor his classmate Tyler Porter hit the marks they were looking for, but placed third and seventh, respectively. Brannon entered the competition with a season-best mark of 17-8.5 (5.40m), which currently ranks 21st in the country. He finished third with a vault of 17-6.25 (5.34m).
At Notre Dame's Alex Wilson Invitational, the Lady Vols had two 800-meter runners competing in senior Nijgia Snapp and junior Kianna Ruff. Ruff entered the weekend a PR of 2:07.48 set earlier this season and improved on that mark, finishing in seventh in 2 minutes, 6.84 seconds. That time places her 32nd in the country. Snapp was unable to improve her time in South Bend, Ind., and it appears her season-best mark of 2:05.97 - which earned her a third-place finish at last week's SEC Championships - will end up just outside the top 16. With more results to come in, it currently ranks 17th in the country.
Also competing at Notre Dame, freshman Felicia Brown crossed the tape in a lifetime best 53.57 seconds in the women's 400m to end the indoor season on a high note.
Freshman thrower Cassie Wertman, who was competing at Iowa State's last chance qualifier, also ended the indoor campaign on a high note. Wertman, who place sixth at SECs last week, improved her lifetime best in the shot put for an impressive fifth time this season, eclipsing 16 meters for the first time of her career. On her sixth and final throw of the finals, Wertman recorded a push of 52-feet, 7.25-inches (16.03m) to finish in third place. That mark, while it may not be good enough to qualify for nationals, currently ranks fifth all-time in the UT indoor records.
Vol thrower Matthew Hoty was also in action in Ames, Iowa, but missed the national mark he was looking for in the shot put. Hoty finishes the indoor season with a top mark of 60-10.75 (18.56m), which currently stands as the 23rd-best in the collegiate ranks in 2013.
If current rankings hold, pole vaulters Jake Blankenship - the SEC Men's Freshman Field Athlete of the Year - and Hadfield will be heading to next week NCAA Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark. Nationals are slated for Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9. ESPN3 will air the meet live beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET, on March 8. Coverage will resume at 8 p.m. the following day.
For updates as they come in about next week's NCAA Championships, follow @Vol_Track on Twitter.
LADY VOL RESULTS AT THE IOWA STATE LAST CHANCE QUALIFIER
Shot Put: 3. Cassie Wertman, 52-7.25/16.03m!
VOL RESULTS AT THE IOWA STATE LAST CHANCE QUALIFIER
Shot Put: 9. Matthew Hoty, 57-7.75/17.57m
! - Personal Best, ^ - Oversized Track, $ - SEC Record, a - American Record, b - Banked Track, c - Collegiate Record, adv. - Advanced, dna - Did Not Advance, dnf - Did Not Finish, dnr - Did Not Run, dq - Disqualified, F - Foul, f - Facility Record, fr - Freshman Record, fr* - Tied Freshman Record fs - False Start, H - Heptathlon, h - Hand-Timed, mr - Meet Record, nm - No Mark, p - Time Run In Prelims, P - Pentathlon, sr - School Record, u - Undersized Track, wr - World Record