DOVER, Del. - The Wesley College Men's and Women's Track and Field teams will send 11 different student-athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships to compete in six different events beginning Thursday, May 26.
Under the tutelage of Head Coach Stephen Kimes, the Wolverines have qualified for a program-best four events on the men's side and two more on the women's side. Wesley will have entrants in the men's 100m race, the men's long jump, and both the men's and women's 4x100m relays and 4x400m relays.
"The program is getting better each year," said Kimes, "With more national qualifiers each season. We're going into the National Championships with higher rankings and higher expectations." The head coach was more impressed by the rankings of his athletes qualifying than by the number of student-athletes that made it to the national stage: "As a program, we're more focused on the quality, or the rankings of our athletes than we are on the quantity of qualifiers."
"Track and field is just like any sport," said Kimes, "You get some momentum for your team and that can translate into success. It can become contagious. We're looking for De'Vaughn Trader to be a leader on Thursday and come away with a great result [in the long jump] so that we can get rolling and build that momentum through the weekend."
National Championship Competitors
Anthony Simpson - 100m
Simpson has been a dynamo since his arrival at Wesley, claiming CAC Rookie of the Year honors in both the indoor and outdoor seasons. He qualified for the 60m sprint during indoor and earned All-American status despite pulling a muscle in the finals. Finally healthy, Simpson has the top seed entering the Championships with a time of 10.44 and hopes to live up to his top billing and bring home the hardware.
De'Vaughn Trader - Long Jump
Trader enters the National Championship with the 11th-best jump in the nation, leaping 23-7.5 in the Don Webster Invitational earlier this season. In order to bring home a first place finish, he'll likely need a leap of nearly 25 feet. Trader will set the tone of Wesley's weekend when he begins his event on Thursday as the first Wolverine to compete at the National Championships.
Anthony Simpson, De'Vaughn Trader, Greg Taylor, DaJahn Lowery - 4x100m Relay
The four fastest men on Wesley's campus will hope to be the four fastest men in the nation this coming weekend. Simpson and Trader will team with Greg Taylor and DaJahn Lowery in hopes to take down the 4x100m relay. The Wolverine quartet currently owns the top seed entering the championships with a time of 40.64, and if they replicate that could earn the program's first National Crown.
Carlton Sheppard, Nick Stenderowicz, Vicco Bedell, DaJahn Lowery - 4x400m Relay
Lowery will be pulling double-duty this weekend, running for both the 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams. On the 4x400m, he will be joined by three of the four men who took part in the Indoor National Championships in the same event: Carlton Sheppard, Nick Stenderowicz, and Vicco Bedell. The foursome ran to a 3:13.57 finish at the Salisbury Elite Final Qualifying Meet just a few weeks ago, earning the 13th-best time in the nation. They'll hope to improve that time and reach the finals over the weekend.
Quadira Minus, Elizsha Streeter, Angel Hall, Briana Artis - 4x100m Relay & 4x400m Relay
If this quartet of Wolverines looks familiar that's because they earned All-American honors in the Indoor National Championships' 4x400m relay, taking third place overall. Now the foursome of Minus, Streeter, Hall, and Artis are looking to double down on their success and bring home a pair of victories, one in the 4x400m relay and another in the 4x100m relay. In the 4x100m, the team owns the eighth-best qualifying time with a 47.25. In the 4x400m, they rank sixth with a 3:48.19. They've already come home with one All-American finish, who's to say they can't do it again... twice.
For a complete event schedule of the NCAA National Championships, hosted by Wartburg College, click here.
For a digital copy of the NCAA Division III Track and Field National Championship program, click here.