Mayer, Okwelogu Earn Spots at the NCAA Championship with Qualifying Performances at East Prelim

Mayer, Okwelogu Earn Spots at the NCAA Championship with Qualifying Performances at East Prelim

Hannah Mayer's school record in the javelin qualified her for the NCAA Championships (Brian Panoff).

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On the opening day of competition at the 2015 NCAA East Preliminary Track and Field Meet, the first two Harvard student-athletes in action, Hannah Mayer and Nikki Okwelogu, punched their tickets to the NCAA Division I Championships in Eugene, Oregon June 10-13.

Mayer, a senior from Allendale, New Jersey, kicked off the competition for Harvard with a record-setting performance in the javelin. Her mark of 164-4 (50.10 meters) broke her own Harvard record set at last year's East Prelim and was good for seventh overall. Mayer's throw also beat her own previous Ivy League record with the throw, but Penn's Kelsey Hay reached 167-10 (51.17 meters) Thursday to also qualify for the NCAA Championships and reclaim the Ivy League record from Mayer.

Next up was Okwelogu competing in the shot put. The sophomore from Fresno, California clinched her spot in Eugene with a fifth-place throw of 55-2.25 (16.82 meters).

First up on the track was a trio of Crimson women in the first round of the 400 meter hurdles. Jade Miller led the charge with her top-10 time of 57.59. Miller's time qualified her for Friday's quarterfinal, as did Autumne Franklin's 58.36, which was good for 14th overall. Jackie Modesett rounded out the Crimson competitors, crossing in a time of 1:00.01.

Sophomore Sarah Gillespie garnered a spot in Saturday's quarterfinal of the 1,500 meter run, clocking in with a 4:22.23 to place her 16th in the first round. Molly Renfer ran a 4:27.80 as Harvard's second competitor.

Senior Jarvis Harris narrowly missed qualifying for the men's 400 meter hurdles quarterfinal, placing 28th with a time of 52.10. Danielle Barbian represented the Crimson in the 100 meter dash, but her time of 11.89 was just off the qualifying standard.

Rounding out the first day of competition for the Crimson were Courtney Smith and Whitney Thornburg in the women's 10,000 meter race, finishing with times of 35:52.28 and 35:59.51, respectively.

Action in Jacksonville continues on Friday with Harris racing in the 110 meter hurdles first round at 5:30 p.m. Miller and Franklin toe the line at 7:30 p.m. for the 400 meter hurdles quarterfinal with Paige Kouba wrapping up Crimson in action in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at 8:30 p.m.