Title track: Eight Idaho athletes in the NCAA championships

ccripe@idahostatesman.comJune 5, 2013 

Here’s a look at the four Broncos, three Vandals and one Bengal who will participate in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which are Wednesday through Saturday in Eugene. Each event has 24 competitors. The top eight are first-team All-Americans and score for their teams; the next eight are second-team All-Americans. Seeds are based on performances at the West preliminary meet.

BOISE STATE

Emma Bates, junior

Events: Women’s 10,000 meters (Wednesday), 5,000 meters (Friday)

Seeds: No. 17 in the 10,000; No. 9 in the 5,000

Notable: She placed 12th in the 5,000 last year — her first outdoor season — to earn All-America second-team honors. She has smashed the school records in both of these events and won Mountain West championships during her career in the 3,000 (indoor), 5,000 and 10,000.

Quotable: “The 5k is definitely my strength. I feel more comfortable in it. It’s just mentally easier. … I haven’t run enough 10s to know if I can be really good at it. All-American in either one would be awesome.” — Bates

Daveon Collins, junior

Event: Men’s 200 meters (Thursday, Saturday)

Seed: No. 20

Matt Post, junior

Event: Men’s hammer (Thursday)

Seed: No. 15

Notable: He qualified with a throw of 208 feet, 11 inches but has a season best of 214-0.

Quotable: “He’s been really consistent. They had weather issues (at the West preliminary meet) the day he was supposed to throw, so he had to deal with a little adversity there.” — Boise State interim coach Jeff Petersmeyer

Marisa VanderMalle, sophomore

Event: Women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase (Thursday; Saturday)

Seed: No. 9

Notable: She set a school record and beat her own personal best by 24 seconds with a time of 10:01.12 at the West preliminary meet — missing automatic qualification for the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships by 1.12 seconds. She finished third at the Mountain West cross country meet and won the conference steeplechase this season.

Quotable: “She killed it (at the West meet). It was awesome. She’s got a bright future with us. What she does (at the national meet), I don’t know, but I think it will be really good.” — Petersmeyer

IDAHO

Jeremy Klas, senior

Event: Men’s pole vault (Wednesday)

Seed: No. 12

Notable: Klas originally walked on at Idaho from Moscow High. He qualified for the NCAA outdoor meet in 2010 and the indoor meets in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He redshirted outdoors in 2011 and missed the West preliminary meet in 2012 with an injury, so this is his first NCAA outdoor appearance in three years.

Quotable: “He has really worked hard to get back and make it to NCAAs. If things continue to go as well as they’ve been going over the last couple weeks, he’d be a guy who has a great shot to be an All-American for us.” — Idaho coach Wayne Phipps

Ugis Svazs and Liga Velvere, seniors

Events: Men’s javelin (Saturday); women’s 400-meter hurdles (Wednesday, Friday)

Seeds: No. 6; No. 19

Notable: Svazs and Velvere, who were dating at the time but aren’t now, were recruited together from Latvia over the Internet. Svazs placed fourth at the WAC meet but stepped up with a big throw (237 feet) to finish fourth in the much deeper NCAA West preliminary meet. Velvere has won eight WAC titles, including three straight indoors in the 800 and distance-medley relay. She turned her focus to the hurdles midway through this season.

Quotable: “Throws, they’re a little unpredictable — all it takes is one big one and that can get you in contention. (Svazs) was able to throw very well at the West regionals. With a throw like that, it almost guarantees him to be an NCAA All-American. … With Liga, she had an amazing conference career for us. She narrowly missed making NCAAs in the 800 indoors. I think that was a huge motivation for her to try to make it outdoors. … It was great to see her set a personal best to qualify for Eugene.” — Phipps

IDAHO STATE

Mike Arnold, senior

Event: Men’s pole vault (Wednesday)

Seed: No. 3

Notable: Arnold has won six Big Sky titles and competed at three NCAA meets. He placed fifth at the West preliminary meet. The top 11 qualifiers for this meet cleared the same height at regionals.

Quotable: “Mike has had the best practices he has ever had. Mike is a great competitor and has a very good chance to finish in the top 5 in Eugene.” — Idaho State coach Dave Nielsen

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