A dozen UCM athletes selected for NCAA Track & Field Championships

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.) – Twelve UCM athletes earned berths into the upcoming NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships after successful performances throughout the regular season. A total of 10 individual entries and one relay team will compete at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl at Colorado State-Pueblo.
Senior Brent Vogel will look to reclaim the national title in the decathlon, after winning the event in 2011. Vogel is also the reigning indoor heptathlon national champ, and posted the second-highest decathlon score in Division II this season. Vogel won the decathlon at the Texas State Bobcat Invitational, with a score of 7,274 points to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
The MIAA champion in the heptathlon, junior Zoe Sharplin will look to earn her second All-American honor in the event after placing 6th at the national championships a year ago. Sharplin posted a career-high 5,069 points en route to the conference title, and ranks third in the nation.
A total of four freshmen will make their first appearances at the outdoor championships. For the Jennies, freshman Victoria Jackson will make her’s at a national meet, competing in the heptathlon. Jackson finished as the runner-up at the MIAA Championships two weeks ago, but posted her highest score of the season at the Oklahoma Baptist Last Chance meet last weekend, where she won the event with 4,869 points. Jackson enters the Championships with the 15th-highest score this season.
Tallinn, Estonia native Meelis Siimson will compete in the men’s long jump, where he had the tenth-highest mark during the regular season. Siimson was a two-time All-American at the indoor championships in March, finishing as the national runner-up in the long jump, and placing third in the triple jump. The freshman just made two appearances during the outdoor season, competing at the Drake Relays, where he placed 11th in the long jump, followed by claiming the MIAA outdoor title in the same event.
Kellin Loch earned a spot in the 800-meter run at the championships, after claiming the MIAA title earlier this month. The Warrensburg native has proven to be dominant in the 800-meters, pulling off both indoor and outdoor conference titles, while posting his personal record time of 1:50.16 on his home track during the UCM Mule Relays. Loch ranks ninth in the nation in the event, and was the fastest freshman in the country during the regular season.
Chris Swearingin will compete in the men’s javelin as a first-year athlete, after winning the conference title earlier this year. Swearingin claimed three javelin titles during the regular season, winning the event at the Pittsburg State Wendy’s Open, MIAA Championships, and Emporia State Sam Williams Qualifier. Last weekend at ESU, Swearingin broke the UCM school record, throwing for 209 feet, becoming one of just two Mules to ever clear 200 feet in the event.
Senior Carl McCargo will make his third straight appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, qualifying for the men’s javelin. McCargo, who competed in the decathlon in both 2012 and 2011, struggled with injuries throughout the year and did not complete a decathlon during the regular season. The Murrieta, Calif. native qualified for the javelin in his one and only appearance in the event throughout the year, when he earned All-MIAA honors with a second place finish at the conference championships. McCargo threw for 200′ 3″ (61.04m), breaking the old UCM record and becoming the second athlete in UCM history, along with Swearingin, to clear 200 feet.
The Jennies also earned a bid in the javelin, as junior Mary Riley will look to improve upon her All-American performance from last season. Riley placed 4th at last year’s Championships, and as the MIAA runner-up this season, earning All-MIAA honors. The Olathe, Kan. native earned an automatic bid to the Championships with her second-place performance at the Pittsburg State Wendy’s Open, where she threw for 152′ 3″ (46.41m), good for fourth-best in Division II this season.
Indoor All-American Devin Claypool earns his first career trip to the outdoor Championships in the high jump, after clearing 6′ 10.75″ (2.10m) at the MIAA Championships earlier this month, to finish second. The junior ranks tenth in Division II for the outdoor season, and earned a fourth-place result at the indoor Championships after jumping a personal-record 6′ 11.75″ (2.13m). Claypool won three high jump titles during the outdoor season in 2013, including at the Pittsburg State Wendy’s Open, the Pittsburg State Gorilla Classic, and at the UCM Mule Relays.
Jennies’ thrower Brooke Swearingin will compete in the discus, after recording a throw of 158′ (48.17m) to rank 12th on the national performance list. The sophomore earned a pair of All-MIAA nods earlier this month with her second-place performance in the discus, and third-place result in the hammer throw. During the outdoor season, the Odessa native and sibling of Chris Swearingin finished no worse than fourth place in any throwing event. Last season, Swearingin picked up All-American honors with an eighth-place result in the discus, and will look to improve upon that result this year.
Finally, the Mules 4×400 meter relay team of freshman Daniel McCarty – with seniors Khaldon Evans, Vogel, and Loch – will enter the outdoor Championships with the ninth-fastest time in Division II this year. The team posted a time of 3:10.39 at the Drake Relays last month, finishing sixth in the 31-team field. The 4x400m relay has been a strong event for the Mules in the past, having earned four All-American awards in the event since 2009. For Evans, a senior from St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, the entry marks his first career appearance at either an indoor or outdoor NCAA Championships event.
The NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships take place May 23-25 in Pueblo, Colo. At last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships the Mules finished 15th in the team standings with 20 points, while the Jennies placed 4th, collecting 56.5 points.