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Trailblazers Gearing up for NJCAA Outdoor National Meet

Vincennes, IN – The Vincennes University Trailblazer Track & Field teams will be competing in the NJCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships hosted by Hutchinson Community College on Thursday, May 18th through Saturday, May 20th.

Both the men’s, and the women’s teams have had outstanding seasons chalked full of personal bests, top-25 national marks, and even school records. In all, the women have made 8 changes to the all-time school records list, including 1 school record, and the men have made 2 changes, including 1 school record this outdoor season. The team has also qualified 8 female athletes, and 13 male athletes that will be making the trip to Hutchinson, Kansas.

Sophomore Varvara Klyuchnikova is the defending outdoor national champion in the high jump, and looks to be in prime form to retain that title going into the national meet. Klyuchnikova currently sits 2nd in the NJCAA with a mark of 5’10”, a mere ¾” off of her personal best, and off of the #1 mark in the NJCAA. She also signed to continue her academic and athletic career earlier this spring at Fresno State University.

Sophomore Anais Da Silva also had tremendous success at the outdoor track and field championships last year She finished national runner-up in both the 5k & 10k last season, and Da Silva currently is 4th in the 5,000 & 2nd in the 10,000 in the NJCAA.

Aintzane Castarlenas Martinez was also the outdoor runner-up in the pole vault last season, and looks to be primed for another top 3 finish at the national meet. She is currently tied for the 2nd best mark in the NJCAA with fellow VU teammate, Freshman Merica Valdez. Both athletes have cleared 12’ 1 ½” this season, and finished 3rd and 4th respectively in the event earlier this season at the Indoor National Meet.

Freshman Jamesha Western finished 2nd in the shot put at the NJCAA Indoor National Meet, and has continued her strong performances in the throwing events during the outdoor season. Western has qualified for Hutch in the shot put, the discus, and the hammer throw. She also is currently ranked top 14 in the NJCAA in all 3 events.

Rounding out the female athletes competing at the NJCAA National Meet for VU is a trifecta of female distance runners. Freshman Sydney Davidson will be running the 1500 & the 800 at the NJCAA National Meet. Both of her marks this year in those events are top-5 in school history. Freshman Maisie Lay qualified in the 800, and finally Freshman Wendy Catalan will be joining Da Silva in the 5,000m run on Saturday.

On the Men’s side, Sophomore Jordan Downs will look to improve on both his school record set earlier this spring, and his 3rd place finish in the pole vault at the NJCAA Indoor National Meet this coming weekend. Downs mark of 16’4” at the Bill Smith Challenge to open the outdoor season broke a VU school record that had stood for nearly 25 years, and is currently the #1 mark in the NJCAA. Downs is also currently seeded 15th in the long jump at 23’11 ¾”.

Freshman Marlowe Mosely will look to improve on his 5th place finish in the 400m dash at the NJCAA Indoor National Meet as he takes to the track this weekend. Mosely has been on fire all outdoor season, and has yet to lose in an individual event. Mosely has qualified in the 100, 400, 4x1, and 4x4.

Joining Mosely on the 4x1 are: sophomore Jordan Moothery, Freshman Kevin Johnson, and sophomore Gus Lathrop. Moothery committed to Indiana State University earlier this spring, and has also qualified to run the 100m dash. Kevin Johnson has qualified in the 400 hurdles, and along with Lathrop, will also be part of the 4x4 team that includes Mosely and sophomore Michael Trice as well.

Sophomore Richard Griffith finished 4th at the NJCAA Indoor National Meet in the heptathlon, and will look to improve on what has been a stellar outdoor season for him in the decathlon. Griffith also has qualified in the 400 hurdles, and his mark of 14’7 ½” in the pole vault during the decathlon is good enough to individually qualify him for that event as well.

Ezra Griffith, brother of Richard Griffith, qualified in the 400 hurdles.

Sophomore Jose Abel Cano Pallares earned All-American Honors last outdoor season in the 1500, and also garnered the same accolades this indoor season in the 1,000m run. Cano Pallares will look to continue that success in the 1500m run this weekend.

Freshman distance runners Evan Franklin and Collin Zollman both punched their tickets to Hutch last weekend. Franklin was an All-American in both Cross Country & the Half-Marathon in the fall, and will be racing the 5,000m after winning the Region XII title in a time of 15:20. Zollman qualified in the steeple chase in just his first year running the event. Zollman placed 6th at the Indiana Little State Championships earlier this fall, and finished top 3 at the NJCAA Region XII Outdoor Track & field Championships.

Finally, Sophomore Evan Hansen qualified in the high jump for the 4th straight time between his indoor and outdoor season. Hansen signed to continue his jumping career at Lee University early this season, and has cleared 6’7” this outdoor season.

You can watch all the action this weekend on live on Flotrack.com! Go Trailblazers!

For schedule of events see: http://static.psbin.com/r/f/r9ryb9hbz5qmn2/2017_DI_OTF_CHAMP_Schedule.pdf

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Trailblazer Scholarship Fund - The VU Foundation awarded a record $1,094,203 scholarship dollars of VU Foundation and University funds for the 2013-2014 school year to incoming and returning VU students. 

These included awards to students from 9 states across the country and 9 international awards. 

Currently the VU Foundation manages over 450 scholarship and department funds, with 128 new funds created in just the last 8 years.

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At VU, we believe sports play an important role in the overall purpose of an educational institution. We support a well-rounded intercollegiate sports program for both men and women and have a strong presence in the NJCAA where we can claim several national championships. But we are equally proud of our individual All-American and All-American Academic athletes who have used their talent to continue their education at four-year colleges.

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