May 30, 2014
JACKSONVILLE, Florida - After day one of competition at the NCAA East Preliminary Round, five Panthers advanced to the quarterfinals. Ethan Shalaway was the first to compete on Thursday afternoon in the javelin throw and became the first Panther of the day to move on to the quarterfinals. Evann Thompson and Desmond Palmer followed the trend by both making it to the quarterfinals in the 400 meter hurdles. Senior sprinters Brycen Spratling and Micah Murray also delivered strong performances, which were both good enough to qualify into the quarterfinal round.
Evann Thompson highlighted the first day of Panther performances with a school record showing in the women's 400 meter hurdles with a time of 57.41 seconds. Thompson experienced a back injury early this outdoor season, but is finally back on track toward reaching her goals. The sophomore sprinter made her presence known by breaking a Pitt record of 57.45 seconds that has stood since 2006. Thompson will look to set another personal record again on Friday in the quarterfinals.
Palmer represented for the Panthers in the men's 400 meter hurdles with a new personal record of 51.45 seconds, and a spot in the Friday quarterfinals as he finished 12th overall in the preliminary round.
Spratling and Murray will both go forward into the quarterfinals on Friday in the men's 400 meter dash. Spratling currently sits in fourth overall as he enters the quarterfinals, while Murray is ranked at 15. Both seniors will look to cap off their final seasons with a trip to Eugene, Oregon for Nationals.
Shalaway impressed in the javelin competition as he finished fourth in the first flight with a throw of 64.72 meters (212'4"). The freshman thrower then had to wait for two more flights to be completed, which were both delayed due to inclement weather.
Shalaway was one of 16 who advanced to the quarterfinals, but needed a big throw to move his way into the top 12 in order to qualify for Nationals. Shalaway felt short of the finals, but plans to compete in the Juniors and advance further from there.
The Panthers will continue competition on Friday with the hammer throw up first at 10 a.m., while the track events won't kick off until 5 p.m. For the latest updates on the Panthers at East Regionals, fans can follow along on @PittTFandXC
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