June 10, 2014
EUGENE, Oregon – Brycen Spratling and Carkin Nkanata, along with Micah Murray, Desmond Palmer, and Evann Thompson are headed to the NCAA Division I Outdoor National Championship Meet, hosted by the University of Oregon this week in Eugene, Oregon. Spratling, Nkanata, Murray, and Palmer will run the 4x400 meter relay. Spratling will also run the 400 meter dash, and Nkanata is preparing for the 200 meter dash. Palmer and Thompson will compete in the 400 meter hurdles, for the men and women, respectively.
Spratling is coming into this national competition with an impressive resume, including the gold he captured for the Panthers in the 400 meter dash in 45.49 seconds at the ACC Outdoor Championship. Spratling now also holds the No. 1 fastest time in the East region at 45.09 seconds, which he set last weekend at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds.
Nkanata will enter this week’s events with two Big East Championship titles and two ACC Championship titles to his name. The senior sprinter will also call on his international race experience, as he recently competed for Team Kenya in the Men’s 4x200 meter relay at the IAAF World Relay Championship held in the Bahamas in May. Nkanata and his teammates placed fifth overall and set a Kenyan national record of 1:22.35 in the finals.
The men’s 4x4 relay heads into this week as the No. 1 team in the ACC. Murray, Nkanata, Palmer and Spratling won the gold medal at the ACC Indoor Championships and went on to take silver in the outdoor championships. Adding to their great success, the ‘fearsome four’ ran their way into Penn Relays’ history and Pitt record books, winning their event in a time of 3:03.44.
All five athletes head into this week’s national competition ranked in the top 20 nationally, but all will look to return to Pittsburgh with championship titles. In the 4x4 relay, Spratling, Nkanata, Murray, and Palmer are ranked fifth as they enter into the finals. Spratling is seeded No. 3 in the Division I Men’s Outdoor 400 meter dash. Pitt school record holder, Evann Thompson, is seeded at tenth for the women’s 400 meter hurdles, while Palmer is seeded at No. 14 for the men’s 400 meter hurdles. Nkanata is placed at 20th for the 200 meter dash.
ESPN3 will stream the NCAA Championship Meet live beginning at 6:55 p.m. ET on June 11 and June 12, and 7:30 p.m. ET on June 14. Anyone with a .edu email address is able to obtain access to ESPN3 at no cost, and others can log-in using their specific cable provider. NCAA.com will stream supplemental coverage as available when ESPN3 is not live. Additionally, ESPNU will air a tape-delayed two hour show starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 15.
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Palmer, Tate Advance to Quarterfinals
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Eleven Panthers Qualify for East Region Championships
Palmer Repeats as 400m Hurdle Champion