June 18, 2013
PITTSBURGH – Four track and field athletes from the University of Pittsburgh have qualified to compete in the 2013 USA Track and Field Championships from June 20-23. Juniors Carvin Nkanata and Brycen Spratling have both qualified for the senior meet, while freshmen Dustin Fuller and Evann Thompson will compete in the Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
The 2013 USA Track and Field Championships serve as the selection event for the coveted spots to represent Team USA at the IAAF World Championships. The Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships are a similar event, but for 16-19 year old athletes.
The events will take place in Des Moines, Iowa at Drake Stadium on the campus of Drake University. Greater Des Moines was named Track Central USA for its long and storied legacy as a home for track and field competition. Drake Stadium has previously hosted the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2010, as well as the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships three times.
Pitt’s Brycen Spratling is one of the Panther hopefuls who looks to compete for a spot on Team USA. Spratling, a junior from Webster, N.Y., will run in the 400 meter qualifying race in Iowa. During 2012-13 season, Spratling placed first in the 400 meters at both the Morgan St. Legacy Track Meet and the NC A&T Aggie Invitational in April and was named Second Team All-America for his 16th Place overall finish at the NCAA Outdoor National Championships in Eugene, Ore.
His best time for the event this season is 45.94 seconds, which is Pitt’s outdoor school record. He set this on his way to a second place finish at the Big East Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the beginning of May. This time is the 26th best qualifying time for the 400 meters, amidst an extremely competitive field. Spratling will compete against six members of the 2012 Olympic Team, and hopes to be one of the top three finishers to represent his country.
The other Panther competing for a spot on the 2013 USA Team at the World Championships is junior 200 meter sprinter Calvin Nkanata. Nkanata was a First Team All-America runner for Pitt, coming in 7th Place at the NCAA Championships. He is the Big East Indoor and Outdoor 200 meter dash champion, and the IC4A champion.
Nkanata’s best time of 20.29 seconds qualifies him for the USA Track and Field Championships, and this time is the 10th best among the other qualifiers. The other runners in his event consist of five Olympians from the 2012 team, including Walter Dix, Wallace Spearmon, Isiah Young, Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay. Three of Nkanata’s opponents from the NCAA National Championship final will also be competition, including National Champion Ameer Webb of Texas A&M, whose qualifying time is 9th, one spot above Nkanata.
The two Pitt freshmen, Thompson and Fuller, are also seeking to make the national team, although on the junior level. Both are acclaimed and highly achieving in just their first year on the college level.
Evann Thompson, a freshman from Mt. Laurel, N.J., qualified for the women’s 400-meter hurdles with a personal best 58.89 second time at the Big East Championships. She placed third at the Big East Championship event to earn all-conference accolades.
Competing in the men’s 400-meter hurdles is Panther freshman Dustin Fuller. Fuller came in fourth at the Big East Conference championships, where he set his personal-best time of 53.70 seconds.
The senior meet runners will look to place in the top three in their respective events while the juniors need to place in the top two to earn a spot on the USA Team. Spratling and Nkanata are racing to get the chance to compete in the IAAF World Championships, which will take place in Moscow, Russia from August 10-18. Thompson and Fuller will battle to be among the top finishers and make the junior team, which will represent USA in Medellin, Columbia from August 23-25.