May 29, 2014
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (SMU) - Four SMU Mustangs competed on day one of the NCAA Preliminaries in Fayetteville, Ark., on Thursday, with Stephanie Kalu advancing to the national semifinals in the 100-meter dash and freshman Tochi Nlemchi posting a personal-best in the shot put.
Kalu posted a time of 11.61, good for fourth in her heat and 12th overall. The junior was an honorable mention All-American in the event last season, and Director of Track and Field Dave Wollman thinks she will be ready to attempt to qualify for the NCAA Championships with a strong showing tomorrow.
"Stephanie looked solid and appears ready to challenge fo an NCAA spot tomorrow in the 100," Wollman said.
Nlemchi narrowly missed qualifying for a berth at the NCAA Championships in shot put, posting a mark of 15.63 meters, but the freshman's improvement over the course of the season leaves Wollman optimistic about her future on the Hilltop.
"In her last appearance as a freshman, she had a personal best in five of her six throws and was the number two freshman in the field," Wollman stated. "She has improved nine feet in college which is unheard of in the shot, so I am fairly certain Tochi will make multiple NCAA Championships in her remaining years."
Senior Helena Perez also competed in the shot put, placing 34th with a throw of 14.76 meters. Perez will look to build upon her strong hammer throw showing this spring as she will participate in the event on Saturday morning. Perez won the American Athletic Conference title in the hammer earlier this month.
"Helena is nursing a sore back and was doing her best to compete hard but maintain good health for her best event (the hammer) which is on Saturday," Wollman said.
Lucija Cvitanovic was the first Mustang to compete on Thursday, and the sophomore took 30th in the javelin with a distance of 43.39 meters.