Last best attempt: Northern Michigan University women’s track and field stars make final bids for NCAA Division II Championships

Northern Michigan University’s Crystal Walker makes a leap in the long jump during an indoor meet this past winter season. (Photo courtesy NMU)

MARQUETTE — Several Northern Michigan University track and field stars are up in the air for making the NCAA Division II national meet, but it won’t be for lack of trying after they participated in several “last chance” meets in Illinois last weekend.

The Wildcats have a number of provisional qualifying times, including several set in Illinois, but those are only wild card possibilities if there aren’t enough of the regular qualifiers in their events for the nationals to be held in Pueblo, Colorado, later this month.

But they will have to wait until NCAA invitations are issued.

NMU’s Crystal Walker shone at both the Carius-Gregory Invitational held Friday in Naperville, Illinois, and at the Fighting Chance Invite held in Joliet, Illinois, on Saturday.

Walker won the long jump on Friday with a Wildcats-record leap of 5.92 meters (19 feet, 5 1/8 inches) on Friday, matching the indoor school record she set in February.

Northern Michigan University's Crystal Walker makes a leap in the long jump during an outdoor meet this spring season. (Photo courtesy NMU)

Then on Saturday, she came within one-hundredth of a meter of that at 5.91 meters (19-4 5/8), again winning the event at that meet.

Walker also won the 100-meter hurdles on Friday with teammate Ellyse Wolfrath as runner-up. Their preliminary heat times were their best, 14.10 seconds for Walker and 14.13 for Wolfrath, and are also NCAA qualifying marks and among the top 30 times in the country this spring.

In addition, on Friday, Northern’s Ahna Larson won the 400 hurdles in 1:03.94, while freshman teammate Beverly Harper was runner-up in the 800 run in 2:19.52, a personal record for her.

On Saturday, freshman Madi Szymanski was 11th in the 1,500 in 4:35.25, a personal record as she was the only freshman running the event.

NMU’s Akirah Venerable was third in the 400 hurdles in 1:03.16, while Wolfrath was sixth in the 100 hurdles in 14.43.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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