Competition Begins Today at NCAA Track & Field Nationals

WEBSITE LINKS:  NCAA / OHIO WESLEYAN / USTFCCCA

746-ncaa-outdoorDELAWARE, OHIO -- Six Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology student-athletes will compete in this week's NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field National Championships, beginning with five athletes in competition today (Thursday).

The effort marks the most Rose-Hulman student-athletes to qualify for the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships since nine Fightin' Engineers competed in the 1986 event. 

Senior Derek Bischak (Angola) marks the first Rose-Hulman runner in the competition by competing in the 1,500 meters tonight at 6:45 p.m, with the finals set for Saturday at 1:50.

Bischak holds the No. 11 spot in the qualifying field after running a school record time of 3:50.76 at North Central last weekend to solidify his position in this spring's field.  He was also the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Co-Track Athlete of the Year at the indoor conference championship meet. 

Junior Sutton Coleman (Lebanon, Va.) takes to the track in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles tonight at 7:15 p.m., with finals set for Saturday at 3:45.  Coleman stands No. 6 nationally in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles with a time of 52.69 seconds that ranks second in Rose-Hulman history. 

The 4-x-400 meter relay team of senior Paul Bouagnon (St. Charles, Ill./Burlington Central), sophomore Tyler Hannan (Winchester, Ky./George Rogers Clark), sophomore Brent Austgen (Cedar Lake/Hanover Central) and Coleman will compete tonight at 8:55 p.m., with finals set for 5:15 on Saturday. 

The effort marks the first national relay qualification effort at Rose-Hulman since the 4-x-100 meter relay team qualified for the nationals in 1986.  The Engineers stand No. 16 nationally entering the preliminary competition.

Coleman returns to competition in the 110-meter high hurdles on Friday at 6:30 p.m., with finals set for Saturday at 2:15.  He enters the meet with two career All-American honors, capturing sixth place in the 55-meter high hurdles at the 2011 Indoor National Championships and finishing eighth at the 2009 Outdoor Nationals in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles. 

Sophomore Liz Evans (Bicknell/North Knox) enters with the top ranked women's high jump effort in the nation with a leap of 5' 8 1/2" at Ohio Wesleyan earlier this year and will compete on Saturday at noon.

Evans won the NCAA Division III indoor high jump national championship in February and twice claimed national runner-up honors last season.  The three-time All-American was also named the NCAA Division III USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Field Athlete of the Year on Tuesday.