May 21, 2010
BEAUMONT, Texas - Five student-athletes from Lamar University will compete in the first round of the NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships next week in Austin, Texas.
Representing the Cardinals will be Samuel Kosgei in the men's 10,000 meters, Joonas Harjamaki and Matt Johnsen in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase, Francis Kasagule in the men's 1,500 meters and Ashley Idunoba in the women's 200 meters.
"We're excited to have five athletes going to the NCAAs," Lamar track coach Trey Clark said. "It will be a great experience for them, and I think we have a chance to do well."
Kosgei is the school record holder in the 10,000 meters with a time of 28 minutes, 32.62 seconds. A two-time Southland Conference champion in the 5,000 meters, Kosgei is a two-time All-American, earning the honor in cross country in 2008 and for the men's 5,000 meters during the 2009 indoor season. His time is the third best in the region this year in the 10,000 meters.
"Samuel qualified for the NCAAs in the 5,000, but we didn't declare him," Clark said. "He's ready to run the 10,000 meters."
Harjamaki has the second fastest time in the region in the steeplechase at 8:39.22, the third-fastest time in school history. Harjamaki, who was selected as the Newcomer of the Year in the Southland Conference, won the Southland Conference title in the steeplechase last week.
Johnsen was second in the steeplechase at the conference championships, and placed third in the 5,000 meters.
Kasagule, a two-time All-American in cross country, won the conference title in the 1,500. His best time this season is 3:$8.07. Kasagule also added a second-place finish in the 5,000 meters at the SLC meet.
Idunoba owns the third fastest time in school history in the 200 meters at 24.10 seconds.
"Everything has been geared toward this part of the season," Clark said. "All of them did what we asked of them at the conference meet, and they are prepared for the NCAAs.
The top 12 finishers in each event at each of the two first-round sites will advance to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore. The top eight finishers in each event in Eugene earn All-American status.
The preliminary rounds will be May 27-29 in Austin. The national championships are set for June 9-12 in Eugene.