May 16, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS - Joe Wade and Sam Stabler are set to make return trips to the NCAA West Preliminaries, with Wade looking to make a second trip on to the Championships and Stabler looking to do the same for the first time.
The NCAA West Prelims will run from May 23-25 on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin.
Wade, an All-America honorable mention last season, will look to better his performance this time around after making the cut in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. In last year's competition, also held in Austin, the Englishman completed the event in 8:58.52 to finish ninth and ultimately advance to the Championship round in Oregon. Wade also made it to the preliminary round in 2011, finishing 20th.
This season, Wade posted a time of 8:56.41 at the Mt. SAC Relays to qualify. However, he suffered an unfortunate fall at the Southland Championships and was unable to earn a second consecutive conference title in the event. He bounced back with a title in the 1,500 a day later and completed the season with the best conference times in the steeplechase as well as both the 1,500 and 5,000 meter runs.
"This is a fitting way for Joe to end his year," head coach Trey Clark said. "I know that not being able to win the conference championship in his favorite event was a tough pill to swallow, but I feel like he's really ready to run well. The steeplechase is an event that Lamar has always excelled in, and I'd put our top five performers up with any other school. Joe has an opportunity to carry the torch for us again this year, and I'm looking for him to continue that tradition."
Lamar has produced three All-Americans in the steeplechase. Jonas Lundstrom became the first in 1989, and both Joonas Harjamaki and Tom Wade, Joe's twin brother, have earned the honors in recent years. Also, Pedro Caceres competed in the event for Argentina at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
Stabler, who posted the third-best SLC time in the 1,500 this season, will look to carry the banner at the West meet after a 43rd
place finish a year ago. It has been an exceptional sophomore campaign for the Englishman, and his time of 3:46.59 at the Victor Lopez Rice Bayou Classic earned him a trip this season. In last year's event, Stabler completed the race in 4:04.36.
"I'm looking for Sam to put himself in a position to do well this year," Clark explained. "I think the second trip to the NCAAs is always better than the first, and his mental toughness this time around is something that will help him. He fell in the 5,000 out at Stanford but still got up and ran a personal-best, and then at conference this past weekend, he gutted out two fourth-place finishes."
In all 22 Southland athletes will make the trek to UT's Mike A. Myers Stadium, and Wade and Stabler represent two of the three that are set to compete in distance events.