May 31, 2012
BEAUMONT, Texas -
Lamar University's Tom Wade already knows this year's trip to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be better than last year's. That's because twin brother Joe is also heading to next week's meet in Des Moines, Iowa.
The natives of Isle of Wight, England, will compete in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase. Tom earned honorable mention All-American status last year at the event, while Joe will make his first trip to the national championships.
"We're twins. We do everything together," Tom said. "I'm very happy that Joe made it this year."
The Wades qualified for the nationals by finishing 2-3 in their heat at the NCAA West Regional Preliminaries last week in Austin, Texas. Tom was second, while Joe made a late push to finish third.
"I had to step it up in the last 50 meters or so," Joe said. "I moved into third in the last 15 meters."
Twenty-four competitors will take part in the steeplechase. There are two semifinal heats of 12 competitors each, wit 12 runners advancing to the finals.
"It will be a very strong field," Lamar distance coach Dave Hartman said of the steeplechase. "You'll see some runners who could represent their country in the Olympics this summer."
Joe Wade believes the field could be tight for most of the race.
"Even at regionals, the race spread out a bit," he said. "But at the nationals, everybody's times are so close, the field will be packed. You have to know how to run in those conditions."
While the Wades are hoping to capture All-America honors on the track, they're also looking to garner Academic All-America status as well. The twins, who both graduated with a 4.0 GPA in kinesiology this spring, were named to the Academic All-District team on Thursday. Their names will appear on the national ballot for Academic All-America.
"They are both tremendous student-athletes. They're successful in the classroom and on the track," Hartman said. "They are great representatives of Lamar."
The Wades leave for Des Moines on Monday. The championships are scheduled for June 6-9 at Drake University.