13abc.com Joe Nugent, Sports Anchor/Reporter - email
The University of Findlay men and women's outdoor track and field teams had 11 individuals qualify for the 2014 NCAA Division II National Championship, which will run from May 22-24 at the Grand Valley State University Track Stadium in Allendale, Mich.
The men's team had four individuals qualify and are led by junior Justin Welch, who will enter the championship event as the top-seeded thrower in the hammer.
Welch, who holds the top spot at 72.93 meters, won a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) championship in the event earlier this year. His mark is over seven meters further than the second-ranked competitor and it is the second longest throw in the history of NCAA Division II track and field.
Welch won a national championship in the weight throw during the indoor season and was tabbed the Midwest Region Field Athlete of the Year. He has also been named the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Athlete of the Week twice during the outdoor campaign.
The Luckey, Ohio native will also be competing in the discus throw for the Oilers. He is seeded eighth in the event with a mark of 53.26 meters.
Senior Dillon Webster was selected to compete in the 800-meter run and will enter the championship as the four-seed in the event with a time of 1:49.17.
Webster won a GLIAC championship in the event during the outdoor season and was named an All-American in the 800 during the indoor campaign.
Freshman Alexander Zolotoglavyy is the third male track athlete to qualify and he will take part in the long jump, where he is seeded fourth with a mark of 7.65 meters.
Zolotoglavyy won a GLIAC title in the event during the indoor and outdoor campaigns and was also tabbed the GLIAC Freshman Field Athlete of the Year in both seasons.
Junior Demorrio Leggett also qualified for the championship and will compete in the triple jump. He reached the national meet with a mark of 14.89 meters, which is the 20th best mark in the nation.
The women's squad will be led by junior Kendra Averesch, who is ranked third in the shot put with a heave of 15.72 meters.
Averesch was an All-American in the event during the indoor season and also captured an indoor GLIAC title in the shot put.
Freshman Alex DeVincentis will compete in the discus throw and will enter the competition seeded fifth with a distance of 49.28 meters.
DeVincentis won a GLIAC championship in the event during the outdoor competition and was rewarded for her efforts by being named the GLIAC Freshman Field Athlete of the Year.
Sophomore Samantha Grippe qualified for the meet and is seeded ninth in the 800-meter run at 2:09.96 while junior Maud Sanmiquel is scheduled to compete in the 400-meter hurdles, an event in which she is seeded 12th at 1:00.12.
Senior Pam Showman and sophomore Lydia Guagenti also qualified for the championship and will compete in the heptathlon and high jump, respectively.
Showman enters the national meet as the 12-seed in the heptathlon with 4,952 points while Guagenti is ranked 18th in the high jump at 1.71 meters.
Finally, freshman Erica King has qualified in the hammer throw and will be seeded 19th at 53.51 meters.