Four Simpson track and field athletes took part in national qualifying meets last night, taking the track one last time with the goal of improving their chances at making the NCAA Division III Championships next week in Claremont, Calif.
To qualify for the national meet, men need to finish with one of the nation's top 20 times while the women need to fall in the top 22.
Senior Ben Coy, freshman Bayley Fleshner and senior Catie Ellingson, competed at UW-La Crosse National Qualifier while senior Ryan Edwardson went to the North Central Gregory Final Qualifier in Naperville, Ill.
Coy went into the night hoping to improve his chances at competing in the 400 meters in California. He ended up fourth in the race, but couldn't top the time of 48.16 he ran at the Iowa Conference Championships, finishing in 48.84. He is still in the hunt, however, owning the 16th-fastest time in the nation.
Fleshner came in with the 28th-fastest time in the 100-meter hurdles at 14.67. She couldn't improve her standing, however, running a 14.91 in the prelims before finishing in 14.81 in the finals for fifth place.
Already boasting the fourth-fastest 1500 meter time in the nation and a virtual lock for the national meet, Ellingson used the trip to La Crosse, Wis. as a tune up. She ran the 800 meters for the primary purpose of working on foot speed, placing fifth in 2:13.41.
Edwardson saw his bid for a NCAA Championship appearance in the 5,000 meters come to a close on Thursday. Needing to break 14:30 to put himself in the hunt, Edwardson went out fast but couldn't keep pace, running a 14:50.04 to place 10th.
The national field will be announced Sunday, May 20.