Nicasio, Nelvis, & Pienaar qualify for NCAA Championships

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. ( – The list of Arkansas State University outdoor track and field athletes qualifying for the 2014 NCAA Division I Championships continues to get longer as two more Red Wolves are off to nationals following their performances in Friday's (May 30) day two competition at the NCAA-I West Region Preliminaries in Fayetteville, Ark.

Seniors Chris Nicasio and Sharika Nelvis each secured a trip to the national championship meet by producing top 12 marks/times in their respective events at the NCAA West Prelims, which are being conducted at the University of Arkansas' John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Ark.

Chris Nicasio became the second A-State athlete this outdoor season advancing for action at the 2014 NCAA-I Championships (June 11-14) in Eugene, Ore.  Nicasio, a 2014 All-Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Second-Team pick, generated a personal 2014 season-best toss of 205-03.78 (62.58m) in the men's hammer throw to claim seventh-place honors.  A season ago, Nicasio came up four places shy of landing a spot among the top 12 and an automatic trip to the national meet by registering a 16th-place 202-09.46 (61.81m) performance.

Nelvis is headed back to the NCAA Championships for the third consecutive year as the two-time (2012-13) U.S. Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Outdoor Track All-America honoree sprinted a time of 11.50 in the second heat of the women's 100-meter dash to finish in eighth place overall.  The top three-place finishers from each of the three quarterfinal-round heats move on to nationals as does the next three fastest times qualify.  Nelvis, the 2013-14 Sun Belt Conference Female Athlete of the Year and a three-time (2012-14) SBC Women's Most Outstanding Outdoor Track Performer honoree, will be competing in the 100-meter dash at nationals for the second time in the last three years.  The three-time (2012-14) All-SBC First-Team member placed 14th overall with an 11.41 time in the 100-meter semifinals at the 2012 NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa to attain second-team All-America recognition.

In the women's 100-meter hurdles, Nelvis clocked a first-round best time of 12.98 despite a strong headwind and will now prepare for the event's quarterfinals this Saturday (May 31) at 7:20 p.m. (CT) in hopes of becoming a national qualifier in a second running event.

"We had another good day today," said A-State head coach Jim Patchell.  "Sharika (Nelvis) made it to tomorrow's next round in the hurdles and will be going to nationals in the 100 meters.  I was especially proud of Chris Nicasio.  He made the national meet in his final time as a senior after being close the previous three years. "

Senior Kashef Daniel had his A-State career come to a close after failing to record a height in two attempts of the men's high jump preliminaries.  Justin Whitfield, who turned in a qualifying 100-meter dash time in Thursday's (May 29) first round, was unsuccessful his quest to reach nationals as the senior clocked a 10.55 time for 23rd place in what represented his final Red Wolves' appearance.  Sophomore Billy Ellis' debut in the NCAA Preliminaries was a rough one as the A-State hurdler tripped over a hurdle at the start of a 110-meter hurdle first-round heat and didn't finish.

Due to an injury suffered prior to competition, senior Kristina Aubert put forth a valiant try but unfortunately is physically unable for participation in the women's 5,000-meter run this Saturday and thus concludes her four-year career at A-State.

Freshman Roelf Pienaar punched his ticket to the upcoming 2014 NCAA Championships with his qualifying effort in Thursday's (May 29) men's long jump event.