Track and Field: Athletes qualify for Nationals


Five Panthers have secured their spots at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field National Championship.

Freshman Desmond Palmer, sophomore Evann Thompson and seniors Micah Murray, Carvin Nkanata and Brycen Spratling proved to be some of the United States’ best college athletes this weekend by registering top performances at the East Regional championship in Jacksonville, Fla.

Spratling was the first Panther to qualify for Nationals — which will take place in Eugene, Ore. — when he ran the 400-meter dash in 45.09 seconds, which gave him an overall first place finish. The second place finisher in the east, Vernon Norwood from Louisiana State University, ran almost a full tenth of a second behind Spratling. 

Palmer, one of Spratling’s teammates for the 4X400 relay, will join him on the West Coast to compete in the 400-meter hurdles. Palmer ran a 50.73 in the hurdles — a personal best for the freshman and fourth best at the meet.

Another teammate, Carvin Nkanata, will run the 200-meter dash after a 20.76 effort resulted in a 10th place finish.

Nkanata, Palmer and Spratling will each run a second event — the 4X400 relay — since they, along with Murray, finished the relay in 3:03.64, within 0.2 seconds of their lowest time this year. The team placed fourth in the event and their qualifying time secured a spot at Nationals.

The only Pitt woman to advance to Nationals, Thompson, competed in the 400-meter hurdles. Her time of 56.87 seconds wasn’t only a personal record, but a school record as well. The original mark, 57.45 seconds, was set during the same meet in 2006 by Julianna Reed. Thompson finished eighth in the event.

Nationals begin on Thursday, June 11, and last through Saturday, June 14.