PITTSBURG — Eight Pitt State track & field athletes – four men and four women – qualified to compete at the 2011 NCAA Division II Indoor National Championships later this month.
Seniors Ethan Hobbs (pole vault) and Kiara Jones (long jump, triple jump), sophomore Joe Stephens (heptathlon) and freshman Keenan Soles (long jump, triple jump) qualified for the Pitt State men, while the Gorilla women were represented by senior Gretchen Clark (high jump), juniors Emily Ballock (800m) and Heidi Smith (shot put) and sophomore Larissa Richards (shot put).
Jones qualified with the third-best mark in the triple jump, posting a best effort of 50-feet, 2.75 inches during the indoor season. The Pensacola, Fla., native who completed his prep career at Pittsburg High, also qualified for the long jump field with a mark of 23-8.75 – the 10th-best mark entering nationals.
Hobbs, from Anderson, Mo., qualified seventh in the pole vault at 16-0.75, while Stephens, from Paola, Kan., compiled 4,975 points in the heptathlon to qualify seventh as well.
Soles, a Pittsburg native, posted the ninth-best mark in the long jump (23-10.75) and the 12th-best mark in the triple jump (48-4.5) to reach the national field in his rookie collegiate season.
For the women, Clark, from Cozad, Neb., qualified seventh in the high jump (5-8.75), while Ballock, from Eudora, Kan., posted the ninth-best time in the 800m field at 2 minutes, 13.33 seconds.
Smith, from Elkhart, Kan., tossed the shot put implement 47-7.25 to qualify ninth in the field, while Richards, a Great Bend, Kan., native qualified 12th in the discipline at 46-4.75.