TULSA, Okla. – The Oral Roberts track and field teams will send four student-athletes to the NCAA Preliminary Rounds in Austin, Texas, it was announced Thursday. ORU will be represented in the men's triple jump (Jaden Purnell), men's 200m dash (D'Khari Hicks, Omeiza Akerele), men's 400m dash (Akerele) and women's long jump (Mercy Abire).
The lone female competitor for the Golden Eagles in her freshman season, Abire is tied for 36th in the nation in the long jump entering the postseason competition. She jumped a season best 6.13m (20-1.5) in a fourth place finish at the John Jacobs Invitational April 22.
Purnell's season best mark of 15.26m (50-0.75) came in a third-place finish at the Baylor Invitational. Purnell won the long jump at the Tulsa Duels and has not finished outside the top five in either the triple jump or long jump during the outdoor season.
Akerele, who will represent the Golden Eagles in both the 200m and 400m dash events, won both events at the recent Summit League championships, running his best times (20.92, 46.87) of the season in both races. He will enter the preliminary meet 40th in the 200m dash and 43rd in the 400m dash.
Hicks set the Summit League meet record in the preliminaries of the 200m dash, running a career best 20.76, the 26th best time in the west region this season.
Only one of the four qualifiers (Hicks) is a senior, and the Golden Eagles also redshirted five 2016 NCAA qualifiers who will return to the mix as well next year.
The NCAA Preliminary Rounds are schedules for May 25-27 at the University of Texas in Austin. Qualifiers out of the preliminary rounds will compete at the NCAA Championships June 7-10 in Eugene, Oregon. More information about the NCAA Preliminary Rounds can be found on the Texas Sports Website.
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