Flames track qualifies for two NAIA championships
by From Lee Sports Information
Apr 15, 2013 | 585 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lee University’s Mike Walker clears the water obstacle during the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2013 Sea Ray Relays, in Knoxville.  Lee University photo
Lee University’s Mike Walker clears the water obstacle during the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2013 Sea Ray Relays, in Knoxville. Lee University photo
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KNOXVILLE — The Lee University track teams qualified for the NAIA Track and Field Championships in two events and improved their standing in a third at the 2013 Sea Ray Relays.

The three-day event was held at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium on the campus of the University of Tennessee and was comprised of several NCAA Division I programs, including the Big Ten Conference and Mid-American Conference.

Mike Walker set a new school record and qualified for the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Jeff Jackson of Ohio State was the winner at 9:01.63 and Walker finished eighth in the race with a time of 9:22.47, the seventh-fastest time in the NAIA this season.

Walker’s time eclipsed the “B” standard of 9:29, but missed the “A” standard of 9:20 for NAIA qualification. He also rewrote the Lee record book by beating Chad Dean’s mark of 9:44.

“This was Walker’s first steeplechase and first encounter with going over a water barrier,” said Lee head coach Caleb Morgan. “He started off conservatively and moved comfortably through the race for the final kilometer. We look forward to him gaining more confidence before nationals.”

Emmanuel Kipchumba and Adam Gullette both ran personal bests in the 800-meter run with times of 1:55.7 and 1:58.9, respectively. Kipchumba continues to close in on the NAIA qualifier of 1:54.00.

Gullette, Kipchumba, Elliot and Walker all performed double duty and came back in the 4x800-meter relay on Saturday. They set a new school record of 7:52.9 and placed seventh. The time was three seconds off the NAIA qualifier.

“The 4x8 ran well,” added Morgan. “We have our sights set on racing the event again with fresh legs and hitting the qualifying mark.”

Lamar Thompson jumped a new school record in the long jump with a mark of 6.83 meters. This placed him 10th.

Cayce Bryan improved upon her qualifying mark from two weeks ago with a new school record for the outdoor 800-meter run. Bryan placed 12th with a time of 2:13.52, holding her at No. 4 in the NAIA rankings. Storyie Miller placed 40th with a time of 2:22.11.

Ashley Matthews and Alexis Hewitt both ran personal bests in the 5,000-meter run with times of 18:56.42 and 19:45.20, respectively.

Jessica Childers ran a time of 12:38.65 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Bryan, Miller and Childers were joined by Emily Arnesen in the 4x800-meter relay. The Lady Flames ran a national qualifying mark of 9:30 and placed eighth. The Lady Flames are currently seeded No. 2 in the NAIA rankings for the 4x800-meter relay.

“We had seven personal bests today and everyone keeps improving as we progress through the season,” said Lee head coach Caleb Morgan. “We look forward to the remaining six weeks of racing we have left.”

Lee’s next event will be the Southern States Athletic Conference Championships in Rome, Ga., April 26-27.