WICHITA, Kan.- The Shocker Track & Field team will send 11 athletes to this week’s USA Junior and Senior Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, where they will compete against the nation’s best in an effort to qualify for one of several international teams this summer.
The USA Senior Championships serve as the qualifying meet for this summer’s World Track & Field Championships in Moscow, Russia, that runs from August 10-18. It will also be the qualifying meet for the Thorpe Cup, a Multi-event competition that pits the best from the United States and Germany. That meet will be held in Chula Vista, California, July 27-28.
The USA Junior Championships, for athletes under 20 years old, will be the qualifying meet for the Pan Am Junior Championships, held August 23-25 in Medellin, Columbia.
Here is a run-down of the Shockers competing this week:
Tanya Friesen, Senior (Buhler, KS/Buhler HS) – USA Sr. Championships – Heptathlon
---Friesen recently shattered the Wichita State and Missouri Valley Conference records in the Heptathlon when she placed 5th at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Her score of 5899 points is currently ranked No. 5 in the United States. A first team All-American in the Heptathlon and a second team All-American in the indoor Pentathlon, she also was the MVC Champion twice in 2013. She will compete Thursday and Friday in the Heptathlon.
Austin Bahner, Junior (Wichita, KS/Wichita Heights HS) – USA Sr. Championships – Decathlon
---Bahner broke his own school record at the NCAA Championships with a score of 7847 points, finishing 10th and earning second team All-American honors. He also earned second team honors during the indoor season in the Heptathlon as well as winning the MVC Indoor Heptathlon Championship. Bahner currently ranks 8th in the United States. He will compete in the Decathlon Friday and Saturday in a field that includes gold medalist and world record holder Ashton Eaton.
Zach Budda, Freshman (Augusta, KS/Augusta HS) – USA Jr. Championships – High Jump
---Budda had a terrific freshman campaign for Wichita State, as he placed 4th at the MVC Indoor Championships and 3rd at the MVC Outdoor Championships, earning All-MVC honors. His best outdoor jump of 6-11.75 was the best jump in the MVC this year. He ranks 6th amongst the Junior National field and will compete Friday at 6:20 p.m.
Tyson Holmes, Freshman (Overbrook, KS/Shawnee Heights HS) – USA Jr. Championships – Javelin
---Holmes culminated a terrific freshman season for the Shockers by placing 4th and advancing to the NCAA West Preliminaries. His best Javelin throw of the year, 213-5, was at the KT Woodman Classic in Wichita. He will enter the Junior Nationals ranked 7th in the Javelin and will compete Friday at noon.
Brady Johnson, Freshman (Plainville, KS/Plainville) – USA Jr. Championships – 10,000m
---After competing in the cross country season for the Shockers, Johnson redshirted the indoor and outdoor seasons, however, he ran a 32:09.19 10k at Butler County CC to qualify for Junior Nationals. He enters the meet ranked 14th and will compete Friday evening at 9 p.m.
Nikki Larch-Miller, Freshman (San Diego, CA/Torrey Pines HS) – USA Jr. Championships – Heptathlon
---Larch-Miller earned All-MVC honors with her third place finish in the Heptathlon at the MVC Outdoor Championships, and her score of 5000 points was 6th amongst USA Juniors. She will compete Wednesday and Thursday.
John Nicholas, Freshman (Towanda, KS/Circle HS) – USA Jr. Championships – Decathlon
---Although Nicholas redshirted his freshman year he stayed active competing in several multi-event competitions. His score of 6082 points at the Cowley County Multi ranks him 19th heading into the Junior Nationals. He will compete Wednesday and Thursday.
Ashley Petersen, Freshman (Allegany, NY/Allegany-Limestone HS) – US Jr. Championships – High Jump
---Petersen surprised many with her upset victory at the MVC Outdoor Championships this year and jumped a personal best of 5-10 at the Long Beach Invitational. She is ranked 5th going into the Junior National Championships and competes on Thursday at 11:15am.
Jenny Pinkston, Freshman (Overland Park, KS/Olathe East HS) – USA Jr. Championships – Heptathlon
---Pinkston earned All-MVC honors with her third place finish in the Pentathlon at the MVC Indoor Championships. Her best Heptathlon score this year is 4918 points, which ranks her 7th heading into this week’s competition. She will compete Wednesday and Thursday.
Chase Pote, Freshman (Andale, KS/Andale) – USA Jr. Championships – Javelin
---Pote had a solid debut as a Shocker this year, qualifying the Junior Nationals in his first meet of the season at Arkansas with a throw of 191-8. He went on to place 11th at the MVC Championships. He is ranked 11th heading into this week’s competition. He competes on Saturday at noon.
Taylor Thomas, Freshman (Canyon County, CA/Canyon County HS) – USA Jr. Championships – 400m hurdles
---Thomas ran her personal best of 60.76 to finish 5th at the MVC Outdoor Championships. She was also a regular member of the 4x400m relay team during the season. Her time ranks her 14th going into the meet. She runs the 400m hurdle prelims on Friday at 3:00pm and the finals on Saturday at 1:38pm.
The USA Championships will be broadcast Friday, June 21, 8-10 p.m. on ESPN2, Saturday, June 22, 4-5 p.m. on Universal Sports, 5-7 p.m. on NBC Sports Network, Sunday, June 23, 2-3 p.m. on Universal Sports, 3-4 p.m. on NBC Sports Network, 4-6 p.m. on NBC.
For complete information on the USA Championships, go to USATF.org.