Track & Field Trio Heads to NCAA Championships
June 7, 2011
CHICAGO - Alanna Kovacs, Tim Nedow and Mary Cate Quiett will be looking to make their mark on the national scene when the 2011 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships get underway Wednesday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
Nedow is making a return trip to the NCAA Championships after finishing 22nd in the shot put last year. Kovacs is also a repeat qualifier after finishing 22nd in the javelin in 2010.
"Last year, I felt like I was the underdog," Kovacs said. "I was in awe of being there rather than being in the moment.
"This year, I was ranked No. 1 in the nation in the javelin for about a month, and I'm second right now. I had the fifth best throw at NCAA Regionals.
"I have a lot more confidence this time, and I feel like I'm the one being chased."
Kovacs led the nation after her personal-best javelin throw of 54.88 meters on April 16 during the DePaul Division I Invitational at Lane Stadium.
"That throw, it was completely effortless," said Kovacs, who will begin competing at 3:05 p.m. Thursday at Drake Stadium. "I've had people tell me my arm was like a rocket. The javelin flew perfectly."
It was only the fifth meet for Kovacs, a junior who wasn't able to begin full training until the advent of the outdoor season.
"I knew it was over 50 meters," Kovacs said. "When I was told it was 54.88, I was in shock. It was great that my family had come in from Canada to see that.
"I did put a lot of expectations on myself after that throw. I had to tell myself that it wasn't a fluke. I threw pretty well the next meet.
"After that, it wasn't so good. I'd throw well in warm-ups and bad in competition. Finally, I broke out of that pattern at the NCAA Regionals two weeks ago in Eugene, Ore."
Can she duplicate that DePaul record-setting effort on Thursday?
"I know it is definitely do-able again," Kovacs said. "I have complete confidence in my ability now."
The top mark in the javelin belongs to Marissa Tschida of Washington State who had a throw of 56.02 meters in the Pac-10 Outdoor Championships.
Nedow is the only BIG EAST Conference athlete competing in multiple events at the NCAA Championships.
At the NCAA West Preliminary in Oregon, Nedow finished 10th in the shot put with a distance of 17.80 meters and ninth in the discus with a toss of 55.01 meters.
While Kovacs enters as the No. 5 seed, Nedow begins the discus competition at 6 p.m. Wednesday seeded No.19. The junior from Ontario, Canada is seeded No. 22 in the shot-put event that begins at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.
Nedow is the BIG EAST Champion in both the indoor and outdoor shot put and holds the DePaul indoor shot-put record with a distance of 19.18 meters. Nedow's personal and season best in the outdoor shot put is 18.84 meters. His best discus throw was 55.46 meters
The top shot-put mark in the nation this season belongs to Mason Finley of Kansas with 19.84 meters back on April 20th at the Kansas Relays. The best discuss toss came from Julian Wruck of Texas Tech at 63.42 meters at the BIG 12 Outdoor Championships.
Quiett has this feeling she was destined to make her first trip to the NCAA Championships in the final year of her career.
That can happen when you qualify for the 800-meter run by three one-thousands of a second.
"It was incredible," Quiett said. "It wasn't like I leaned forward at the finish line and beat the other girl. She wasn't even there because we were in different heats.
"There's something bigger at play. Maybe I was meant to qualify."
The reaction to her accomplishment was a Quiett riot.
"My dad (Ed Quiett) and a bunch of my aunts and uncles were gathered around a computer in Indianapolis watching the NCAA West Preliminary," Quiett said. "They all went crazy when I qualified.
"I texted everyone when I made it. I called my roommate and track teammate Kim Boisvert to tell her---and she just screamed into the phone."
Quiett realizes she will be the biggest underdog heading into the 800-meter semifinals at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
"I know I have the slowest time going in," Quiett said. "But I wasn't in the top 20 going into Regionals, so rankings and stuff like that don't mean anything to me.
"I'm not the kind of person that closely follows the running world. I'm busy enough without trying to keep up with other people's times.
"That plays to my advantage. Some athletes get psyched out knowing how much faster everyone else is running."
Quiett took a Probability & Statistics class last quarter, and the close call in qualifying made the senior think about her teacher, Dr. Marshall Ash.
"I mean, what's the probablity of this happening?" she said. "Someday, I'm going to figure it out.
"My first NCAA Championships is pretty unreal. I've worked so hard for the last four years, and this was always my goal. Now, to finally reach that goal---it's something that doesn't happen very often."
Quiett's season best is 2:06.175 she ran at Regionals. The leader going in is Anne Kesselring of Oregon with a time of 2:02.44.
"I ran my best time this season at the last meet, so maybe I'm peaking at the right time," Quiett said. "I just have this feeling that I'm supposed to be at Nationals.
"I know I'm going to do something good."