Three Tiger Athletes Heading to NCAA Track Championships
COLUMBIA - Mizzou track and field athletes Lars Rise, Brian Hancock and Leslie Farmer have qualified for the final round of the NCAA Championships which will begin on Wednesday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
Rise comes into the week as one of the favorites in the men's decathlon as he currently sits at fourth nationally with a season-best score of 7,808 points, which he set en-route to claiming the Big 12 title in the event back in May. That score is the second-best point total ever compiled by a Mizzou decathlete and is the best since 2006. Rise is a five-time All-American already in the combined events this year and will look to add to that total this weekend.
Coming into the week, Rise ranks just 113 points back of first place Michael Morrison of Cal, who holds the nation's best mark in the event at 7,921 points. He set that back on April 6 at the Texas Relays - in fact four of the nation's top 10 marks in the decathlon were set at this year's Texas Relays. Rise finished second in the heptathlon at the NCAA Indoor Championships earlier this season, finishing behind on Miller Moss of Clemson, who currently ranks seventh in the decathlon heading into the NCAA Championships. Rise is better in the decathlon than the heptathlon due to the increased amount of throwing events, so he should be one of the favorites heading into the meet this week.
The decathlon will begin at noon on Wednesday with the running of the 100m dash. The two-day event will resume on Thursday at noon with the 110m hurdles and the event will conclude that night with the running of the 1,500m run at 8:40 p.m.
Hancock is making his third trip to the NCAA Championships in the event this season for the men's pole vault. He is a four-time All-American and will look for a fifth this week. Coming into the event, he is ranked 11th nationally with a season-best clearance of 5.36m (17-7) which he cleared at the Tom Botts Invitational earlier this season. Scott Roth of Washington leads the nation in the event heading into the championships with a top mark of 5.72m (18-9 ¼).
Hancock finished 11th nationally at the 2011 Indoor National Championships earlier this season and will look to improve upon that finish this week. He is just four centimeters out of ranking among the top five in the event nationally, which proves that with a big vault this week, Hancock could shake things up in the event. The men's pole vault final will be contested on Wednesday at 5:35 p.m.
Farmer is making her first ever trip to the NCAA Championship final round as she has been one of the Tigers' standout performers all year in the 400m hurdles. She owns a season-best time of 58.22, which is a school record in the event, and posted a time of 58.25 at the NCAA Championship preliminary round to earn a spot at the final round this week. Farmer will be up against plenty of stiff competition this week, but it appears that she is up to the task. Despite ranking 31st nationally, Farmer took ninth overall at the NCAA preliminary round in Eugene last month and will look for a similar performance this week as she looks to claim her first career All-America honors. Should she do so, she would be the Tigers' first ever All-American in the 400m hurdles on the women's side.
Farmer will compete in the semifinals of the 400m hurdles at 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday.