(NEW ORLEANS) – The USTFCCCA pre-championship national rankings have been released and the Walsh women's track & field team finds itself back in the top 10 at No. 10. The new rankings factor in only entrants who have declared for the national championship. On the women's side, the Cavaliers will have five representatives participating in three events.
West Texas A&M go in as the favorites in the new No. 1 position. Grand Valley State dropped down from the top spot to No. 2. Pittsburg State and Western State both jumped up one spot to Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, while Adams State completes the top five in the rankings.
The athletes heading to nationals shouldn't be news to anyone as it includes the same five and same events as last year's team that finished tied for ninth. They include Kaitlyn Barber, Sarah Berger, Andra Lehotay, Tori Reeves, and Jetaiya Smith.
Berger, Lehotay, Reeves, and Smith qualified in the distance medley relay a year after posting the fourth-best time in Division II history at the national championships. Coincidentally, the three fastest times ahead of them happened to be in the same race as Walsh finished fourth in the national championships. This year the Cavs will enter the national championships this year with the fifth-fastest time behind Western State, Alaska Anchorage, Adams State, and Simon Fraser.
Berger and Lehotay will pull double-duty and race in the mile as well. Last year the duo finished third and fourth, respectively. This season Berger currently has the fourth-best time at 4:45.52 from a meet at SPIRE, while Lehotay's best time clocked in at 4:48.24 at Grand Valley State's Big Meet.
Barber returns once again in the pole vault after she finished 10th two years ago and third last year. She was the only Cavalier to hit an automatic mark this season and did so in her first meet with a height of 4.02 meters at the Kent State Golden Flash Gala back on December 8. It currently ranks as the third-best mark by anyone this season.
On the men's side, Marcus Myers also returns to the national stage after he finished seventh last year. This year he comes in with the eighth-best mark at 20.35 meters.
The national championships take place in Pittsburg, Kansas, on Friday and Saturday.