Babcock, Taiwo Headed For NCAA Indoors
March 4, 2013
SEATTLE - Two Husky seniors who have battled through more than their share of injury and adversity throughout their college careers will be rewarded for their grit with spots at this weekend's NCAA Indoor Championships, as the fields were announced this evening on NCAA.com. Jeremy Taiwo will compete in the high jump, and Christine Babcock made the final 16 in the mile run.
The pair will be off to Fayetteville, Ark. to compete this weekend at the Randal Tyson Track, hosted by the University of Arkansas. Babcock will run in the mile semifinal on Friday evening at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time. If she advances to the final, she'll run again on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. Taiwo will compete in the high jump on Saturday beginning at 1:30 p.m.
The top-16 athletes in each event qualified for NCAAs. Babcock's inclusion was a bit of a surprise, as she ranked 24th after the weekend, but nine athletes ahead of her scratched out of the mile and she moved right up into the field. The Irvine, Calif. native will be making her first appearance at NCAA Indoors since her freshman season in 2009. She ran a personal-best time of 4:37.57 in the mile this year, third-fastest in school history.
Taiwo owns the best heptathlon score in the NCAA this season, but he hurt his hamstring in the long jump at the MPSF Championships two weeks ago, and because of that the decision was made to limit him to the high jump this weekend. Taiwo's high jump of 7-4 ½ set in the midst of his NCAA-best heptathlon score was enough to qualify separately in the high jump as well.
It was also announced today by the USTFCCCA that Taiwo was the winner of the West Region Men's Field Athlete of the Year, his first such honor. Regional honors are voted on by the head coaches in each region. Taiwo's 6,156 point heptathlon score in early February ranked him No. 3 in NCAA history and No. 7 in U.S. history and earned him USA Track & Field Athlete of the Week honors.
While Babcock making the NCAA cut was a pleasant surprise for the Huskies, the selections were particularly harsh for junior Megan Goethals. The multiple All-American was 18th in the 5,000-meters and 17th in the 3,000-meters after this past weekend. Only one athlete scratched out of the 5k, and no women withdrew from the 3k, leaving Goethals as the last person to be cut from both events.