The Milligan College track and field program is sending six athletes to compete in the 2012 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in Marion, Ind. The event is slated to begin today and will run through Saturday.
“This is a quality crew so we’re excited to see how things play out,” Head Coach Chris Layne said. “The primary focus all year long is to prepare so we can maximize our championships.”
Senior Tanner Payne will open competition for the Buffaloes on Thursday in the throws. Payne holds a national ranking of 13th in the hammer throw.
The senior, who became the first Milligan thrower to earn All- American honors during the indoor season, recorded a throw of 56.49-meters at Western Carolina.
Payne is also ranked 37th in the discus with his AAC Championship toss of 46.80-meters. The discus is set for 1 o’clock today, while the hammer is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m.
Fitzroy Harris will be the first Buffalo to hit the track as he will compete in Thursday’s 400-meter dash at 3:10 p.m.
Harris had a strong showing in his last outing as he bettered his mark in the event. At Clemson, Harris recorded a school record time of 47.70 in the 400-meter dash. That time ranks Harris 11th nationally.
On Friday, Gillian Giffen will compete in the women’s 5K at 6:40 p.m. The multi-time AAC Runner of the year is ranked 30th in the 5K with a mark of 17:46.60 from the prestigious Sea Ray Relays at the University of Tennessee.
A trio of Buffaloes will compete in Saturday’s early morning marathon.
Junior Danielle Mitchell maintains a ranking of eighth in the marathon with a mark of 1:24:52 at the Tom King Half Marathon in Nashville, earlier in the season.
That mark was a new personal best and a new Milligan school record, while teammate Janey Robinson is also qualified for nationals in the marathon in the Tom King Half Marathon.
On the men’s side, Austin Ellis is ranked 25th in the event. Ellis, a multi-time AAC Runner of the year and NAIA All-American, qualified with a time of 1:12.02 at the Tim King Marathon.
Nathan Meeuwenberg was also qualified for the marathon, but will be unable to compete due to injury.
The Buffaloes are coming off an outdoor season that saw them capture their second straight AAC title.