The University of Oklahoma javelin throwers ruled the day once again for the Sooners on Thursday, day one of the NCAA West Prelims, as four javelin throwers wearing Oklahoma uniforms earned bids to the NCAA Finals.
Elizabeth Herrs and Avione Allgood came into this weekend ranked first and second, respectively, in the country in the event. Allgood, who placed second at last year’s meet, finished third on Thursday with a throw of 169-05 (51.64m) while Herrs placed sixth after a throw of 167-07 (51.07m). Both throwers passed on their final three throws as a result of performing well enough in their first three throws to secure a spot in June’s finals.
“Being good is not just about throwing far. It is about throwing far and being consistent,” said Sooner head coach Jim VanHootegem. “For Liz and Avione to come back from big performances at the Big 12 Championships and secure a place in the next meet without having to take all six throws, it was really big.”
Senior Ashley Kowalewski earned her first ever trip to the NCAA Championships, finishing 12th with a personal best throw of 156-04 (47.66m). Kowalewski, who now sits sixth in program history, came into Thursday's meet ranked 37th.
“I cannot say enough about Ashley,” VanHootegem explained. “We talked about her at the Big 12 meet and the attitude that she had there. We knew she was devastated, but she stayed positive and encouraged her teammates. It is that kind of attitude that I think carried over to here.
“I told the team that everybody has a chance at this meet and she came out and proved it.”
On the men’s side, Garrett Snow locked up a spot in the finals after finishing second with a throw of 227-4 (69.30m). Tyler Renton finished 16th (208-2, 63,44m), just four spots outside of the necessary qualifying position of 12th. T.J. Noonan also competed in the event, finishing 44th with a throw of 186-8 (56.91m).
“Garrett threw really well at the Big 12 Championships and then came out here and took care of business,” VanHootegem said. “We feel really good about him going forward and he has done a great job.”
Molly Williams had an impressive performance on the track on Thursday, finishing fourth in the first round of prelims with a personal best time of 4:21.77. The time places her fourth in Oklahoma program history and advances her to Saturday’s quarterfinals, which are scheduled to take place at 6:45 p.m.
“Molly was really a highlight today,” VanHootegem said. “She is another person who is always positive. She wants to do well and that was a big PR for her. She is a senior who is getting the most out of everything. We are so glad to have her.”
Competition resumes Friday at 10 a.m. with Charles Nguyen participating in the men’s hammer throw. Other Sooner competitors Friday will be Alexandra Morgan (discus), Garrison LeRock (high jump), Waymon Storey, Jr. (200), Brandon Doughty and Alex Deir (3,000-meter steeplechase).