Vandals send 12 to NCAA West Regionals - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Idaho Vandals - Track & Field

Vandals send 12 to NCAA West Regionals

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Jake Boling Jake Boling

University of Idaho Athletics

Idaho's men's track and field team sends 12 athletes to the NCAA West Region Championships this weekend at Eugene, Ore. Vandal athletes qualified for the regional meet in 15 events, but 2008 All-American Elvie Williams saw his senior season cut short by a knee injury sustained during his valiant, 20.5-point effort at the WAC Championships two weeks ago.

Nevertheless, Vandals should factor into plenty of events over the weekend. The top five finishers in each event qualify for the NCAA Championship meet, which will be held June 10-13 at Fayetteville, Ark.

Junior James Rogan enters the competition ranked fourth in the hammer throw, while sophomore Eugenio Mannucci has the region's fifth-best mark in the shot put. Sophomore Paul Dittmer will need to jump up one spot to earn his qualifying mark, as he ranks sixth in the region in the 110m hurdles, while seniors Matt Wauters and Evan Ruud sit at 12th and 14th, respectively, in the hammer throw and could surprise some people.

Idaho's pole vault trio of Mike Carpenter, Jeremy Klas and Lucas Pope are tied at 21st, while senior Kyle Hook is tied at 15th in the javelin, Beau Whitney is 16th in the discus, Josh Dalton is 24th in the 800m and Jake Boling is 25th in the hammer.

Last year, Idaho sent 13 men to the NCAA Regional meet and three of them advanced to the NCAA Championships. Eight of Idaho's qualifiers this weekend are repeat qualifiers, but none have advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships before. Wauters, a senior, is a two-time All-American from his indoor track and field exploits, but he has never qualified for the outdoor meet.

Since the Regional system was implemented in 2003, one Idaho athlete has won a men's West Region title. Jan Eitel, who was the 2003 Big West Track Athlete of the Year, won the regional title in the 3,000m steeplechase and went on to take 18th at the NCAA Championships in the event.

Last year at the meet, Marcus Mattox broke the Idaho school record in the hammer throw with a then-record toss of 212-3. Vandal athletes have broken an outdoor school record in 14 of the past 15 seasons, but have yet to take one down this season.

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