Four Flashes advance to 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships


Kent State’s TJ Lawson jumps during the 60-meter hurdles, which he finished with a time of 8.36 seconds. Lawson placed fifth in the heptathlon at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas. 

Breanna Horn

Four athletes claimed a spot in the top-15 finishers as the Kent State track and field teams sent 16 student-athletes to the 2018 NCAA East Preliminary in Tampa, Florida, on Thursday looking for a spot at the NCAA Championships.

Riak Reese qualified for the men’s 100-meter dash with a time of 10.20 seconds, putting him in the top 12 runners of the day. He also set his personal best in the 200-meter dash at 20.39 seconds, just 0.04 seconds shy of qualifying for a second event.

Gabrielle Figueroa threw a strong 204 feet, 1 inch to secure her spot in the women’s hammer throw at Nationals. Coming to the tournament fresh off of setting her top two personal bests in April, her third attempt Saturday was right behind them. This will be Figueroa’s third time representing Kent State at the National Championships.

Craig Stevens Jr. will also be returning to Nationals for the men’s triple jump at 51 feet, 8.5 inches. Stevens Jr. was among only three athletes to jump 51 feet, 2 inches or further on all three attempts. He was a First Team All-American after the 2017 National Championships.

TJ Lawson will compete in the men’s decathlon after winning the MAC decathlon championship for two consecutive years. Lawson claimed top marks in all five events on the first day of the competition.

The 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships are held June 6-9 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

Breanna Horn is the health and wellness reporter. Contact her at [email protected]