Five Missouri athletes will compete in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships from Thursday to Saturday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. The Tigers will be competing across four events throughout the week, and each is in their first outdoor championships apperance.
"The five that we have here are young," coach Brett Halter said. "We’re not really focused on outcome as we are on the process. The goal is to be tested, continuing to hone the craft, work the process everyday and enjoy the test, the competition when you have those opportunities and the ultimate goal is to compete against the best at their best, and this is one of those opportunities.”
Freshman Skylar Ciccolini will be competing in the women's javelin throw at 6:45 p.m. Thursday.
“I feel really good. I’m really confident in my training plan and how my season has progressed so far," she said. "I’m gonna try to get a couple of big throws. It’s that point in the season and I feel pretty good.”
Ciccolini, who holds the school record with a throw of 184 feet, is ranked in the top five nationally at the conclusion of the regular season, giving her a chance to finish as an All-American.
"Getting All-American will be hard," she said. "My personal philosophy is ‘I can’t control what everybody else is going to throw,’ so if nine other girls have a really crazy awesome day, I can’t control that. My goal is to go out there and PR and see where that puts me in the standings.”
At 6:35 p.m. Friday, redshirt freshman Mitch Weber will begin MU's day in the men's discus. He will be followed closely by sophomore Georgi Nachev, who will compete in the triple jump beginning at 7:20 p.m. Both athletes are ranked in the top 20 nationally, with Weber ranked third.
Missouri's tournament will end with a 5:20 p.m. event Saturday in the women's triple jump with freshman Mara Hausler and sophomore Arianna Fisher. Hausler currently holds the school record with a jump of 44 feet, 6 inches, with Fisher trailing right behind with a jump of 44-5¼.
With five underclassmen competing in the championships this week and plenty more back at MU, Halter sees a bright future for the track and field program.
“When we look ahead at the totality of our program and the youth here and at home, we’re really excited," Halter said. "The staff has done some amazing recruiting. They’ve done some incredible coaching and leadership over the past few years. I’m really excited about what the future holds for the program.”
All of Missouri's events at the meet will be streamed live on ESPN3. Prime-time coverage, with highlights of and cutaways to field events, is at 5:30 p.m. Thursday on ESPN2, 7 p.m. Friday on ESPN2 and 5 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU.