Salisbury qualifies for three finals races in first day of NCAA championships

Salisbury qualifies for three finals races in first day of NCAA championships

CANTON, N.Y. – The No. 7 Salisbury University men's track & field team began the 2015 NCAA Division III outdoor track & field championships on Thursday with four preliminary races. The team came out of the first day of competition qualifying for the finals in three of the events.

The Sea Gulls got off to a good start on the day in the 4x100-meter relay, with senior Tyler Austin, junior Luke Campbell, and freshmen Jerel Madison and Zach Schmelz competing in the first heat of two preliminary races. The Sea Gulls finished fifth in the heat with a time of 41.26 seconds; the race was tight, as all nine teams in the heat finished within one second of one another.

The time was good for seventh in the preliminary round, qualifying the Sea Gulls for the finals race on Saturday.

Campbell then proceeded to run the best time in the 400-meter hurdles preliminary races, winning his heat by more than 1.5 seconds with a time of 51.27 seconds. He had a commanding lead down the final stretch to qualify for the finals.

Senior Devon Hopkins also qualified for the finals in the 400 hurdles, as he ran in the third heat of the preliminary races. Hopkins finished third in his heat and ninth in the preliminary round with a time of 53.21 seconds.

The Sea Gulls ended the day with the 4x400-meter relay, as Campbell, Hopkins, and Schmelz teamed with freshman Eric Halton to qualify in Salisbury's second relay event. The unit finished second in its heat, behind University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for first by only .01 second, with a time of 3:13.89. The time was the sixth best of the preliminary races.

Austin's second event of the day was the 200-meter dash. He placed 20th in the event with a time of 21.85 seconds.

The second day of the championships will continue on Friday, May 22, as Campbell will race in the 110-meter hurdles preliminary races and Austin will compete in the 100-meter dash preliminaries. Campbell is set to begin the day at 5:30 p.m.