JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Albert Fournette earned a return trip to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships and Jasmine Manuel punched her ticket for her first trip on Saturday as the Ragin’ Cajuns track and field team wrapped up NCAA East Preliminary Rounds action at Hodges Stadium on the University of North Florida campus.
Both Fournette (shot put) and Manuel (triple jump) placed sixth in their respective events, finishing amongst the group of 12 that advanced to the national finals being held in Des Moines, Iowa at Drake Stadium June 6-9.
“Albert (Fournette) and Jasmine (Manuel) did exactly what they needed to do to get through to nationals,” head coach Lon Badeaux said. “These regional meets can be tough sometimes and anything can happen as we saw with Chris (Roy), but they did very well.”
Fournette threw 60-plus feet in each of his first three attempts on Saturday, advancing him to the round of 16 for three more attempts. His top throw of 19.08m/62-7 ¼ was strong enough to keep him in the Top 12 when the final throw was recorded.
The New Orleans native finished within a foot of his school outdoor record toss of 19.39m/63-7 ½ set at the Texas Relays in March. Fournette’s qualifying mark was his seventh distance of 60-plus feet in a meet this season.
The reigning Sun Belt Conference indoor and outdoor champion, Fournette will return to Des Moines for the second straight season. Last year, Fournette placed 10th out of 46 competitors with a throw of 18.07m/59-3 at the NCAA East Preliminaries in Bloomington, Ind., which advanced him to the championship round.
Fournette’s bid for a national championship and All-American status will take place on Saturday, June 9 at 10 a.m. (CDT).
Manuel, a first team All-American in the indoor campaign, will get her shot at outdoor All-American status in the triple jump after she recorded a qualifying mark of 13.28m/43-7. The mark, reached in her third attempt, advanced her to the round of 16 for three more attempts and kept her in the Top 12 when the event ended.
The Hammond native narrowly missed tying her school outdoor record of 13.29m/43-7 ¼ set at the Texas Relays in March. She easily outdistanced her 2011 East Preliminaries leap of 12.53m/41-1 ½ and as a result has her first trip to outdoor nationals.
Saturday’s performance gives Manuel a triple jump leap of 40-plus feet in each outdoor showing this season, and her third above 13 meters (42-8). Adding in her indoor season performances, Manuel has sailed above 40 feet eight times in 2012.
Manuel’s bid for a national championship and All-American status will take place on Saturday, June 9 at 10 a.m. (CDT).
Breaux Bridge native Chris Roy’s bid for his first trip to the national finals in the pole vault came up short as his top clearance of 5.17m/16-11 ½ landed him 25th and outside of the Top 12. Roy, a senior, closed out his collegiate career on Saturday.
The Cajuns other hopeful in the pole vault was junior transfer Michael Vani. The University of South Florida transfer’s top clearance was 5.02m/16-5 ½ which placed him 35th.
Freshman Sander Maes wrapped up his collegiate debut season taking part in the high jump of the NCAA East Preliminaries and got off to a great start clearing the first two heights of 2.02m/6-7 ½ and 2.07m/6-9 ½. Maes advancement stopped there as he couldn’t clear 2.12m/6-11 ½ and finished 25th in the event.
The Cajuns contingent returns home on Sunday, then Fournette and Manuel will start preparations for their trek to Des Moines.
MEN’S PERFORMANCE LIST
Chris Roy (25) 5.17m/16-11 ½
Michael Vani (35) 5.02m/16-5 ½
Sander Maes (T-25) 2.07m/6-9 ½
Albert Fournette (6) 19.08m/62-7 ¼
WOMEN’S PERFORMANCE LIST
Jasmine Manuel (6) 13.28m/43-7