JACKSONVILLE, FL – David Rooney became the third McNeese State athlete to qualify for the 2012 NCAA track and field championship when he finished third in his heat in the 5,000 meter run at the east regional's on Saturday.
The Cowboy standout, who holds numerous school records, produced a 14:17.45 effort to finish third in the first of two heats in the event at the regional's. The top five runners in each heat plus the next two fastest times qualified for nationals.
Rooney joins javelin thrower Ben Chretien and discus thrower Ashlee Smith as McNeese entries into the national meet the first of June in Des Moines, IA.
Virginia Tech's William Mulherin of Virginia Tech won the heat but crossed the finish line only 24 seconds ahead of Rooney.
Cowboy head coach Brendon Gilroy said that Rooney, the outstanding athlete in the Southland Conference this past season, made a strong performance and held the lead for most of the race.
Two other McNeese athletes – shot putter Thomas Canchola and hurdler Mariah Georgetown – failed in their efforts to qualify for nationals.
Canchola tossed the shot 55-2 and finished 36th in the event while Georgetown was sixth in her heat in the quarterfinals of the 100 meter high hurdles with a clocking of 13.50.