UB sends three track and field athletes to NCAA Championships
Jones, Billian, Morgan to compete for All-American honors
Three members of the Buffalo track and field team have qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships, set to take place from June 10-12 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
Senior Jonathan Jones and juniors Mike Morgan and Ryan Billian all qualified after impressive Mid-American Conference Championships performances. This will be Jones', an All-American shot-putter, third time at the NCAA championships. He finished in fourth place as a sophomore and in 11th place as a junior last season. He is expected to begin the shot-put competition around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Billian was an All-American in the long jump last year, but in 2015 he made his mark in the 100-meter dash. At this years’ MAC Championships, the Long Island native set a school record with a time of 10.35. He then finished ninth at the NCAA East Preliminaries, which advanced the top 12 times to nationals.
Billian is set to race around 8:16 p.m. on Wednesday in the first heat of the race. If he finishes in the top-2, Billian will automatically advance to compete to be a First-Team All-American. That race is expected to take place on Friday night.
This is Morgan’s second time at nationals, but it will be the first time competing uninjured. Last year, Morgan suffered a stress fracture in his right foot and was forced to withdraw from the competition after one event. The decathlete enters with the 12th-best competitor out of 24 opponents in the event. The top-8 athletes will earn First-Team All-American nod, while competitors who finish 9-12 will be Second-Team All-Americans.
Morgan will compete in all of the decathlon events over the course of two days, beginning on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. and continuing on to Thursday, beginning at 1 p.m.
Jordan Grossman is the senior sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org