|Midles gives Idaho seven qualifiers|
AUSTIN, Texas - Sophomore Gabby Midles capped off the University of Idaho's biggest NCAA qualifying group in seven years on Saturday with a ninth-place finish in the hammer throw at the NCAA West Preliminary.
Midles, who broke the school record and won the Western Athletic Conference women's title in the hammer two weeks ago, added another accolade to her young career with a throw of 188-6 (57.46m) to finish ninth and give Idaho the first women's hammer throw NCAA qualifier in school history.
Idaho will be represented by seven athletes at the NCAA Outdoor Championship meet in two weeks at Eugene, Ore. Midles, senior Mykael Bothum (shot put) and junior Ulrike Hartz (heptathlon) will compete on the women's side, while sophomore Jeremy Klas (pole vault), junior Eugenio Mannucci (shot put), senior James Rogan (hammer), and senior Beau Whitney (hammer) will compete for the men.
Senior Beau Whitney finished 33rd in the men's discus with a throw of 161-5 (49.19m) in other Idaho action on the day. Senior Allix Lee-Painter was scheduled to run in the women's 5,000m, but pulled out of the event because of fatigue after running the 3,000m steeplechase Friday night and performing the very difficult steeplechase, 5000m, 10,000m distance triple at the WAC Championships.
Of the team's seven NCAA qualifiers, three have been to previous NCAA Championship meets, two were indoor All-Americans and just three are seniors.
Midles is the first Idaho women's sophomore NCAA qualifier since Mylissa Coleman in the javelin in 1983 and the youngest since Jackie Ross qualified in the triple jump in 1990 as a freshman. Klas is the first Vandal sophomore to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championship meet since Russ Winger in 2006 in the shot put and discus.
The NCAA Championships run June 9-12 at Eugene, Ore. Idaho has already competed at Hayward Field once this year at the Oregon Relays on April 30.