Courtesy: Spencer Farrin (Moscow, Idaho)
Mike Marshall took 12th in the javelin at the NCAA West Preliminary.
Marshall moves on
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 05/24/2012
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AUSTIN, Texas – University of Idaho thrower Mike Marshall has been making huge strides all season and on Thursday, the junior made the biggest of his career with a berth to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship final round.

Marshall, a former walk-on from Yakima, Wash., finished 12th in the men’s javelin at the NCAA Championships West Preliminary meet on Thursday with a toss of 222-11 (67.96m). He advances now to the NCAA Championships, which will be held on June 4-6, at Des Moines, Iowa.

“It’s amazing to see what he’s done this year,” Idaho head track and field coach Julie Taylor said. “It was just a marathon competition today, so I was really happy with how he handled all of that and how he performed.”

Vandal teammate Ugis Svazs, a sophomore from Kuldiga, Latvia, didn’t have as much luck on Thursday, as he took 14th in the same event with a throw of 216-5 (65.96m) to end his season. The top 12 finishers in each event advance to the NCAA final round.

Heartache found senior Erica Digby in the women’s 1500m, too. She ran a 4:30.46 to take seventh in her heat and give her the 24th-fastest overall time in the competition, but based on automatic advancement from other heats, she finished 25th and barely missed moving on to the national quarterfinal.

“Erica just had such a wonderful year,” Taylor said. “She competed so well and did so much for us at conference, so it was wonderful to see her run well. It was so close, and she just barely missed out.”

Digby ended her Vandal career on a high note as the first Vandal woman to win both the 1500m and 5000m at a single conference championship meet. In the 2012 indoor and outdoor seasons alone, Digby was a four-time First-Team All-WAC honoree, two-time WAC champion and an NCAA qualifier for the first time in her career.

In his first career NCAA action, freshman Ben Ayesu-Attah ran the second-fastest time of his career, a 47.61, and finished 31st overall. While his Idaho season is over, the first-year Vandal has a qualifying time for the IAAF World Junior Championships and still has the Canadian Championships ahead of him.

Also in their first career national meet appearances, sophomore Andrey Levkiv finished 32nd in the shot put with a toss of 55-5.75 (16.91m), while junior Ellen Rouse finished 34th in the women’s javelin throw at 136-6 (41.62m).

“I thought all of our young kids did well today,” Taylor said. “Getting some good experience at this meet is very good for them and will be beneficial hopefully next year when they’re back here in the same situation.”

Up for Idaho on Friday are junior Kristine Leonard in the women’s discus throw, sophomore Kyle Rothwell in the men’s hammer throw, sophomore Alycia Butterworth in the women’s 3000m steeplechase and senior Andrew Blaser in the men’s 110m hurdles.
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