Kearney, Neb. – Junior high jumper Emily Everitt and sophomore thrower Jacob Bartling led the Nebraska-Kearney track and field team at the Loper Last Chance meet Sunday night at Kearney High. This was likely the nation’s final Last Chance meet as student-athletes tried this weekend to qualify for their respective national championship or improve their national standing one last time. Final times and marks from the regular season were due by midnight. A two-time indoor All-American, Everitt (O’Neill) came into the weekend with a season-best effort of 5-6, a height that won’t be good enough to reach the NCAA Championships May 25-27 in Bradenton Fla. Everitt, however, erased any doubt by clearing 5-8 in her second attempt to win and move into a 14th place tie nationally. The effort also moves her up to fourth in school history. South Dakota senior Kelsey Fitzgerald ends her lone track season with a season-best effort of 5-7; she went 5-4.25 today.
Bartling (Elm Creek) already was a likely qualifier in the discus as he came in with a season-best toss of 168-8 to rank 19th. He improved his chances a bit by having a throw of 171-10, good for a second place finish and the eighth best heave in Loper lore. Soon after, Bartling won the shot put with a career-best effort of 57-7. He came into today ranked 30th (54-4.75) but his winning throw came on his sixth and final attempt and rockets him to 10th nationally. It also ranks fifth on UNK’s top 10 list. Next, Omaha sophomore Thomas Stopak won the long jump with the third best leap (24-5.50) in school history. However, the wind gauge read 4.9, just over the 4.0 needed to be a national qualifying mark. In the men’s pole vault, Fairfield junior Bailey Stapleman won (16-5.50) with Cairo sophomore Grant Myers second with a career-best 15-9.75.
The height ranks seventh best in school history but won’t be enough to send him to Florida. Finally, cracking the UNK all-time top 10 in the hammer was York sophomore Andrew Heine. He came in third with a toss of 179-0, making him a provisional qualifier for the first time. Five other women besides Everitt had a career-best performance on Sunday. Their effort either put them on the UNK top 10 list for the first time, moved them up a few spots on the top 10 and/or made them a provisional qualifier. They five some consisted of Colorado junior Frankie Noeldner (long jump/18-10.25), Columbus junior Kylee Study (pole vault/11-10.5), Aurora sophomore Beth Wilson (javelin/127-3), Columbus freshman Cassidy Dyhrkopp (triple jump/37-8.75) and Hastings freshman Ashley Petr (discus/155-5). Finally, Utica junior Mackenzie Crowder won the shot with a solid toss of 46-5.25. The list of qualifier for the NCAA meet will be released Tuesday afternoon.