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Beekman, Boyal, Iriafen, Tjerrild Advance to NCAA Championship Prelims

Beekman, Boyal, Iriafen, Tjerrild Advance to NCAA Championship Prelims

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Brad Beekman, Swarnjit Boyal, Abi Iriafen and Brooke Tjerrild will represent Cal Poly in the Preliminary Round of the NCAA Track & Field Championships, as the four Mustangs have advanced to the West Regional meet held at Sacramento State from May 24-26.

Top 12 finishers in each event at Hornet Stadium will join the Top 12 simultaneously qualifying from the East Region (hosted by South Florida in Tampa) in advancing to the National Finals, at Oregon from June 6-9.

FloTrack will broadcast the action online. Each of the Mustangs headed to the prelims are listed below:

4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 24
Men's Pole Vault (NCAA First Round)
Brad Beekman, Sr.

Beekman made his second consecutive all-conference team on May 12, taking second place at the Big West Championships with a clearance of 17 feet.

Beekman also was the second-place pole-vaulter at five meets during the regular season: at the Cal Opener in Berkeley on March 3, the Cal Poly #ShareSLO Invitational March 24, Cal State Fullerton's Titan Challenge March 31, UCLA's Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational April 14, and the UC Santa Barbara dual April 28.

He had four consecutive jumps of at least 16' from March to April — including 16' 5.5" at the Cal Poly Invite.

An Agribusiness major from Sanger, Beekman also picked up three first-place finishes as a junior after redshirting in 2016. His PR of 17' 0" ranks 33rd regionally.

South Dakota sophomore Chris Nilsen owns the top seed at 19' 2.75", No. 6 in the world for 2018; No. 1 in the U.S.

9 p.m. Thursday, May 24Men's 10,000 Meters (NCAA Semifinal)
8:05 p.m. Saturday, May 26Men's 5,000 Meters (NCAA Semifinal)
Swarnjit Boyal, Sr.

Boyal, selected as the Big West Conference Men's Track Athlete of the Year on May 16, came in second place in the Elite Invitational section of the 10,000m event at the Stanford Invitational on March 30, with a season-best time of 29:05.54.

His performance ranks No. 13 regionally and No. 22 nationally.

The Big West's first back-to-back champion for the 10,000 since Utah State's Toby Conley in 1995 & 1996, Boyal moved to No. 5 in school history for the distance, which garnered him the conference's Track Athlete of the Week award on April 3.

He won this year's conference title in 33:57.69 on May 11, and less than 24 hours later added the 5,000-meter crown at 14:44.24, becoming the Big West's first student-athlete since former Olympic Trials marathon qualifier Mustang Chris Frias in 2013 to win both the 5,000m and 10,000m titles the same year (and the conference's 10th to do so since 1970).

Boyal's season-best 5,000m time, 14:01.74, which finished 17th among collegians in the Elite Invitational section at the Mt. SAC Relays April 20, led the conference for the duration of the 2018 season. His career-best 14:01.48 ranks sixth in program history.

A Civil and Environmental Engineering major from Yuba City, Boyal is ranked 38th in the shorter of the two distances.

Northern Arizona sophomore Tyler Day comes in as the top seed in the 10,000m, at 28:04.44, while an NAU teammate, senior Andy Trouard, leads the 5,000m entrants at 13:21.07.

4:30 p.m. Friday, May 25
Women's Pole Vault (NCAA First Round)
Brooke Tjerrild, Fr.

Tjerrild won the Big West championship on May 11, clearing 13 feet, 1.5 inches to win a jump-off against CSUN senior Gardenia Centanaro.

Her top clearance of the season, 13' 7.25" from the Cal Poly Invitational on March 24, was three-quarters of an inch off the school record by 1999 NCAA champion Paula Serrano.

The height of 13' 7.25" ranks 23rd west of the Mississippi River-dividing line and No. 41 nationally.

Among freshmen, she ranks No. 1 in the region and No. 4 in the nation.

Selected as Big West Women's Field Athlete of Week on March 27 and March 6, Tjerrild also collected wins this season at the Cal Opener, the UCSB Tri-Meet, Titan Challenge and UCSB dual meet. Additionally, she added a second-place finish at UCLA, as well as a seventh-place overall 13' 3.5" (third among collegians) in the Elite section at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 21.

A Kinesiology major from Fresno, Tjerrild took second place at the 2017 CIF State Championships (at 13' 6") for Clovis North High School before earning fifth at the USATF Junior Championships (12' 3.5"), also hosted in Sacramento.

Arkansas junior Alexis Jacobus heads to the prelims with the No. 1 seed at 15' 3", 13th in the world this season.

4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 26
Women's Triple Jump (NCAA First Round)
Abi Iriafen, So.

Iriafen won the conference championship at Matador Stadium with a mark of 41 feet, 7.75 inches on her first attempt, and exactly matched her performance on her fourth attempt.

Her PR of 41' 8.5" on April 28 dominated at the Blue-Green Rivalry regular-season finale vs. the Gauchos, topping the rest of the field by 1-foot-7.

Iriafen ranks 34th west of the Mississippi heading to Sacramento, in addition to No. 4 in school history. She's No. 15 nationally among sophomores, including No. 7 regionally.

Oregon junior Chaquinn Cook comes in seeded No. 1 with a mark of 45' 7", sixth in the U.S. for 2018.

A Political Science major from Rancho Cucamonga, Iriafen also earned the win at the Cal Opener this season, in addition to taking second at both the UCSB Tri-Meet and Titan Challenge, as well as third at the #ShareSLO Invitational.