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Four Lopers qualify for NCAA Division II track championships
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Four Lopers qualify for NCAA Division II track championships

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Tiara Schmidt

McCook senior Tiara Schmidt is one of four UNK track and field athletes who have qualified for the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships March 11-13 in Birmingham, Ala.

KEARNEY — Senior Tiara Schmidt, junior Seth Simonson, sophomore Brayden Sorensen and redshirt freshman Wes Ferguson have qualified for the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships March 11-13 in Birmingham, Ala.

Due to the on-going pandemic, the field is being reduced by 25 percent, from 270 to 202 participants.

Schmidt ranks sixth in the weight throw with a school-record 63 feet, 1 1/2 inches. The national leader is Wayne State junior McKenzie Schnell (67-9 3/4).

Schmidt is a three-time All-American, having placed 11th in the shot at the 2019 NCAA outdoor meet while receiving USTFCCCA All-American honors last indoor season in both the weight throw and shot after the indoor and outdoor meets were canceled due to COVID.

Simonson, Sorensen and Ferguson are first-time qualifiers.

Simonson ranks eighth in the 800-meter run (1:50.47) with Ferguson 12th (1:50.60). Sorensen is second in the high jump (7-0 1/2).

Just outside the qualifying group were senior Mackenzie Puckett, 13th in the triple jump, and redshirt sophomore Alex Goracke, 16th in the weight throw. Schmidt narrowly missed qualifying in the shot put as she is 16th on the chart.

Puckett joined Schmidt, Simonson, Sorensen and Ferguson on the USTFCCCA All-Central Region team. To earn All-Region honors, a student-athlete must be one of the top five individuals in their event in their respective region.

The Loper outdoor season starts March 26 at Emporia State.

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