Esvelt Takes Silver in 10k, NCAA Track Finals Are Saturday
SPU's Annika Esvelt took home the silver medal in the 10,000 meters on Thursday night in Kansas.
SPU's Annika Esvelt took home the silver medal in the 10,000 meters on Thursday night in Kansas.

Friday, May 24, 2024
by Evan O'Kelly, Assistant Commissioner For Communications

EMPORIA, Kan. – After an eventful opening two days at the 2024 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference has had strong representation across numerous disciplines.

Seattle Pacific senior Annika Esvelt stole the show on Thursday night, finishing as the runner-up in the 10,000 meters. Running neck-and-neck with West Texas A&M’s Florance Uwajeneza, Esvelt took home the silver medal with a time of 34:18.07, just behind Uwajeneza’s time of 34:14.47. The duo separated themselves from the pack, and jockeyed for position around the final few laps. Esvelt will follow by running the 5,000 meters on Saturday at 3:25 p.m. PT.

Marie-Eloise Leclair of Simon Fraser qualified for the finals in both the 100 meters and 200 meters, as she’ll look for an All-American finish on Saturday. Leclair ran the third-fastest 100 meters time in Thursday’s preliminary round, crossing the line in 11.32 seconds just 0.08 seconds off of leader Alexis Brown from Lenoir-Rhyne. On Friday, Leclair posted a 200 meters preliminary time of 23.26 seconds which was good for fourth-fastest among the field of 23 sprinters. Leclair is set for the 100 meters at 1:35 p.m. PT and the 200 meters at 2:50 p.m. PT on Saturday.

Central Washington’s Johan Correa made a statement in the preliminary round of the men’s 800 meters on Friday, posting the fastest time in the field of 18 competitors at 1:49.63. Correa will try to replicate that feat in Saturday’s finals, which are set for 1:45 p.m. PT. Competing alongside Correa were Western Washington’s Drew Weber and Western Oregon’s Isaiah Rodriguez. Weber claimed a second-team All-America award by finishing 12th, with a time of 1:51.79. Rodriguez rounded out the field in 18th place with a time of 1:53.18.

Lauryn McGough of Central Washington put together an All-American performance at her debut NCAA Championships meet, tying for 11th place in the pole vault. The true freshman cleared a bar set at 12-7.5 feet (3.85 meters), earning her second-team All-American honors among the field of 20 competitors. McGough capped a stellar first collegiate campaign that included breaking the GNAC indoor record in the pole vault at 13-3.5 feet (4.05 meters) and posting the conference’s fourth-best all-time outdoor mark by clearing 13-1.75 feet (4.01 meters).

Megan Roxby advanced to Saturday’s finals in the 1,500 meters, finishing second in her heat and 10th overall with a time of 4:36.20. Roxby will be joined by 11 other competitors, with the starting gun scheduled to go off at 2:35 p.m. CT/12:35 p.m. PT on Saturday afternoon. Roxby’s qualifying time is already her best result at the NCAA Championships, after she finished 15th in the preliminary round of the 1,500 meters in 2022 and 20th in the preliminary round of the 1,500 meters last spring. The Red Leaf senior, who was a second-team All-American in the 800 meters last year, also qualified for the finals in that event after running the eighth-fastest time on Friday at 2:08.74.

Western Washington’s Marian Ledesma also competed in the preliminary round of the 800 meters, taking 17th place on Friday with a time of 2:11.51. The Vikings’ Ila Davis garnered first-team All-America accolades in the steeplechase on Friday, finishing in eighth place in the finals. Davis clocked a time of 10:28.43 to finish in the upper tier of competitors. Teammate Ashley Reeck also represented the Vikings in the steeplechase, taking 17th place in the preliminary round on Thursday with a time of 11:16.39.

On the men’s side, WWU’s Jeret Gillingham collected a second-team All-America award in the steeplechase, finishing in 10th place in the finals on Friday. Gillingham, who won the 2024 GNAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships title in the event earlier this month, crossed the finish line with a time of 8:56.38 in the finals.

Standout freshman Joshua Caleb of Alaska Anchorage put the finishing touches on his historic debut collegiate season, earning second-team All-America in the 400 meters on Thursday. Caleb wound up in 12th place in the preliminary round with a time of 46.89 seconds. The GNAC Indoor Track & Field Freshman of the Year, Caleb sustained an injury as he crossed the finish line as the winner of the 100 meters at the 2024 GNAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships on May 11 in Ellensburg, Wash.

Seattle Pacific’s Hannah Chang made her NCAA Championships debut in the 100-meter hurdles preliminary round on Friday. The 2024 GNAC Outdoor Track & Field Champion in the event finished in 16th place, notching a personal-best time of 14.25 seconds.

Set to represent the conference on Saturday in the men’s javelin throw are Laurenz Waldbauer of Northwest Nazarene and Jarrett Chong of Simon Fraser, who will kick off the day at 8:30 a.m. PT. On the women’s side, Madeline Gebers of NNU and Kaylee Wright of Western Oregon will compete in the javelin finals at 11:30 a.m. PT.

CWU standout freshman Emy Ntekpere will follow in the high jump finals which are scheduled for 11:45 a.m. PT, rounding out the conference’s field event competitors.

In addition to the previously mentioned athletes who qualified for finals on Saturday, Alaska Anchorage’s Cole Nash will be competing in the men’s 5,000 meter final scheduled for 3 p.m. PT.

Live results for Saturday’s finals will be available online here, and the action will be streamed live on