Former Hazen shot putter qualifies for NCAA Preliminary Round

May 31, 2012

By Staff

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A former Hazen High School track and field standout joined a dozen other University of Idaho men’s and women’s track and field athletes that officially advanced to the NCAA West Preliminary Round with the NCAA’s announcement of the meet’s declared athletes May 17.

Idaho sophomore Andrey Levkiv won the 3A shot put title for the Highlanders his senior year at the school.

“We feel really good about our group,” Idaho director of track and field/cross country Wayne Phipps said. “We had two more who had qualified but were unable to compete, so for us to have 15 who qualified, and 13 who will be competing is very good for us as a program.”

By Spencer Farrin Andrey Levkiv starts an attempt in the shot put at the Western Athletic Conference Championships on May 11. Levkiv won the conference title with a throw of 56 feet, 5.75 inches.

Levkiv is a first-time NCAA qualifier this year.

“It’s an exciting and amazing accomplishment for anyone to be a repeat qualifier, and for us to have this many new people is a great sign for our program that we’re progressing and moving in the right direction,” Phipps said.

The NCAA Preliminary Round system replaced the Regional Championships in 2009. The nation is split between the East and West regions, with the top 48 athletes in each event advancing to the NCAA Preliminary Round, at which they compete in the opening rounds through the semifinals of NCAA competition, depending on the event.

The top 12 finishers in each event advance to the national finals, which will be held June 6-9 at Des Moines, Iowa.

“I like that everyone is on an equal playing field once you get there, but it does put a ton of pressure on each student-athlete to compete,” Phipps said. “There’s an incredible level of competition and there’s no room for error, whatsoever.”

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