The NCAA has announced the participants into the 2017 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships with University of Cincinnati student-athletes Annette Echikunwoke and Adrian Valles both earning berths into the event that will take place March 10-11 at the Gilliam Indoor Complex in College Station, Texas. Both Bearcats will enter the meet ranked in the Top 4 in their respective events following a season that saw each break the school record several times while also capturing conference titles.
Echikunwoke will be making her second-consecutive appearance at the indoor championships in the weight throw after placing eighth one year ago to earn her first USTFCCCA All-America honor. This season, the junior from Pickerington, Ohio, has been one of the top throwers in the nation as she has thrown over 22 meters in five different meets, including last weekend’s American Athletic Conference Championships, where she defended her title with a toss of 22.69m (74-05.50) to post the second-best mark in the nation and break the school, meet and facility record at the same time. She also place second in the shot put with a personal-best toss of 15.99m (52-05.50) to improve her #2 standing in program history and score a total of 18 points at the meet, which helped her earn the Female Field Performer of the Meet honor for the second year in a row in a vote of conference coaches.
Valles, a two-time indoor All-American and three-time All-American overall, is set to compete in his third indoor NCAA meet and fifth overall after easily winning the pole vault at the American meet with a personal-best, school record and meet record clearance of 5.60m (18-04.25). The 2017 Male Field Performer of the Meet, Valles’ clearance places him fourth on the national list after he won his third-consecutive American indoor crown and fifth overall after adding the past two outdoor championship titles.
Historically, both Echikunwoke and Valles will looking to win the first national title in program history and the first individual crown for UC since 2010 when Josh Schneider captured the 50 freestyle title for the men’s swimming program, just the fourth individual national title in UC history. Prior to that, Becky Ruehl captured the platform diving title for the only individual women’s title in school history and just the third overall at the time.
Valles will be the first Bearcat to compete as the finals of the men’s pole vault start at 5:30 p.m. CT (6:30 p.m. Ohio) on Friday, March 10, while the finals of the women’s weight throw are set to being at 4:30 p.m. CT (5:30 p.m. Ohio) on Saturday, March 11.