CHICAGO – With the 2012 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships set to begin Thursday, the Saint Xavier University women's track team will send three of its runners to Marion, Ind., to compete later this week. Junior Ashley Shares (Palos Park, Ill./Moraine Valley CC/Stagg) qualified for the national meet in both the marathon and the 10K (10,000 meters). Junior Mercedes Mancha (Elgin, Ill./Streamwood) will compete in the 5,000-meter race walk, while sophomore Jordan Wallace (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way North) takes part in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Shares qualified in the marathon for the 2012 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships back in November 2011 with her impressive time of 1:28.44 at the Schaumburg Half Marathon Turkey Trot in Schaumburg, Ill. She was the top finisher in her age group (19-24) and fourth overall female. Due to her participation in the marathon, Shares will not compete nationally in the 10K race despite earning her qualifying time of 37:46.76 at North Central College's Dr. Keeler Track & Field Invitational on May 10. Mancha earned her qualifying time of 27:46 at the USATF Illinois Association 5,000m Race Walk on the Track at Proviso East High School in Maywood, Ill., on April 21. Wallace also qualified at the Dr. Keeler Invite on May 10 in the steeplechase with a time of 11:25.79.
"I'm very excited for this group and know that they will represent Saint Xavier University well at the national level," said SXU women's track coach Lisa Ebel. "All three have worked extremely hard throughout the last year to put themselves in this position and it is a great feeling to see their efforts rewarded at the final meet of the year. I can't wait to watch them compete later this week."
The 2012 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships runs from May 24-26 at the Indiana Wesleyan University Track Complex in Marion, Ind. The trials for the steeplechase begin on Thursday, May 24, at 7:30 p.m. (central), while the finals for the race walk take place on Friday, May 25, at 1:40 p.m. The marathon kicks off at 6 a.m. on Saturday, May 26, with the finals for the steeplechase scheduled for a 2 p.m. start.