Butler track qualifies five athletes for nationals at Cavalier Open

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - The Butler track and field team opened the 2016 indoor season Friday at the Johnson County Cavalier Open by qualfiying five athletes for nationals.

The Grizzlies were led individually by freshman Elijah Smith, who had national qualifying marks in both the men's triple jump and 60 meter hurdles. Smith won the triple jump event with a mark of 14.48 meters, then matched the qualifying standard in the preliminaries of the 60-meter hurdles (8.54 seconds). He ended up fourth in the finals with a time of 8.64 seconds.

Also on the men's side, sophomore Mohammed Abubakar qualified for the national meet in the men's long jump, winning the event with a leap of 7.20 meters.

The women's team had three individual qualifiers - sophomore Jasmine Frazier (60m hurdles), freshman Valeria Kostiuk (high jump) and freshman Angel Malone (long jump). All three won their respective events.

Frazier cruised to a victory in the finals of the hurdles with a time of 8.79 seconds, while Kostyuk won the high jump with a mark of 1.71 meters. Malone was the top jumper in the long jump at 5.85 meters and just missed qualifying for nationals in the 400 meter dash.

In addition to having three national qualifiers on the women's side, sophomore Ona Giles won both the 60-meter (7.91 seconds) and 200 meter dash (26.23) for the Grizzlies. Sophomore Kristina Vujanic also placed first in the 500 meter run (1:21.68). In the 400 meter dash, Malone (1:00.97) and freshman Courtney Willis (1:01:01) finished second and third.

Sophomore Lamarion Arnold placed second in the men's 60 meter dash (6.93 seconds), giving the Grizzlies a total of three top-three finishes on the men's side.

Butler will next be in action at the Missouri Southern Open in Joplin, Mo., which will run on Friday and Saturday.