UNK Track’s Wes Ferguson looking to defend National Title in 800 meter finals

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KEARNEY, Neb. (Press Release) – Wes Ferguson qualified for the 800-meter finals and Ben Arens earned All-American honors in the steeplechase to lead Nebraska-Kearney on day two of the 2022 NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships Friday in Allendale, Mich.Grand Valley State is once again hosting this three-day meet which was weather-delayed on Thursday. The rain held off on Friday but things were humid for most of the day before the sun broke out late.

The indoor national champ in the 800, Ferguson (Fremont) ran in the first of three heats today. The top two finishers in each heat, plus the next three fastest times, advance to the finals Saturday at 2:45 p.m. Central. Ferguson led for most of the way and held off a couple of challengers down the stretch to take the heat in 1:50.40. That time proved to rank 11th overall; Tampa sophomore Shane Cohen managed a 1:48.25 to lead the field of 24. This marks Ferguson’s second All-American honor. Arens (Ainsworth) became just the second D2 steeple AA in UNK history when he qualified for the finals by running an 8:52.43 in the prelims Friday night. Today, he was mainly 11th throughout the race and came in with a 9:02.43. Northwest Missouri’s Reece Smith pulled away to win going away (8:33.64).

Next, three-time All-American Brayden Sorensen (Kearney) tied for 17th in the high jump. Less than 100 percent, the redshirt sophomore cleared 6-7.50 on his second attempt by before bowing out at 6-9.50. As expected, Ushan Perera of Texas A&M-Commerce won the national title (7-3.25).

Finally, dual sport student-athlete Anna Squiers (Kearney Catholic) wrapped up a long UNK career by competing in the discus.

Returning to this meet for the first time in four years, she finished 17th with a top throw of 135-7. Squiers was an All-American volleyball player looking to AA in track for the first time. Zada Swoopes of West Texas A&M defended her national title thanks to a heave of 186-6.Besides Ferguson, Kansans Jaida McEwen and Evan Prohaska throw the javelin Saturday with Abby Everitt taking part in the high jump.

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