In two years at Marquette, sophomore Daniel Armstrong already has a list of accolades most track and athletes would dream of — four BIG EAST titles and one second team All-America selection.
His first National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships appearance will have to wait at least another year, however, after placing 20th in the high jump in the NCAA West Preliminary Round Saturday evening.
Armstrong passed through the first three heights relatively unscathed, only missing one jump until the 2.16-meter (7-foot-1) height. He was one of 28 athletes to clear the 2.11-meter height. He then missed all three jumps at 2.16 meters to secure the 20th-place finish.
“He really needed to make 7-foot-1 (2.16 meters) to get in,” head coach Bert Rogers said. “He looked strong today, just not real sharp.”
The top 12 high jumpers qualified for the NCAA Championships. Only nine advanced to a better jump than Armstrong, but his one miss excluded him for a jump-off. As a result, he went from a tie for 10th to a tie for 20th.
Armstrong’s disappointing finish came despite a strong end to the rest of the season. He cleared 2.16 meters at the BIG EAST Championships to qualify for the NCAA Prelims two weeks ago.
“It’s kind of how the outdoor season went for him,” Rogers said. “He struggled a little bit after indoors … but then he did get jumping really well in the late part of the season.”
His two other teammates to qualify for the NCAA West Prelims did not do much better Thursday. Senior Maya Marion, who competed in her first NCAA West Prelims, had two of her three throws go foul. Her one successful throw led to a 44th-place finish.
Senior Jessica Parker placed 35th out of 48 competitors in the 800-meter race. She was sixth out of six in the final heat. Her time of 2:10.66 was a step up from her 2:12.56 finish at the BIG EAST Championships. Parker’s personal best is 2:06.97, a school record at the time.
During Marion and Parker’s four years, the women’s team won two outdoor BIG EAST titles.