UW Track and Field Program Qualifies Four Athletes for 2001 NCAA Outdoor Championship

May 25, 2001

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

The NCAA announced qualifiers forthe 2001 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship on Friday, and fourUniversity of Wyoming student-athletes are among the field for thechampionship. The championship will take place in Eugene, Ore., on May30-June 2.

Wyoming's qualifiers included one woman and three men. Andrea Batt,a freshman from Huson, Mont., is ranked No. 6 in the NCAA in the women'sjavelin (168' 8"). UW senior Joe Hall, from Buffalo, Wyo., qualified 18thin the men's 10,000 meters (29:10.77). He is joined by senior Jason Hammondof Fresno, Calif., who qualified 10th in the men's hammer throw (221' 1"),and senior Jason Gervais of Timmins, Ontario, who qualified No. 4 in themen's discus (201' 9").

Gervais and Hammond have both participated in the NCAA OutdoorChampionship before. Both earned All-America honors a year ago in the 2000NCAA Outdoor Championship. Gervais placed second a year ago at the NCAAs inthe discus, and Hammond placed ninth in the shot put.

Batt, Hammond and Gervais all won their respective events at the2001 Mountain West Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championship held inSan Diego on May 16-19. Hall didn't run in the 10,000 meters at the MWCChampionship, but did place second in the 5,000 meters in the conferencechampionship.

"It's great to have four individuals representing Wyoming at thenational championship" said UW head track and field coach Don Yentes. "Allfour of these student-athletes have worked extremely hard to achieve thislevel of performance, and I can't say enough for the efforts they've put in,as well as the efforts of my assistant coaches in helping them attain theirgoals.

"If Jason (Gervais) performs like he has throughout this season, hecan be right in the running for a national championship in the discus.Jason has a lot of experience competing in NCAA championships, but a numberof other individuals competing in the discus event are also veterans, sothis should be an extremely exciting event. Jason has had an outstandingyear and an outstanding career at Wyoming.

"Jason Hammond has been our most valuable field-event performer thisyear. It's hard to pick one individual for that honor, with fourAll-Americans on our team in the field events, but we picked him for hisversatility this season in three different throwing events. The hammerthrow is Jason's best event. He is relatively new to the hammer throw,having only picked it up about three years ago. He is really starting tocome into his own. Jason has competed at both the NCAA Indoor and OutdoorChampionships before, and has earned All-America honors before, so he willenter the competition knowing what it takes to have a successful meet.

"Joe Hall is one of the greatest stories on our team. He came tothe University from Buffalo, Wyo., as a walk-on. He earned a scholarship,and now he has qualified for his second NCAA Championship event. He alsoqualified for the NCAA Cross Country Championship this past fall. Coach(Jim) Sanchez has done a great job of developing this young man, and Joe hasan amazing work ethic. He has worked as hard as any athlete I've seen toreach his full potential. He has a legitimate shot at the 10,000 meters.Even though he qualified 18th, the 10,000 meters is an event if you feelreally strong on the day the race is run, anything can happen.

"Andrea (Batt) had as good a season as any freshman in ourconference. She has done a fantastic job, and is also very versatile,having competed in four different throwing events for us this year. I can'ttell you how happy we are having her for the next three years. I told herto go and enjoy this experience -- there is no pressure, just see whathappens. If she does well at this year's championship as a freshman, shehas plenty of time to deal with the pressure of expectations. Andrea iscapable of popping a big throw, so you never know what may happen. Coach(Paul) Barrett has a very good relationship with Andrea, and has reallybrought her along nicely this year. Paul has done a great job with all ourthrowers this season."

The schedule of events for the four Wyoming qualifiers are asfollows:

Date           Event                Wyoming Competitor Time (PT)Wed., May 30   Men's 10,000 meters  Joe Hall           7:50 p.m.Thu., May 31   Men's Hammer Throw   Jason Hammond      3:00 p.m.Friday, June 1 Men's Discus Throw   Jason Gervais      3:00 p.m.Friday, June 1 Women's Javelin      Andrea Batt        6:00 p.m.