JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Lipscomb track and field program saw another historic showing at the NCAA preliminaries Saturday as high jumper Gemikal Prude qualified for the NCAA Nationals.
Prude is the second Lipscomb athlete to qualify for this year’s nationals following Madi Talbert’s performance in the 3000-meter steeplechase Friday night.
"Gemikal and Madi have been pushing the bar ever higher for our program, and they are inspiring our team to reach new heights as well,” said Bill Taylor, director of track and field.
Prude finished eighth overall clearing the bar at 2.14 meters.
"Gemikal competed well,” said Luke Syverson, assistant track and field coach. “We always stress the importance of when you make bars.
“Today it was even more important since his first-attempt clearances at 2.10 meters and 2.14 meters put him in the driver’s seat for a qualification spot.”
While satisfied with the turnout of Saturday’s performance, Syverson feels Prude still has some work to do before competing in Oregon.
"We still have a few technical tweaks to make clean before we get to Oregon, but this was a huge goal for him to make outdoor nationals after his ninth place finish at indoor nationals,” Syverson said. “I'm very proud of how he came out and mentally competed."
Since coming to Lipscomb, Prude and Talbert have contributed to many firsts for the program.
"Gemikal is the first Lipscomb athlete to qualify for both the NCAA I Indoor and Outdoor National Championship Finals,” Taylor said. “He's the first man to qualify for the NCAA I Outdoor Finals.
“Madi is the first Lipscomb athlete to qualify for the NCAA I Outdoor Finals twice.”
With national championship experience under their belts, the two competitors are well seasoned for their upcoming bout in Oregon.
“They know how it works,” Taylor said. “They know it's not that big of a deal when it comes down to it.
“They know you just go out and compete like any other day and that is a big advantage.”
Taylor also believes it will be beneficial for the athletes to have a fellow teammate at the competition having competed on their own last year.
The pair will journey to Eugene, Oregon for Nationals June 11-14.
"I'm really proud that we will have two out west representing Lipscomb in Eugene,” Taylor said. “The NCAA I Outdoor National Championships is an amazing experience, especially when it’s hosted out there.”