RAMS SEND SIX ATHLETES TO UPCOMING NCAA EAST PRELIMINARY MEET

RICHMOND, Va. – VCU's Women's Track and Field team is scheduled to travel to Jacksonville, Fla. this weekend to compete in the NCAA East Preliminary Meet. The Rams will be sending six athletes to the meet, which sets a new program record. The athletes who will be competing are Emily Mulhern, Kayla Smith, Kara Lyles, Aliyah Newman, Camora Sanders and Kayla Merkel.  

Mulhern, a two-time All-ACC Cross Country Performer before transferring, earned a spot in the 10000m Run after recording a time of 34:31.44. Her time was just enough to qualify for the NCAA East Preliminary Meet in just her first season with VCU's program. Mulhern placed second in the 5K at the Atlantic 10 Outdoor Championship, contributing a silver medal to the Rams second place finish.

Smith, a junior hailing from Ashburn, Va., qualified for a spot in the NCAA East Preliminary Meet after recording a time of 53.27 in the 400m Run. Earlier this season, Smith was named as the Atlantic 10 Track Performer of the Week for winning the 400m Run at the Miami Hurricane Invitational.

Lyles, a junior out of Suffolk, Va., earned her spot in the 400m Hurdles at the NCAA East Preliminary Meet after recording a time of 59.73 in the event. She also placed second in the 400m Hurdles at the Atlantic 10 Outdoor Championship, posting a time of 59.73 to take home the silver medal.

Newman, a sophomore out of Chesterfield, Va., qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Meet after posting a mark of 12.51m in the Triple Jump. Additionally, she placed second in the Triple Jump at the Atlantic 10 Outdoor Championship, earning a silver medal on the way to helping VCU to a second place finish. Newman also won the Atlatnic 10 Field Performer of the Week award for her efforts at the Miami Hurricane Invitational earlier this season.

Camora Sanders won two gold medals, one in shot put and one in discuss. Her shot put throw broke a 21-year-old Atlantic 10 record at 15.34 meters and was good enough to earn her a spot in the upcoming NCAA East Preliminary Meet this weekend. Her mark also shattered the school record of 14.96 set in 2014 by Jaleesa Williams. Sanders named A-10 Women's Most Outstanding Field Performer for winning two gold medals and breaking the 21-year-old conference record in the shot put.

Merkel, a freshman native of Drums, Pa., was selected to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team after capturing the conference title in the javelin. The win gave VCU its first victory of the championship meet. Her toss also set a personal-best at 45.48 meters, and her a qualifying score in the upcoming NCAA East Preliminary Meet. Her performance during the outdoor season earned her Women's Co-Rookie Performer of the Year honors.

The competition is set to begin on Thursday, May 23, at 12 p.m., and run through Saturday, May 25. For more information on the NCAA East Preliminary, visit https://bit.ly/2VMISDL.