Freshman Claudette Day (Belleville, Ill./Belleville West) made history for the NIU track and field team Saturday at the NCAA West Preliminary Round by qualifying for the national championship meet in the high jump.
Day tied for 11th in the event at 5-07.75 (1.72m), but earned one of the final two qualifying spots via a jump-off. She becomes the second NIU athlete in program history to advance to the NCAA National Championships, as former thrower Ashley Morrow made it to nationals in the shot put in 2007.
“Today, we can truly place Claudette Day in the Northern Illinois track and field history books,” said NIU head coach Connie Teaberry. “We are extremely proud of her continuing her season with a qualification to the NCAA final round. She matured as an athlete today, stepping up to claim one of the last spots for a berth to continue. Her hard work and dedication has paid off in a big way and she is very deserving.”
Day started strong by clearing 5-05.75 (1.67m) and 5-07.75 (1.72m) on each of her first attempts. However, the Belleville, Illinois, native got hung up at the next height of 5-09.75 (1.77m) and was unable to hit that mark on each of her three attempts. Because of her success in the first two heights, though, Day qualified for a jump-off against seven others for the final two spots. In the fourth attempt at 5-09.75 (1.77m), she was able to clear it and punch her ticket to the national meet.
The NCAA National Championships take place June 11 to 14 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. The high jump is scheduled for 2:45 p.m. CT Saturday, June 14.