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Three SoCon Athletes Set to Compete at NCAAs
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 03/09/2017
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Furman's Allie Buchalski (left), Samford's Karisa Nelson (center) and Tray Oates (right).
Courtesy: Todd Drexler
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Furman senior Allie Buchalski, Samford junior Karisa Nelson and redshirt-junior Tray Oates will compete at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, which are slated for Friday and Saturday (March 10-11) on the campus of Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.

Buchalski will compete in both the women's 3,000-meter run and 5,000-meter run.  The John’s Creek, Georgia, native is the first female NCAA qualifier in the history of the Paladin indoor track and field program. Buchalski set the Furman record in both long distance events earlier this season. Buchalski's 3,000-meter best time of 9:02.04, which she posted at the Camel City Invitational on Feb. 4, is the second-best time in the nation this year.  Buchalski currently ranks sixth nationally in the 5,000-meter run after posting a time of 15:46.86 at the Iowa State Classic on Feb. 10.

In 2015, Buchalski became the first All-American in the history of the Paladin cross country program after placing seventh with a time of 20:02.6 at the 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championships.  Last spring, she also became the first All-American in Furman women's outdoor track and field history after recording a 14th-place finish with a time of 16:22.64 in the 5,000-meter run at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Nelson will compete in the women’s mile after posting a SoCon-leading time of 4:35.55 (converted) in 2017 at the Camel City Invitational on Feb. 4. Her time of 4:35.55 (converted) is the 13th-fastest time in the nation for the 2017 indoor season. Nelson, a junior, also won the women’s mile at the Southern Conference Championship meet with a time of 4:43.96, aiding the Bulldogs to win their second straight SoCon women’s title, this year in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Oates posted a SoCon-best mark of 17’-11” (5.46m) in the men’s pole vault at the Samford Friday Invite on Feb. 10 to qualify for this year’s 2017 NCAA Indoor Track Field Championship. His leap of 17’-11” (5.46m) is tied for the 14th-best mark in the nation. Oates claimed back-to-back SoCon Men’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Week honors on Feb. 1 and 8 for his performances at the 2017 KMS Invitational (17’-4.5”, 5.30m) and Buccaneer Track & Field Invitational (17’-8.5”, 5.40m), respectively.

ESPN3 will stream the national meet live on Friday starting at 6:25 p.m. (ET) and on Saturday beginning at 4:55 p.m. (ET). A re-air of the championship will take place on Sunday, March 12 starting at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. A full list this year’s NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship participants can be found on ncaa.com.

-www.SoConSports.com

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