Postseason competition started with five Idaho track and field athletes competing at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Preliminaries in Lawrence, Kansas. Two Vandal athletes qualified for the NCAA Finals in Eugene, Oregon, June 8-11. When the final jumps had been marked and finish lines crossed, both competitors earned All-American Second Team honors, and then some.
Senior distance runner Kinsey Gomez earned a personal-best and 10th place in the 10,000-meter race with a time of 33:18.00.
Redshirt sophomore Arphaxad Carroll placed 16th in the long jump, after being ranked in 20th place.
Idaho track and field director Tim Cawley said he was pleased with both competitors performances in Eugene.
“Both competed fantastic at the NCAA Finals,” Cawley said. “It could’ve gone much better but I was proud with both of them. To watch them represent Idaho in that level was pretty exciting.”
Gomez’s time also broke the school-best time she set at the Stanford Invitational earlier in the season.
Senior Dominique Scott of Arkansas won the 10,000-meter run with a time of 32:35.69.
Scott and seven other women finished the race in less than 33 minutes, the largest quantity of competitors to achieve this feat in NCAA history.
Gomez said she enjoyed competing against 23 other women in Eugene.
“It was amazing to race with such talented field of women,” Gomez said. “It was a great cap off to my senior year and it left me hungry for more. I can’t wait to continue to improve in this sport and see what I’m more capable of.”
Distance coach Travis Floeck said Gomez’s gutsy performance was the perfect way for her to end her time at Idaho.
“Anytime you can finish your college career with a personal-best, I couldn’t have asked for more,” Floeck said. “I was very proud of Kinsey especially that it was the biggest stage she’s ever competed in. To run her best under the most amount of pressure and it shows the kind of competitor she is to finish 10th.”
In addition to the record, Gomez was named the female recipient of the NCAA Elite 90 Award.
The Elite 90 Award is given to one athlete of each gender with the highest cumulative grade-point average in each of the NCAA’s 90 championships events. Gomez earned a perfect 4.0 GPA and graduated in May with a bachelor’s in general studies.
“Kinsey embodied what a track student-athlete should be in Idaho,” Cawley said. “She’s a talented young lady that’s done the right things and has her priorities in order. It was neat having her around and I know there’s a chance that she may be a volunteer coach next season. So she may hang around a little bit longer and I’m excited for it.”
Redshirt sophomore Arphaxad Carroll entered the meet and ranked 20th after the preliminary round in the long jump.
He ended his season with a 16th place finish and a leap of 7.40 meters June 8. Senior Jarrion Lawson of Arkansas won the event with a jump of 8.15 meters.
Carroll said competing in the NCAA finals was a learning curve and anticipates returning next year.
“It was a great experience to compete in Eugene around so much talent and I couldn’t have asked for more,” Carroll said. “I was glad to be competing and hope to be back in finals next season and hopefully win.”
Cawley said Carroll’s performance in the finals is just the beginning of what he can bring to the table.
“Arphaxad competed really well and is not afraid to compete,” Cawley said. “He comes into any situation relaxed and is just a tremendous competitor. While I’m excited for his performance, he’s not even close to his max potential. He was injured for most of the year, so he has yet to reach his maximal effort and we’re both excited for next season.”
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