Iowa’s Melander and Praska head to NCAAs

BY DI STAFF | MARCH 09, 2011 7:20 AM

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The waiting game is over for Iowa junior McKenzie Melander and senior Bethany Praska. Both found out Monday night that they will compete in the NCAA championships this weekend.

The Hawkeyes took advantage of the last opportunity they had to make it to the championships at the last-chance meet on March 5. They will head to College Station, Texas, this morning with the coaching staff to compete in the 2011 indoor women’s track and field NCAA championships.

In a historic weekend for the Hawkeyes, Melander ran the mile at the meet at Notre Dame in 4:39.78. She said her goal going into the season was to record a time around the 4:40 mark, and her time in South Bend was low enough for a school record and to qualify her for NCAAs. Her mark from last chance gives her the 17th-best mile time in Division I. She is the first female Hawkeye to run a sub-4:40 mile.

Praska, who ran the 800 meters at the last chance meet at Iowa State, made the cut running the event in 2:05.36, also a school record.

Neither Melander and Praska have ever been to the NCAAs before.

— by Amy Tiffany

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