Tarleton State had two Texans selected among the participants for this weekend's 2013 Division II Outdoor National Championship meet at the Neta & Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl, which is set to begin Thursday.
Tarleton topped eight NCAA provisional marks over the course of the season, but Chase Rathke's mark in the 800m Run and Davene Carter's mark in the high jump earned the duo a berth in the national championships.
"It'll be interesting," said Tarleton head coach Pat Ponder. "I'm excited for them. This is Chase's first national championship after redshirting last year and it doesn't surprise me because he's that talented. He'll do some things in the 800m and 1500m before he leaves Tarleton. Tomorrow, he needs to run the perfect race but he is certainly capable because he's been on the big stage before. As far as Davene, it will be his first time to compete so he'll need to control his nerves and just compete."
Chase Rathke: Rathke competed at the Bobcat Classic with a time of 1:52.45 in the 800m Run. He earned a Lone Star Conference championship in the 800m Run with his NCAA provisional mark of 1:50.56. That time earned him the No. 10 ranking in the nation and makes him the only Tarleton athlete to earn a top-10 qualifying spot in the championships.
Davene Carter: The sophomore multisport-athlete competed in just four meets this season but hit the NCAA provisional mark in his last two events. He hit the mark with a leap of 6' 9.5'' at the LSC Championships for a second-place finish before improving his rankings with a 6' 10.25'' jump at the ACU Last Chance Meet. Carter will enter the championships ranked No. 18 in the nation in men's high jump.
LAST TIME OUT
Tarleton took 11 men to the Oliver Jackson Twilight meet at Abilene Christian, and despite a few NCAA marks, Carter was the only Texan to improve his standings in his particular event.
Youngsters on the big stage… "When you look, just in general, we have two freshmen and two sophomores - eligibility wise in track and field - at the national meet (including the women) and you look at that and just say 'wow'," said Ponder. "They are competing at the pinnacle of athletics. Every sport strives for national championships and these guys are here. It's pretty awesome and it shows the future of Tarleton track and field is very bright."
Rathke in thin air… "Obviously, already having run here (during cross country) he will be fine," said Ponder. "Usually the altitude affects runners in the 1500m and higher, so he should be fine. He's had some really good runs since we've been here. And of course, the experience of running at 5200 feet last fall gives him a leg up."
Carter carrying momentum into meet… "Davene is just such a great young man," said Ponder. "Obviously, I haven't been around him very long, but the little bit I'm around him, he is a great young man. He has that happy-go-lucky face, but when he competes, he's all business. I think he understands he is at the elite level and if he controls what he can do, he'll be fine."