4x400 qualifies for finals, Kalinay and Wheatley fall just short

Sophomore Emmitt Wheatley
Sophomore Emmitt Wheatley

NAPERVILLE, Ill. — The underdog 4x400-meter relay team came out of nowhere to qualify for finals while hurdler Dylan Kalinay and sprinter Emmitt Wheatley came up short in the prelims for the Simpson men's track and field team on the first day of the 2017 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships.

The Storm's 4x400 team -- seeded 10th of 12 teams going into the weekend -- secured a lane in Saturday's final by posting the No. 7 qualifying time, running 4:20.41 to place second in their heat. Simpson will take the track with a chance at a national title Saturday at 4:55 p.m.

Simpson's individual entries, Kalinay and Wheatley finished just short of qualifying for the second day of the championships. Competing in the 60-meter hurdles, Kalinay ran 8.25 to place third in his heat but ninth overall, needing to finish in the top eight to qualify for finals. Wheatley endured a similar fortune, running 22.13 in the 200 to tie for 11th, coming up just .05 seconds shy of a shot at finals.

The surprise of the day was the performance of the 4x400 relay. Needing a season-best effort on the last day of the season just to qualify, the quartet of Chase Wetterling, Travis Tupper, Jordan Coughenour and Kirk Wicks came from last in their heat to earn another chance to race. Wicks ran a strong final 200 meters to put Simpson into contention, placing second in the heat.

The final race of the day will air live on ncaa.com at 4:55 p.m. CT. Simpson will be in lane three of the second heat.