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BETHANY’S JAMES, GREGG SHUT OUT FROM NCAA TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS

May 23 - BETHANY, W.Va. – After having successful seasons which resulted in provisionally qualifying for the NCAA Track & Field Championships, Bethany College freshmen Arkangelo James (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) and Ben Gregg (Eighty Four, Pa./Bentworth) found out they came up just short of earning a bid to the national meet.

By provisionally qualifying for NCAA Championships, which are May 26-28 at Ohio Wesleyan University, James (800) and Gregg (javelin) would have had the chance to compete at nationals if not enough people met the automatic qualifying standard or finished ahead of their best performances. However, when the final list was released Sunday, the pair was left off from becoming the first Bison track athletes to compete at the NCAA level since Matt Cruse in 2008.

James was the closest to making the cut. The PAC champion in the 800, he also qualified for ECAC Championships and while competing there May 20, he finished fifth overall with a time of 1:52.54. The top 19 runners in the nation were extended invitations and James unfortunately came in 20th, as the final runner to make the list was freshman Matt Rever from Elizabethtown with a time of 1:52.51, just .03 ahead of James.

Although he won’t be making the trip to NCAA Championships this year, it was still a remarkable season for James, who in addition to winning to the PAC Championship and scoring at the ECAC meet, he broke the school record in the 800, a mark which had stood for 30 years.

Gregg’s fate was nearly as close to call. His best throw of 195 feet, four inches, which won him the 2011 PAC Championship, ranked Gregg 23rd in the nation. However, like the 800, only 19 were extended invitations to nationals and Gregg best measurement of the season was two feet behind the final competitor, Moravian’s Tyler Potterton (197-4).

The tough end to the season takes little away from what Gregg accomplished as a freshman. Not only did he win the conference title, he also qualified for ECAC Championships and finished in the top three in eight of the nine outdoor meets Bethany competed in this spring.

Both James and Gregg are expected to return to Bethany next year, which will boost a Bison squad that finished third at PAC Championships, their best placement since taking third back in 1996.