Catalina Lee Kim and Kyle Ambat will represent the University of La Verne track and field teams at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
The Championships started Thursday and run through Saturday.
Ambat, junior computer science and computer engineering major, punched his ticket in the men’s long jump by setting personal records in the last two meets.
At the Azusa Pacific Twilight Duals May 11, he jumped 22 feet 10 inches. The next week at the Redlands Last Qualifier Meet,
Ambat demolished his personal record by more than 10 inches, leaping 23 feet 8 inches.
Ambat accomplished this jump on his final attempt of the night and it was good enough to earn him the 20th spot nationally, which is the last spot that is invited for the long jump.
“I’m really excited because I qualified on my last jump and I snuck in their with a 20th spot,” he said.
Ambat finished 15th in the Championships long jump finals Thursday morning, jumping 23 feet 1.25 inches.
He said he prepared himself to go to the Championships with a lot more focus and intensity.
“It all starts off with creating a base, so you can handle the hard obstacles throughout the season,” Ambat said.
He said that the team started lifting weights and conditioning in the early weeks of July and that has made a big difference for him and staying healthy.
“From there it’s just a matter of practicing with the same intensity that you would have at meets,” Ambat said. “You’re practicing on how you should be competing at meets.”
Lee Kim, recently named La Verne’s Jesse Iles Scafani Female Athlete of the Year, will compete at the Championships for the second year in a row.
Lee Kim qualified in the women’s 100 meter hurdles. She came into this year season with the record time of 14.74, then broke record again at the SCIAC Championships with 14.34. She heads into the event ranked 11th nationally.
“I feel a lot more determined in going to the Championships,” Lee Kim said.
She said she is striving to win first place.
“But becoming an All-American, which is the top eight, is also fine with me,” Lee Kim said.
Preliminaries for the women’s 100 meter hurdles will begin at 11:30 a.m. PDT Friday and the finals will start at 11 a.m. PDT Saturday.
Live updates can be found at ncaa.com/championships.
Lee Kim and Ambat were also honored Monday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Both earned All-Region honors, joining five other Leopards who were recognized.
Ambat made the list twice. He ranked first in the men’s long jump with his 23 feet 8 inches and also ranked third in the men’s triple jump with a mark of 46 feet 7.5 inches.
Lee Kim also made the list twice, ranking second in the women’s 100 meter hurdles with a time of 14.34 and third in the women’s triple jump at 36 feet 7.25 inches.
Vanessa Martinez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.