INDIANAPOLIS -- Three student-athletes from the Case Western Reserve University men's track & field team have been announced as part of the field for the 2012 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championship. Seniors Matthew Jurcak (Olmsted Falls, Ohio/Olmsted Falls) and Ty Shaffer (Myersville, Md./Middletown Senior) along with sophomore Harry Weintraub (Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y./Hendrick Hudson) will compete on May 24-26 at Claremont McKenna-Harvey Mudd-Scripps Colleges in Claremont, California.
Jurcak, a 2012 Indoor All-American in the 60-meter hurdles, will compete in the 110m hurdle prelims on Friday at 5:25 p.m. (PDT). Shaffer, a national qualifier last season, runs in the 400m hurdle prelims on Thursday at 5:25 p.m. (PDT). Weintraub, a first-time qualifier, competes in the hammer throw on Friday at 2:05 p.m. (PDT).
Jurcak finished fifth in the nation in the 60m hurdles at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championship in early March in Iowa. Now a three-time national qualifier (twice outdoors/once indoors), Jurcak enters this weekend's race as the 11th-ranked competitor with a time of 14.53 seconds in the 20-person field. His career-best mark came in mid-April when he won the All-Ohio Championship.
"Since it's my third national meet, I'm more familiar with how things work, and I have a lot more confidence," said Jurcak. "I've been trying to work through a hamstring injury during the last few weeks, so I'm just looking to get over the first two hurdles – the rest should take care of itself."
Shaffer makes his second-consecutive outdoor national appearance and ranks 12th in the 20-sprinter 400m hurdle field. His career-best mark of 53 seconds came at last week's Ron Althoff Invitational in Delaware, Ohio when he won the event and set a school record in the process.
"I've battled hamstring injuries my whole career, but I finally feel like I am in my best shape," said Shaffer. "I'm hoping for an All-American finish, so I'm looking to run a clean race and post a faster time than I ever have."
Weintraub was the last qualifier in the 20-person hammer field. His qualifying mark of 184 feet, two inches came when he won the University Athletic Association Championship by breaking a 24-year old meet record in late April.
When I hit the throw at the UAA Championship, I was ranked 13th in the nation," said Weintraub. "It didn't really hit me until this past weekend in North Central as to how close I was to missing the cut. It was nerve-wrecking, and I found myself refreshing the performance lists every five seconds. But, I just had a really good practice, and I feel like I can compete with anyone."
Overall, the Spartan track & field program will send five competitors to California with seniors Erin Hollinger and Amanda Kline qualifying on the women's side.
"It will be great to be able to experience this weekend with such a great group of teammates," said Shaffer. "It's nice enough to go, but to be able to go with close friends makes the experience that much better. "Matt (Jurcak), Erin (Hollinger), Amanda (Kline) and myself have been together since freshman year, so it will be a great way to go out."
"It's always good to look up to those who have been there before," noted Weintraub. I have an idea of what I need to do, and maybe Matt (Jurcak) can shed some light on the secret to becoming an All-American. I am just very fortunate to be going with this group."
The Spartan men's track & field program has produced an All-American in two of the last three NCAA Outdoor Championship meets with a national champion in 2010.