Hahn, Schneble Prepare For NCAA Championships

Recent Commodore SEC track and field champions Josie Hahn and Erika Schneble will compete Wednesday during the opening day of activities at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Austin, Texas. Hahn will compete in two events Wednesday, the first four disciplines of the heptathlon and the high jump preliminaries, while Schneble will run in the 5,000-meter preliminaries Wednesday night.

Recent Commodore SEC track and field champions Josie Hahn and Erika Schneble will compete Wednesday during the opening day of activities at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Austin, Texas.

The national meet will be across the street from where the Vanderbilt baseball team will play Texas this weekend with a College World Series berth at stake.

Hahn, a junior from Clinton, Tenn., will compete in two events Wednesday, the first four disciplines of the heptathlon and the high jump preliminaries. Schneble, a sophomore from Hendersonville, N.C., will run in the 5,000-meter preliminaries Wednesday night.

Hahn and Schneble are considered contenders in the heptathlon and 5,000-meter run, respectively. Hahn enters the NCAA Championships ranked fifth nationally, while Schneble has the seventh fastest qualifying mark in her specialty.

Though this is Schneble's first appearance at the nationals, Hahn is plenty familiar with the environment. Last year, she earned All-American status by finishing fourth in the heptathlon with a school-record performance in Sacramento, Calif. This winter, she added a second All-American recognition by placing in the pentathlon. Only the top eight finishers earn All-American status at the NCAA Championships.

The Vanderbilt duo are entering the nationals in excellent shape, though both experienced injury concerns in the last three weeks. Schneble has overcome a nagging foot injury that limited her performance at the Mideast Regionals. Hahn has experienced no problems with a rib injury that flared during her victory in the SEC heptathlon.

"I'm very excited for both of them," Commodore Head Coach Lori Shepard said. "I watched Josie practice for the last week and I think she is primed for a big performance. I'm hoping to see a great effort by her and I know Jim (Spivey, distance coach) is excited about Erika's training leading up to the meet. I think she is looking to have a impact in the 5,000."

Both athletes faced a huge hurdle in winning their respective events. Hahn's main competitor, Hyleas Fountain of Georgia, is arguably the finest female athlete in collegiate track and field. The current collegiate record holder in the heptathlon, Fountain is a strong contender to make the U.S. Olympic team. Schneble must contend with several sub-16:00 runners, including Providence senior Kim Smith, who has run the 5,000 in 15:09.72.

Last year, Hahn set two team records in the NCAA heptathlon, scoring 5,444 points and clearing 5'10.75" in the high jump. She increased her high jump record to 6'0" in May during the SEC heptathon victory.

Schneble is also the fastest 5,000-meter runner in school history. She set new marks at the distance both indoors and outdoors. Her best, 16:08.18, is 40 seconds under the previous record.


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