Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare has secured her spot at NCAA Championships after qualifying automatically in her two events on day 2 of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships West Preliminary yesterday in Austin, Texas.
The University of Texas, El Paso (UTEP) nine-time All-American flew out of the blocks in the first heat of the women's 100 metres quarterfinals to cross the finish line first with a time of 11.22 secs.
Okagbare, who went into the meet with the nation's fastest time this season, had earlier ran 11.26 secs in the first round on Thursday.
(Okagbare's interview by Ryan of Flotrack)
The Nigerian then took third in the women's long jump after just three jumps. Following a foul in her first attempt, She leapt to 6.51 metres in her second jump and 6.44 metres to qualify for the final three attempts.
Two other Nigerians, Suji Adeniyan and Endurance Abinuwa, missed national qualifications in their respective events; Adeniyan was 37th in the 200m preliminaries (21.57) and Abinuwa lost out in the women's 400m by two spots finishing 14th (53.64).
However, they still have a chance to make the trip to the NCAA Finals in Eugene, Oregon as members of the 4x100m relays team.
Meanwhile, Okagbare has been named a nominee for the Honda Collegiate Women Sports Award presented to the top female athlete in their respective sport.
The 22-year-old is one of four NCAA Division I student-athletes nominated for the honour. Virginia Tech's Queen Harrison, Iowa's Lisa Koll and Mariam Kevkhishvili from Florida complete the list of the 2010 nominees.
The winner of the track and field award, as voted by senior woman administrators, will automatically be considered for the Honda-Broderick Cup honoring to the top NCAA Division I female student-athlete.
Okagbare, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the long jump, captured the 60 metres and long jump titles at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships becoming the first woman in UTEP history to win a pair of crowns in a single national meet. She currently holds the nation's top performances in the long jump (6.88m) and the 100 meters (11.10) this outdoor season heading into this weekend's NCAA Pre Nationals.
A five-time U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) regional athlete of the year, Okagbare recently swept the organization's mountain region awards being tabbed the indoor track and the field female athlete of the year.
She was the only athlete, male or female, to win both honours in a respective region. Okagbare followed that with the USTFCCCA Indoor National Field Athlete of the Year honours.
She was named to The Bowerman Watch List on March 17 and also picked up the 2010 Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year honours following four titles at the conference meet.