Buffs qualify five for national meet, head to Appy St.

By Michelle Pope
STAR STAFF
mpope@starhq.com

   Milligan fared well in the Niswonger Foundation Invitational held at ETSU last Friday, as the Buffs' track team finished with five athletes who qualified for the national meet.
   Freshman Josh Ferry made a 7th-place finish in the men's 800 meters with a time of 1:55.61 the first day. Sean Bowman and Chris Wright also secured spots in the national championship that will be held March 4-6 at ETSU.
   Bowman ran a 4:24.06 mile and Wright had a time of 15:24.18 in the 5000. The men's distance relay team also qualified for nationals.
   For the women, defending conference national champ Marta Ziman finished second in the 5000 with a time of 18:27.19 to secure her spot in nationals again this year. Megan Lease ran the 5000 in 18:51.89 to finish eighth and become Milligan's fifth national qualifier.
   The team with travel to Appalachian State in Boone, NC today and tomorrow to compete in another meet.
   "The track at Appalachian State isn't very fast, but it's a nice facility," said Milligan track coach Chris Layne. "The track is eight turns -- at each of the four turns, there's a mini-turn, which really slows it down."
   Layne said the team isn't going with hopes of more national qualifications, but rather as a practice meet before nationals.
   "We're going more to get a race under our belt," Layne said. "The goal is to finish as fast as we can. Everybody is competing in two or three events. We want to prepare for multiple events at nationals."
   With a team that is mostly inexperience with indoor running, Layne hopes to use this weekend's meet as a learning experience.
   "We want as many opportunities as we can get to fit into training," Layne said.
   He also added that the team will not race again until Feb. 13 and 14 when it will travel to Virginia Tech.
   "We'll focus more on individual events then," Layne said.