Taking 23 athletes to regionals is impressive.
Having two advance to nationals is not.
Stevi Large (hammer throw) will compete for a national championship in two weeks. Shetook third. Crystal Goldsmith took fourth in the pole vault, but missed an automatic bid in the jump-off.
Large joins Auston Papay, Akron's lone male representative for the meet in Sacramento. Ryan Jones finished just one spot away from qualifying for the high jump. Jones and Natalie Sako, who both took sixth, have an outside chance at earning an at-large bid. Sako, with her high national ranking in the high jump, probably has the better shot.
If you're into team rankings, the men came in 23rd with nine points. The women were 21st with three.
The NCAA Championships begin June 6. Last year, Akron sent six athletes to nationals, and it very easily could have been more.
This is a pretty young team, so it's not really a complete letdown. Just as we're seeing in the NBA playoffs, experience is invaluable when the competition matters most. But in that vein, Papay has been to nationals before. He did not qualify for finals, however.