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Limon, Burke Become 12th, 13th Blue Dragon T&F National Qualifiers

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By Hutchinson CC Sports Information

HAYS, Kan. (BlueDragonSports.com) – Hutchinson Community College sophomores Liberty Limon and Hayleigh Burke both punched tickets to the 2024 NJCAA Outdoor National Track and Field Championships, qualifying on Wednesday at the FHSU Alex Francis Classic at Fort Hays State University.

Limon and Burke became the 12th and 13th national qualifiers for the Blue Dragons heading into next week’s Region 6 Championships in Pratt.

Limon, after several weeks of being right on the cusp of qualifying, cleared 5 feet, 4 1/4 inches (1.63) meters to finally reach the 2024 qualifying standard in a second-place showing on Wednesday. Limon’s PR performance tied for 10th on the Blue Dragon all-time outdoor women’s high jump chart.

Burke placed 12th in the hammer throw, but did so with a qualifying throw of 143 feet, 10 inches (43.84 meters), which is 11th all time in Blue Dragon women’s track and field history.

The Blue Dragons had four event winners on Wednesday at the Alex Francis Classic, a meet moved up one day because of potential severe weather on Thursday.

Freshman Brooke Hawkins was a double-event winner for Hutchinson. Hawkins won the high jump at 5-4 1/4 (1.63 meters), which was Limon’s highest clearance. But Hawkins won the event based on less misses than Limon. Hawkins also won the triple jump with a best jump of 39-1 (11.91m). Hawkins was seventh in the long jump at 16-6 3/4 (5.05m).

Freshman Jenna Kuepker continued her strong season in the javelin with a winning throw of 145-5 (44.33m). Kuepker earlier this season broke the Blue Dragon outdoor javelin record.

Sophomore Kaylee James won her fourth 100-meter hurdle title of the 2024 outdoor season. James won the event at 14.12 seconds. James added a third-place finish in the 400 meters with a PR time of 58.07 seconds, the third-fastest outdoor 400-meter time in Blue Dragon history.

Other top Blue Dragon performances at the Alex Francis Classic:

+ Pole vaulters Nakaela O’Hair and Alivia Noll finished third and fourth, respectively. Both Blue Dragons cleared 10-2.

+ Freshman Yaya Moreno placed third in the long jump with a PR mark of 17-5 1/2 (5.32m). Moreno was also sixth in the triple jump at 33-10 3/4 (10.37m).

Kemisha Dominique posted the ninth-best time in the 400 meters in Blue Dragon history with a fifth-place performance in the 400 meters with a time of 59.72 seconds.