AKRON, Ohio - The University of Akron track and field team will send five athletes to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships this Friday and Saturday, March 10-11 as freshman Lucy Bryan (Bristol, England), sophomore Matt Ludwig (Chardon, Ohio), senior Nikki Manson (Glasgow, Scotland) and juniors Terrell McClain (Youngstown, Ohio) and Jackie Siefring (Covington, Ohio) will travel to College Station, Texas, to vie for national titles.
Over the past five campaigns, the Zips have seen 27 student-athletes qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships.
"We have a solid group of athletes going to the championships," Akron head track and field coach Dennis Mitchell commented. "They are all capable of getting on the podium. There is so much talent at the NCAA indoor championships as it is a very elite meet and extremely tough to get into. I think it is the best indoor meet in the world each year. If an athlete does what they did to get to the meet they will usually do very well at the event. It should be an exciting two days."
ESPN3 will stream the meet live on March 10 from 6:25 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. ET and on March 11 from 4:55 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET.
The NCAA Indoor Championships, which will be held at the Gilliam Indoor Stadium, features the top-16 athletes in each event and top-12 relay teams in the country.
The Akron women's track and field squad is ranked 31st in the latest United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association NCAA Division I National Team Computer Rankings released on Monday, March 6.
The Zips are the top-rated Mid-American Conference team ranked in the women's national polls.
The Zips' men's squad is rated 45th nationally (tops in MAC) and fifth in the most-current Great Lake Regional rankings, while the women's team checked in at No. 5.
Bryan will be making her NCAA Championship debut seeded ninth in the women's pole vault with a season-best mark of 14-2.50 (4.33m) at the Akron Invitational (Feb. 4).
After garnering second-team USTFCCCA All-America accolades during the outdoor campaign in 2016 while competing at Missouri, Ludwig makes his NCAA Indoor Championship debut for Akron this season. Ludwig is seeded eighth in the draw having surpassed 18-1 (5.51m) at the Zips Invitational (Feb. 17).
Manson enters the championship seeded 12th in the women's high jump having cleared 6-0.50 (1.84m) at the Penn State National (Jan. 28).
A year after registering a 10th-place performance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., McClain, a 2016 second-team All-America honoree, enters this year's meet as the No. 7 seed in the men's long jump. He soared a school-record distance of 25-10.75 (7.89m) at the Don Kirby Invitational (Feb. 10) to earn a berth at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Making her second straight NCAA Championship appearance in the women's pentathlon is Siefring. A two-time second-team All-America recipient, Siefring boasts the seventh-best score in the country after compiling 4,204 points en route to winning the event at the Akron Invitational (Feb. 3). A year ago, she earned second-team All-America accolades after placing 10th in the pentathlon at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a five-event cumulative score of 4,162.
Akron's entries will be looking to add to the tradition of the Zips' track and field program, which already includes eight individual national champions.
Christi Smith made history in 2000 when she became the first national champion in school history, capturing gold in the heptathlon. Stevi Large was the next to accomplish the feat, winning the women's hammer throw in 2009. Annika Roloff captured the women's pole vault in 2014. Shawn Barber became the school's first male champion claiming the indoor pole vault title in 2014 before again earning the crown at the 2015 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
Clayton Murphy became Akron's first-ever NCAA champion in a running event winning the 800 meters at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships before taking home the title in the 1,500 meters at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships.