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Bowen Qualifies For Indoor Nationals

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Bowen Qualifies For Indoor Nationals

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INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Track & Field Committee has released the list of accepted athletes for the Division I National Indoor Championships, and for the first time in five years, the University at Albany will send one of their own to compete.  Junior high jumper Alexander Bowen has been accepted in the 13th spot in the event, and is the first UAlbany athlete since Luke Schoen was invited to compete in the pole vault in 2009.  Schoen finished sixth that year, earning All-American status.

“I’m really excited for the opportunity to compete,” said Bowen.

“Alex is ready to pop one,” said assistant coach Todd Wolin, who works with the jumpers.  “His last jump at 7’-3” at conference championships he was over the bar, but just missed it.  He’s looked good all season, and has had some narrow misses at big heights.  I think he’s ready.”

Bowen is no stranger to the national competition.  During his most recent outdoor season, Bowen qualified first out of the NCAA East Region, winning the event with a jump of 7’-1.5”.  At outdoor nationals, Bowen placed 11th overall with a jump of 7’-2.5”.

“I think my experience at nationals will certainly help,” Bowen said.  “I’m more comfortable now at meets like this.”

“Alex doesn’t let the competition get to him,” said Wolin.  “When he went to Mt. Sac last year, it was his first meet with Olympians, and with other top athletes in his event.   He wasn’t scared then, but he was a little in awe, a little anxious.  He hasn’t been since.  He knows now that he can’t affect them, and they can’t affect him.  He’s more sure of himself now.”

Indoor nationals qualifies its athletes differently than outdoor.  Instead of earning a spot at a regional meet, indoor only takes the top 16 athletes in an event.  Bowen’s best jump of the year, 7’-2.5”, places him 13th out of the 16 competitors, though three athletes directly behind him share the same qualifying mark.

Arizona senior Nick Ross holds the top seed for the meet, with a jump of 7’-7”.  Seniors James Harris from Florida State and Marcus Jackson from Mississippi State have jumps of 7’-5.25”.  Bowen’s best mark of 7’-3.25”, which he has done both indoors and outdoors, would be the ninth-best mark in the nation.  Although he is 13th, most of the competitors in front of him have only one jump on the season better than Alex’s best.

“We have goals for nationals,” said Wolin.  “The first goal is to place in the top eight.  The second is to set a new personal best.  The third is to win the meet.”

Bowen led a UAlbany sweep of the top three places in the high jump at the America East Indoor Championships.  He has recorded jumps over seven feet at every indoor meet this year except one, when he jumped 6’-10.75” at the Collegiate Invitational.

“I’d put Alex up against anybody else in the country,” said Wolin.

Bowen has competed head to head against all but five of the athletes he will see at nationals, so the field will be familiar to him.

“We’ve implemented a new approach with Alex, different than what he used last year at outdoor nationals,” said Wolin.  “We’ve been working on it for about 18 months, only in practice, and we had a different approach for meets.  The first time we used it was the RAAC Classic this year, and now we don’t use the other one anymore.  It’s quicker, and it’s more powerful, so it gives Alex a better chance to clear a better height.”

“In practice this year we’ve been working a lot on the smaller things,” Bowen said.  “It’s been coming together slowly, slower than I’d like.  But I’m hoping it will happen when it counts.”

The championships will be held March 14-15 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  ESPN3 will stream the meet live on March 14 starting at 7:55 p.m. Eastern and March 15 starting at 7:50 p.m. Eastern.  A tape delay of the championship will air Saturday, March 22 starting at 6:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU.

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