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Kal keeps running: Season extended by trip to race in NCAA regionals

University of Iowa freshman and former Shelter Island track star, Kal Lewis, was notified this week that he qualified for the West Preliminary Round of the 2021 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 Track and Field Championships at Texas A&M University.

The NCAA is divided into East and West Regions. Preliminary competitions are scheduled for May 26-29. 

The University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. will host the East Preliminary and Texas A&M in College Station will host the West Preliminary. Qualifiers out of the regions will compete in the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships scheduled for June 9-12 in Eugene, Ore. 

Lewis’s 3:43.42 clocking for 1,500-meters earlier this season earned him the trip to College Station.

The field in the West Region is loaded. Forty-eight athletes qualified for the 1,500. They will be divided into four heats of 12 each. Of the 48 qualifiers, 28 have run equivalent to a sub-4-minute-mile this year. Lewis’s best time for 1,500 equates to a 4:01 mile.

That time seeds him just 39th in the field and 10th in his heat, but the experience gained by competing at the NCAA Championships as a freshman is priceless, and will provide the young Hawkeye a great opportunity to be pulled to a very fast time. 

His chances of qualifying for the trip to Oregon are very slim this year, but the experience will bring Lewis one step closer to that time when he will make it to the finals.