NCAA regionals begin this week - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

NCAA regionals begin this week

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The east prelims of the NCAA Track and Field Championships open Thursday in Lexington, Kentucky.  Montgomery, Vermont's Elle Purrier, now a junior at New Hampshire, is ranked first in the nation in the steeplechase.  Purrier, who finished third at the NCAAs last season, has the fastest time in the country by seven seconds and is feeling strong heading into the prelims.  

"I had a pretty good run at the beginning of the season," Purrier said.  "I opened up with a PR (personal record) in the steeplechase, which is super exciting.  I really just like focusing on my training, and believing in that.  I feel good and I feel like I'm in good shape and I'm excited for the rest of the season."

A pair of Catamounts of bound for the Bluegrass State as well.  Thetford Center's Ian Weider competes in the long jump Thursday.  Ed Simon of Fairfax is in the pole vault Friday.  Weider, a senior, is heading to the NCAA prelims for the second year in a row.  Simon qualifies for the first time as a grad student, so they are bringing different perspectives with them into this week's competition.  

"Obviously I started to have a little bit of doubt after not making it the first four years, but I was lucky enough to get a fifth year opportunity and to finally make it was thrilling, honestly, to finally get there,"  Simon said.

"I have been there before, so I kind of know what to expect and I've been pretty fortunate in my last four years here," Weider said. "I typically get six jumps and right now everybody here only gets three, so I've got to make them count."

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