Oakes Sets School Record; Qualifies for Nationals

Durham, N.C.--True freshman, Ryan Oakes (Maysville, N.C.) set a new school record and NCAA Division II national qualifying mark in the men's pole vault at the Duke Twilight meet on the campus of Duke University. His jump of 16ft - 1in (4.90m) places him 18th in the event nationally. Oakes finished second in the event and improved his personal best in the vault by a foot.

"I'm extremely proud of Ryan and what he's accomplished this year," said head track coach Scott Myers. "It's not often that a true freshman will come in and make such big improvements in their first year. Like many freshmen through the years, Ryan set a goal in the beginning of the year to qualify for nationals. The difference with Ryan is that he understood the enormous challenge it is to get to the NCAA National Championships and dedicated himself everyday to meet that challenge."

Four other athletes also competed at the Duke Twilight Meet. Alan Bachman (Nanjemoy, Md.) completed a terrific first year on the track for LMC in the men's 400m dash. Brad Tanis (Midland Park, N.J.) continued his improvement in the men's 400m hurdles. Seniors Josh Blanc (Hope Mills, N.C.) and Lewis Martin (Charlottesville, Va.) capped off a brilliant senior year and ran their final collegiate races. Blanc set a personal best in the steeplechase while Martin narrowly missed breaking the 15-minute barrier in the men's 5,000m run.

With this meet the Lees-McRae College men's track and field team completes their season. Bachman and Oakes must await word if they made the final entry list for the 2008 NCAA Division II Outdoor National Track & Field Championship. The national meet is scheduled to be run May 22-24 in Walnut, California on the campus of Mt. San Antonio College.