VILLANOVA, Pa.--The accepted athletes for the NCAA preliminary meets were announced Thursday afternoon and Villanova will be represented by redshirt freshman Logan Wetzel (Saline, Mich.) and sophomore Ville Lampinen (Vantaa, Finland) at the East Preliminary meet in Lexington, Ky. next week. The regional meet runs from May 25-27 at the UK Outdoor Track and Field Complex on the Kentucky campus. Wetzel is a qualifier in the 1500 meters, while Lampinen will compete in the 800 meters for the second straight year.
Entries for the East and West preliminary meets include the top 48 declared athletes in each region for individual events, as well as the top 24 declared 4x100 and 4x400 meter relay squads. Lampinen came in fifth in his national first round heat of the 800 meters as a freshman last season, while Wetzel will be making his debut at the preliminary meet.
Wetzel is one of the feel-good stories for the Wildcats this season, having made a return to top form after missing a year of competition due to injury. He won the BIG EAST title in the 1500 meters at last week’s conference championships, while also anchoring Villanova to a BIG EAST crown in the 4x800 meter relay. Wetzel ran a personal best time of 3:45.11 in the 1500 meters at the Larry Ellis Invitational last month, and he is ranked 33rd among the 48 accepted entries for the NCAA East Preliminary meet. He also ran a 1600 meter split of 4:01.86 on the anchor leg of the distance medley relay at the Penn Relays.
A highly-touted recruit when he arrived on campus in the fall of 2015, Wetzel sustained an injury to the cartilage in his kneecap in January of 2016 and did not make his official Wildcats debut until just over 12 months later. He competed at the Villanova Open on January 27 and posted a time of 4:14.41 in the Mile. He lowered the mark to 4:09.90 at another home meet one week later, then posted splits of 4:01.54 and 4:00.76 on the anchor leg of the DMR at the UCS Invitational in February and the NCAA Championships in March.
The national first round heats of the 1500 meters take place on Thursday, May 25 at 6 p.m., while the quarterfinal heats are scheduled for Saturday, May 27 at 6:45 p.m.
Lampinen’s top time of the season in the 800 meters is 1:49.91 in a race at the Larry Ellis Invitational. During the Penn Relays, he ran 800 meter splits of 1:47.81 on the distance medley relay and 1:49.72 on the 4x800 meter relay. His top collegiate time in an open race is 1:48.89 last outdoor season which he ran at both the Hurricane Alumni Invitational and the Larry Ellis meet. Lampinen was the runner-up in the 800 meters at the BIG EAST Championships last weekend and also earned All-BIG EAST honors as part of the Wildcats third-place 4x400 meter relay squad.
As a freshman last season, Lampinen anchored Villanova to a BIG EAST title in the 4x400 relay and also finished third in the 800 meters at the conference meet. He went on to compete in the national first round heats at the NCAA East Preliminary and recorded a time of 1:50.90 in that heat. Lampinen was also a first team All-American indoors this year in the distance medley relay.
The national first round of the 800 meters takes place on May 25 at 8:35 p.m., while the quarterfinal heats will be on May 26 at 6:45 p.m.