TAMPA, Fla. – Caleb Corprew has added an historic first to his long list of record-breaking accomplishments at Belmont University. The senior hurdler will be the first Belmont men's track and field athlete to compete at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships.
Corprew (Midwest City, Okla.) qualified for NCAA Nationals on Friday in the 400-meter hurdles with his fastest performance yet at the NCAA East Preliminary Championships. Corprew cut more than half a second off his existing Belmont-record time, finishing eighth overall in 50.50 seconds at the University of South Florida. Fellow Bruin Declan McManus was also in action Friday and finished 27th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
The NCAA Outdoor Championships will be held in Eugene, Ore., starting on June 6.
The top three finishers in each of the East Region's three heats, along with the next three best overall times, all advanced to the national stage. Corprew's legs gave out has he lunged across the finish line to place third in his heat. He'd given it everything he had.
"When I was 17 years old, I made it my mission to be a national qualifier and an All-American," Corprew said. "I've never gotten even close to either of those, but it's all happening right now. This has been a life goal. It's such a good feeling."
Corprew becomes the first Belmont track athlete to qualify for Nationals since distance runner Hannah Wittman made as part of the women's team in 2016. The Bruins have had four women make five total appearances at Nationals, but Corprew will be the first male to compete.
He is the second member of the Belmont men's team to qualify though. William Kemey did so in the 10,000 meters in 2003, but he did not travel to Nationals due to injury.
"It's a special moment for me," Corprew said of his place in Belmont history. "Nobody thought a Belmont Bruin would be running a 50.5. I'm so appreciative of my coaches, teammates and all the Belmont alumni who have helped get me to this point. I wouldn't be here without them."
Corprew trimmed his school record in the 400 hurdles four times in the past three weeks, cutting nearly two full seconds from where it was at 52.28.
"On May 4, we weren't even sure Caleb would qualify for the prelims. What a great testament to hard work and belief in himself and his coach," said Belmont Track and Field Program Director Jeff Langdon.
Corprew's 50.50 also matches the qualifying standard for the USA Track and Field Championships, which will be held in Des Moines, Iowa, from June 21-24.
At Eugene, Corprew will close a collegiate career that's included six school records and three conference titles. Regardless of what happens at his final meet in two weeks, Corprew has cemented his place as one of the most successful Belmont track and field athletes in program history.
"He keeps finding ways to blow away my expectations," said Belmont Associate Head Track Coach Cameron Harvey, who coaches the hurdlers. "Nationals is a fitting place to end his college career. I know he doesn't just want to participate, he wants to make some noise. Let people know who Caleb Corprew is and put Belmont track on the big stage."
McManus (Worcestershire, England), a sophomore, finished outside the range of National qualification in the steeplechase in his first trip to the East Prelims. The top three racers in that event also advanced and McManus crossed in 11th.
His time of 9:03.96 wasn't his fastest of the year, but would be in the school-record range that existed prior to his time at Belmont. He owns the top mark among Bruins at 8:57.62.
"It was a really tough race and went out a lot quicker than I expected," McManus said. "I'm glad I kept battling to come away with 26th overall. It was a great experience and important for going into Regionals in the future."
Belmont's stay at the Regional comes to a close Saturday with junior Corey Claiborne (Alpharetta, Ga.). He'll throw the shot put, an event scheduled for 5:30 p.m. (EDT).
NCAA track and field fans can watch a live stream online of the NCAA East and/or West Preliminary Championships as FloTrack Pro subscribers. The subscription will include access to all FloTrack live broadcasts, video on-demand from all events, documentaries, technique videos and more. Coverage of the preliminary competitions will be available Thursday through Saturday HERE.
Live results can also be viewed online HERE.