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Graves-Johnson, Woodruff travel to Iowa for NCAA Outdoor Championships

Ben Woodruff enters the NCAA Outdoor Championships ranked 10th in the men's javelin.

June 4, 2012

NCAA Championship Central

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LONG BEACH - Seniors Katrina Graves-Johnson (High Jump) and Ben Woodruff (Javelin) will represent the Long Beach State track & field team at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships, June 6-9, in Des Moines, Iowa.

The 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships will be held at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. The 49ers have two athletes competing on Thursday and Friday. This is the third-straight year that LBSU has had multiple entries at the national championships.

Ben Woodruff kicks things off Thursday afternoon in Flight 1 of the men's javelin at 12:30 p.m. (PT), while Katrina Graves-Johnson is set for the women's high jump Friday at 2:30 p.m. (PT). Woodruff enters the meet ranked 10th overall and Graves-Johnson is 23rd.

Both of the 49ers competing at the NCAA Outdoor Championships this weekend have proved that hard work pays off. Senior Katrina Graves-Johnson came to Long Beach State as a walk-on, but in her four years, she developed into an indoor All-American, three-time NCAA West Preliminary qualifier and two-time All-Big West performer, under the tutelage of jumps coach Dave Rodda.

Classmate Ben Woodruff has also made huge strides in his two years at LBSU under the direction of throws coach Cory Loebl. Before transferring to Long Beach State, Woodruff was at El Camino College where he was a pitcher on the baseball team his freshman year and then made the transition to the javelin in 2010. At ECC, his personal best was 185-01. Since becoming a 49er, he has grown into one of the top throwers in the nation. Woodruff is a two-time Big West champion, set a school and conference record and holds an Olympic Trials "B" Standard mark.

Katrina Graves-Johnson (High Jump) has had a memorable senior year. She set the bar high during the indoor campaign, earning second-team All-America recognition by tying for 16th place at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The Monrovia, Calif., native was also the runner-up at the MPSF Indoor Championships and matched a 12-year old school record when she cleared a career-best 5-11.50 at the Husky Classic.

Graves-Johnson continued to shine during the outdoor campaign, garnering All-Big West honors for the second year in a row with a runner-up finish at the conference championships. She also earned her third trip to the NCAA West Preliminaries as she registered a career-high 5-10.75 at both the Mt. SAC Relays and the Steve Scott Invitational. Graves-Johnson then punched her ticket to the NCAA Championships with a 12th-place showing at the regional meet. During the regular season, she was the top finisher at the Cal-Nevada Championships and the Steve Scott Invitational.

Ben Woodruff was named the 2012 Big West Men's Field Athlete of the Year after defending his title in the javelin at the conference championships. Woodruff also finished first in four other meets on the season as he won the Beach Classic, Cal-Nevada Championships, Big West Challenge and Beach Invitational. The Redondo Beach native established a school and league record 243-02 in his victory at the Big West Challenge.

Woodruff, who entered his senior campaign with a then lifetime best of 221-01, has consistently thrown for over 230 feet all year long. The only time he didn't surpass that mark was when he had a toss of 228-03 to come in second at the Triton Invitational. Woodruff advanced to his first-ever NCAA Championships after placing seventh overall at the West Preliminaries (232-04).

Ben Woodruff was named the Big West Men's Field Athlete of the Year, while Jahmani Lockett was selected as the Co-Men's Freshman of the Year. Woodruff defended his Big West title in the javelin at the conference championships (May 11-12). He also established a school and league record with a toss of 243-02 earlier in the season at the Big West Challenge. Lockett was the league champion in the 400m and ran the third leg of the 4x400 relay team that took runner-up honors at the conference meet.

Five 49ers rank among the top 40 in the nation. Ben Woodruff is 11th in the javelin with his lifetime-best 243-02, while Katrina Graves-Johnson is tied for 27th (5-10.75). Chris Lawson moved up to No. 17 in the 400m hurdles after running a personal-record 50.66 at the Big West Championships. Jacob Weintraub is 29th in the discus (183-09) and 39th in the shot put (59-04.25), and Tyler Wallace is 39th in the pole vault (17-03.50).



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