JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WHTM) – On the first day of competition for Penn State’s track and field women at the 2023 NCAA East Region Preliminaries, Mallory Kauffman earned a spot in the National Championships in the shot put for the second year in a row.

The senior finished fifth on Thursday with a throw of 56-4.25 (17.18m) in her last attempt. The mark was just one centimeter from her outdoor school record.

In addition to Kauffman punching her ticket to the National Championship in Austin, the track and field women also broke a school record.

Rachel Gearing set the new Penn State school record in the 800-meter run, finishing in the top qualifying spot with her time of 2:02.44. Gearing surpassed Danar Rivers for the record and will compete in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Hailey Zurich tied for 14th in the pole vault, just missing the National Championships, but putting up a season-best 13-6.25 (4.12m).

The competition in Jacksonville continues Saturday when Tyler Merkley participates in the discus throw.

“We had some other athletes perform very well today and we’re pleased with Penn State’s efforts,” said head coach John Gondak. “We’re excited to be back tomorrow with the men’s championship portion of the meet.”