JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Southeastern Louisiana’s hammer duo of Alex Young and Jonathan Kinchen cut things a little close in the NCAA East preliminary rounds on Thursday.

But when Young and Kinchen needed big throws to earn a trip to the NCAA championships next month in Eugene, Oregon, they responded and finished in the top 12 of their event.

In danger of not making it to Eugene, Young unleashed a throw of 216 feet, 4 inches on his third of three attempts and Kinchen did the same with a toss of 212-7, highlighting the first day of the meet for athletes from state schools other than LSU.

The throw for Young, who is also entered in the shot put, was a season’s best.

Later Thursday night, Tulane’s Devon Breaux earned his spot as well when he finished 11th in the long jump with a best of 24-9¾.

Two other state athletes made it as well Thursday: Louisiana Tech’s Jarrett Samuels was ninth in the men’s long jump at 24-10 and Northwestern State’s Ashley Aldredge claimed the 12th and final spot in the women’s javelin with a best of 158-0.

Three other state athletes advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals in the preliminary heats of their running events.

Tulane’s Lilla McMillan finished second in her heat of the 400 meters in 53.05 seconds and automatically advanced to the quarterfinals, while Louisiana-Monroe’s Jamel Sams advanced in the 400 hurdles with a time of 51.78 seconds.

In the 100, Northwestern State’s Amir James (10.43), Grambling’s Kameron Cowan (10.44) and UL-Lafayette’s Hanoj Carter (10.51) all advanced and will get a chance to earn spots in Eugene on Friday.

Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.