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WALNUT, Calif. - The University of Colorado track and field team got off to a great start on the first day of competition at the 54th Annual Mt. SAC Relays on Thursday.

Aric Van Halen turned in the best performance of the day when he clocked a lifetime best of 8 minutes, 42.79 seconds in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, making him the sixth fastest performer in CU history. Van Halen finished third in the Olympic development elite section and ran the fastest time by a Buff since Billy Nelson in 2008. (Nelson, an assistant coach for the Buffs, ranks second on the CU performers list.) Van Halen's time was almost 10 seconds faster than his previous PR of 8:52.53 which he ran in 2011.

Jonny Stevens and Hugh Dowdy also ran in the men's steeplechase. Dowdy ran in the 'C' section and placed second with a time of 8:57.62. Stevens raced in the 'B' section and took 10th in 9:06.86. The times were personal bests.

County Bouchet and Diana George both raced in the 'C' section the women's steeplechase, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Each turned in a great performance, improving significantly on their personal bests as they both broke the 11-minute mark. Bouchet recorded a time of 10:42.32 and George finished just behind her in 10:42.79.

Several Buffs also competed in the men's and women's open 1,500-meter run. Andy Wacker finished 20th overall, second in his section, with a PR of 3:48.40. On the women's side, Katie Cumming led the Buffs by placing 35th overall (fifth in the second section) with a time of 4:26.09. Catrina McAlister was 57th (4:30.31), Staci Foster placed 80th (4:33.99) and Nikki Look was 102nd (4:38.82).

The Buffs will continue action at the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays on Friday and several members of the team will compete at the Azusa Pacific Bryan Clay Invitational and the Beach Invitational on Saturday.




Hilmer Lodge Stadium (Walnut, Calif.)

Track Events

Women's Open 1,500-Meters: (1. Ashley Higginson, Saucony, 4:18.50) 35. Katie Cumming, 4:26.09; 57. Catrina McAlister, 4:30.31; 80. Staci Foster, 4:33.99; 102. Nikki Look, 4:38.82

Men's Open 1,500-Meters: (1. Rico Loy, ISU, 3:43.18) 20. Andy Wacker, 3:48.40

Women's Open-C 3,000-Meter Steeplechase: (1. Maddie McClellan, NDSU, 10:31.64) 4. Courtney Bouchet, 10:42.32; 5. Diana George, 10:42.79

Men's Open-C 3,000-Meter Steeplechase: (1. Daniel Sorenson, Shorter, 8:50.48) 2. Hugh Dowdy, 8:57.62

Men's Open-B 3,000-Meter Steeplechase: (1. Allan Schroeder, BSU, 8:54.17) 10. Jonny Stevens, 9:06.86

Men's Open- Olympic Development Elite - 3,000-Meter Steeplechase: (1. Ryan Haebe, WSC, 8:36.46) 3. Aric Van Halen, 8:42.79