DES MOINES, Iowa - Junior Aric Van Halen qualified for the finals in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase on Thursday after finishing eighth in the second heat of the semifinals at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Van Halen's time of 8 minutes, 42.55 seconds, also a lifetime best, placed him 13th overall, just making the finals as only 14 qualified. The finals are scheduled for Saturday at 10:52 a.m. (MST).
He started the race in the back of the pack, but was able to move up pretty smoothly to run with the lead pack. With about 800 meters remaining in the race, he took the lead, but shortly after dropped back as the field entered the bell lap. Van Halen dug deep and was able to earn a spot in the final round despite not getting one of the top five automatic qualifying positions in the section.
The University of Colorado will have a female in the finals of the steeplechase too. Shalaya Kipp will run on Friday for a chance to win her first NCAA title in the event at 5:30 p.m. The Buffs have won four of the last six women's titles.
The championships will go through Saturday, June 9 and the entire championships will be streamed live on ESPN3.com. Saturday's events also will be televised on ESPNU in a window beginning at 11 a.m. Live results can be accessed on NCAA.com, GoDrakeBulldogs.com and flashresults.com.
2012 NCAA OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Jim Duncan Track (Des Moines, Iowa)
Men's Steeplechase (semifinals): (1. Donn Cabral, Princeton, 8:38.12) 13. Aric Van Halen, 8:42.55