EUGENE, Ore. – Aric Van Halen finished his track and field career at the University of Colorado by earning All-America First Team honors with an eighth-place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday night at the NCAA Championships at Historic Hayward Field.
Van Halen, the 2013 Pac-12 Champion, finished in 8:44.50 to earn his best placing at nationals; his previous best finish was 10th in 2012 when he was named to the All-America Second Team.
The top three finishers went to the start from the gun and immediately pulled away from the rest of the field. The other nine racers ran together for the majority of the race and Van Halen was right near the front of that pack and led the group for four laps until just before the field entered the bell lap. It was right before that lap that he dropped down to around eighth which is where he would finish.
The top three finished very closely. UTEP’s Anthony Rotich won in 8:21.19 and Texas A&M’s Henry Lelei, the overall favorite, ended up second after taking a spill in the final water jump (8:23.16). Arkansas’ Staney Kebenei was third in 8:24.45. Curtis Carr (BYU) was the next to cross the finish in 8:40.87. The following four finishers were separated by less than 1.5 seconds. Dakota Peachee (High Point) was fifth in 8:43.04, Louisville’s Mattias Wolter was sixth (8:43.59) and Eastern Kentucky’s Ole Hesselbjerg was seventh (8:43.80). Van Halen beat out Wichita State’s Tomas Cotter for the eighth position by .60 seconds (8:45.10).
In the high jump, Mark Jones made his first attempt over the bar at 6-8.75, but missed all three tries at 6-10.75. He tied with two others for 21st overall as all three made it over 6-8.75 on their first attempt. He’s the first Buff since Jason Dudley in 1990 to qualify for the NCAA Championships in the high jump.
Emma Coburn will wrap up the championships on Saturday afternoon for the Buffs in the women’s steeplechase. She will be going for her second title in the event as she won the championship in 2011 before redshirting the 2012 season. Coburn’s final is at 2:57 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on ESPNU. Live stats will also be available at www.flashresults.com.
NCAA Outdoor Championships Schedule (CU Events Only)
Historic Hayward Field (Eugene, Ore.)
Men’s 3,000-Meter Steeplechase Finals: (1. Anthony Rotich, UTEP, 8:21.19) 8. Aric Van Halen, 8:44.50
Men’s High Jump Finals: (1. Derrick Drouin, Indiana, 7-8) t21. Mark Jones, 6-8.75