FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Three University of Colorado outdoor track performers advanced to later stages here Thursday on the first day of the NCAA Outdoor Track West Preliminaries.
Junior Jake Hurysz and freshman Ben Saarel shined in their 1,500-meter run heats and both advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinals.
Hurysz won the third heat in a 3:43.09 time, with Wisconsin’s Austin Mudd second in 3:43.66; the four runners behind the Badger junior were separated by just eight one-hundredths of a second.
Hurysz recorded his second fastest time of the spring in the event (he ran a 3:42.53 at the Mt. SAC Relays last month), and his winning margin -- .57 of a second – could be considered a rout compared to the other three heats, which were decided by .10, .05 and .18 seconds, or a third of a second (.33) combined. He was in third after the 300- and 700-meter splits, but caught and passed Mudd by the 1,100-meter mark.
Saarel finished second in the second heat in a 3:42.89 clocking, just five one-hundredths back of Washington’s Nick Harris, who posted the fastest time of all 48 competitors Thursday (3:42.84). It was the CU frosh’s second fastest 1500 time of his young career (he logged a 3:41.54 in April at the Bryan Clay Invitational), and he led at the 300-, 700- and 1100-meter splits, but Harris, a fellow freshman, was able to edge him at the end.
Saarel’s time was the third fastest overall, while Hurysz’ was eighth. Both will race in Saturday’s quarterfinal, just an hour and a half before they will race in the 5,000-meter semifinal with three other Buffaloes.
The Buffaloes had three participants in the semifinals of the men’s 10,000-meter run, the top 12 finishers earning the chance to move on to nationals in two weeks in Eugene. Senior Joe Bosshard ran a strong race and finished sixth in 29:34.49, thus advancing to the finals. Running in just his third 10K after missing the first half of the outdoor season with an injury, Bosshard almost matched his time earlier this month at the Pac-12 Championships (29:26.25) which earned him a third place finish.
Sophomore Pierce Murphy just missed joining Bosshard in Eugene, finishing 13th in 29:42.22, his season best by some 38-plus seconds and six seconds shy of his personal best. But what stung the most was that the 12th and final spot after 6.2 miles of dueling in in the second group behind the two leaders eluded him by less than a second – 92/100ths to be exact. Junior Morgan Pearson rounded out the Buff trio, finishing 34th in a 31:03.99 time. Texas Tech’s Kennedy Kithuka won the race in a West Preliminary record time of 29:05.77.
“The guys in the 1,500 ran it very businesslike, got through it comfortably and hopefully they can do the same on Saturday,” CU head coach Mark Wetmore said. “We’re all very happy and excited for Joe; he had a long line of interruptions and only recently got healthy. He worked hard to get back, and for him to get through into the NCAA’s after missing March and April is very rewarding for him and a relief for all us.”
“Pierce missed just by one spot, and an aficionado of the sport would look at the people ahead of him and note that it was an extremely loaded field,” Wetmore continued. “So there’s going to be good things coming from him later.”
In the women’s 10K semifinal, Abby Levene, who is a graduate student in Environmental Journalism after graduating from Princeton last year, closed out her collegiate 10k career with a 32nd place finish in 35:41.64; Iowa State’s Katy Moen pulled away and won in 34:02.98. Levene was hanging around amongst the leaders for the first half of the race until a pack of 13 separated themselves and she eventually fell back.
“For Abby, unfortunately it wasn’t a good day for her,” Wetmore said. “We just didn’t get the recipe right for her.” Levene will get another chance, however, as she is entered in Saturday's 5,000.
Senior Liz Tremblay closed out a fine career Thursday in what turned out to be her final collegiate race. She finished 26th in the 800-meter run with a 2:09.58 time; among the lead pack for most of her heat, the eventual top three broke from the group at the final turn. She missed advancing to Friday’s quarterfinals by less than a second (.85). Stanford’s Amy Weissenbach posted the fastest time out of the six heats at 2:05.87, with Pac-12 schools advancing 10 of the 24 competitors into Friday’s race.
“She missed by two spots; at 2:06, it’s a tragedy but not as much at 2:09 when it wasn’t one of her better races of the year,” Wetmore noted. “But she was in it, she gave it her all but just couldn’t respond over the last 200.”
Sophomore Abrianna Torres was the first Buffalo to compete here, as the long jump was one of the initial events of opening day. Her first two attempts covered 18 feet and a half-inch followed by 18 feet and a quarter-inch; she registered her best effort, a leap of 18 feet and 7 inches, on her third try, her sixth-best jump this spring. However, only the top 16 jumps would qualify for three more tries and the cutoff wound up being 19 feet, 11¾ inches. Oregon’s Jenna Prandini won the event with a 21-4¼ jump on her second try; she fouled on her first attempt and then passed the remainder of the day.
The second of the three days of NCAA preliminary action continues Friday, with CU athletes entered in the men’s hammer throw (Alex Kizirian); the 110-high and 400 intermediate hurdles (Jaron Thomas); the 200-meter dash (Shaw Gifford); and the men’s and women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase (Shalaya Kipp, Melanie Nun and Blake Theroux). Kipp was the 2012 NCAA champion in the event.
NCAA West Preliminary Results
(Events featuring Colorado Entries Only)
Women’s Long Jump (Top 12 advanced to Quarterfinals In Eugene)—1. Jenna Prandini, Oregon, 21-4¼; 2. Lorraine Ugen, TCU, 20-10¾; 3. Tamara Myers, Arkansas, 20-8½; 12. Jazmin McCoy, Nebraska, 19-11¾. CU Result: 36. Abrianna Torres, 18-7.
Men’s 1500-Meter Run (four heats; top five from each plus next four times advanced to Saturday quarterfinals) —1. Nick Harris, Washington, 3:42.84; 2. Lai Lalang, Arizona, 3:42.85; 3. Ben Saarel, CU, 3:42.89; 4. Daniel Winn, Oregon, 3:42.95; 5. John Simons, Minnesota, 3:43.03; 6 (tie). Thomas Joyce, California, and Chad Noelle, Oklahoma State, 3:43.08; 8. Jake Hurysz, CU, 3:43.09; 9. Sam Penzenstadler, Loyola, Ill., 3:42.25; 10. Alex Hatz, Wisconsin, 3:43.36.
Women’s 800-Meter Run (six heats; top three from each plus next six times advanced to Friday quarterfinals) —1. Amy Weissenbach, Stanford, 2:05.87; 2. Shea Martinez, BYU, 2:05.98; 3. Laura Roesler, Oregon, 2:06.38; 4. Sonia Gaskin, Kansas State, 2:06.43; 5. Annie Leblanc, Oregon, 2:06.60; 6. Annette Eichenberger, Air Force, 2:06.65; 7. Ashly Wright, UTSA, 2:06.78; 8. Katie Hoaldridge, Texas, 2:06.82; 9. Auzsane Crowe-Carter, UNLV, 2:07.14; 10. Abby Regan, Washington State, 2:07.44. CU Result: 26. Liz Tremblay, 2:09.58.
Men’s 10,000-Meter Run (Top 12 advanced to Championship Finals in Eugene)—1. Kennedy Kithuka, Texas Tech 29:05.77; ; 2. Edward Cheserek, Oregon, 29:06.99; 3. Parker Stinson, Oregon, 29:26.87; 4. Jim Rosa, Stanford, 29:33.56; 5. Chris Enriquez, Long Beach State, 29:33.74; 6. Joe Bosshard, CU, 29:34.49; 5. 7. Mohammed Ahmed, Wisconsin, 29:35.29; 8. Trevor Dunbar, Oregon, 29:35.59; 9. Luke Caldwell, New Mexico, 29:35.83; 10. Shadrack Kipchirchir, Oklahoma State, 29:37.79; 11. Adam Bitchell, New Mexico, 29:40.35; 12. Jason Witt, BYU, 29:41.30. CU Finishers: 13. Pierce Murphy, 29:42.22; 34. Morgan Pearson, 31:03.99
Women’s 10,000-Meter Run (Top 12 advanced to Championship Finals in Eugene)—1. Katy Moen, Iowa State, 34:02.98; 2. Emma Bates, Boise State, 34:06.99; 3. Elvin Kibet, Arizona, 34:07.85 4. Olivia Mickle, Texas, 34:08.53; 5. Jana Soethout, USF, 34:09.69; 6. Kaitlyn Fisher, Missouri, 34:12.44; 7.Megan Goethals, Washington, 34:17.29; 8. Sheree Shea, Loyola-Marymount, 34:17.53; 9. Kristen Busch, Bradley, 34:18.24; 10. Lindsay Flanagan, Washington, 34:18.25; 11.Kelsey Santisteban, Cal, 34:19.59; 12. Cali Roper, Rice, 34:33.16. CU Finisher: 32. Abby Levene, 35:41.64.