AUSTIN, Texas - University of Colorado junior Joe Morris got the track and field team off to a good start on Thursday at the NCAA West Preliminary Championships, advancing to the quarterfinals in the 100-meter dash.
Morris clocked a personal best time of 10.31 seconds to finish third in his section of the 100, 13th overall, and automatically advanced to the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon. The time ranks seventh on CU's all-time performance list and is the fastest run by a Buffalo since Jeremy Dodson in 2008. He will race in the 100 quarterfinals, as well as the first round of the 200 on Friday.
"Joe was probably the highlight of the day," coach Mark Wetmore said. "Getting through was kind of expected in this first round, but to run 10.31, his best time ever, in breezy conditions after a long hot day, was a nice run for him."
Three other Buffs advanced in their respective events on Thursday. Adam Salzmann advanced to the quarterfinals in the 400-meter hurdles. He had the 24th best time of the afternoon, crossing the finish in 52.33. Katie Cumming moved on to the quarterfinal round in the 1,500 after clocking a time of 4:26.00. Both the 1,500 and 400-hurdle quarterfinals are on Saturday. Liz Tremblay finished the 800 in 2:08.75, third in her heat and 17th overall, to earn a spot in the quarterfinals on Friday.
"Adam, Liz and Katie got through, although it's only to the next round and not to Des Moines yet," Wetmore said. "They probably weren't on the form chart but each had a nice race and did a good job to advance."
The Buffs raced the 10,000-meter run at the end of the night in extremely hot and humid conditions as the high was in the 90s during the day. CU didn't advance any of its participants to the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, June 6-9, as just the top 12 finishers qualified.
"The first couple of years of this meet, which used to be called regionals, the 10,000-meter runners advanced the same way as the decathlon and heptathlon athletes do on a descending order list and I would rather it be that way," Wetmore said. "We are here in Austin and the other meet is in Florida and it's in the 90s in both places. It's abusive to have the athletes run a 10k in these conditions."
Andy Wacker led the men, finishing 18th overall in 30:51.62. Christian Thompson placed 23rd (31:00.93) and Martin Medina took 37th (31:45.31). Rachel Viger had a good race on the women's side, finishing 22nd overall. She recorded a time of 35:49.79.
"Rachel managed these tough conditions very well," Wetmore said. "She ran conservatively to begin with. She is brilliant, a 4.00 student, and she calculated the physics of the whole thing and out foxed quite a few people. She managed the conditions well and did better than expected. It was a nice run for her."
The NCAA West Preliminary Championships will continue Friday and Saturday at the Mike A. Myers Stadium.
2012 NCAA WEST PRELIMINARY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Mike A. Myers Stadium (Austin, Texas)
Men's 400-Meter Hurdles - first round: (1. Reggie Wyatt, USC, 50.33) 24. Adam Salzmann, 52.33q; 37. Kyle MacIntosh, 53.20
Women's 400-Meter Hurdles - first round: (1. Kianna Elahi, ISU, 57.37) 32. Brianne Beemer, 1:00.79
Men's 1,500-Meters - first round: (1. Rob Finnerty, Wisconsin, 3:45.98) 26. Matt Biegner, 3:52.58; 36. Blake Theroux, 3:58.33
Women's 1,500-Meters - first round: (1. Katie Flood, Washington, 4:22.02) 14. Katie Cumming, 4:26.00q; 32. Camille Logan, 4:34.58
Men's 100-Meters - first round: (1. Aaron Brown, USC, 10.13) 13. Joe Morris, 10.31q
Women's 400-Meters - first round: (1. Regina George, Arkansas, 52.38) 46. Eileen Gehring, 56.34
Women's 800-Meters - first round: (1. Justine Fedronic, Stanford, 2:06.07) 17. Liz Tremblay, 2:08.75q
Men's 10,000-Meters -semifinals: (1. Cameron Levins, SUU, 29:58.44) 18. Andy Wacker, 30:51.62; 23. Christian Thompson, 31:00.93; 37. Martin Medina, 31:45.31
Women's 10,000-Meters - semifinals: (1. Aliphine Tuliamuk, Wichita State, 33:31.54) 22. Rachel Viger, 35:49.79; Jana Stolting, DNF
Women's Long Jump -first round: (1. Christabel Nettey, ASU, 21-06.25) t33. Brittany Lewis, 19-01.25