The first round of the NCAA Championships commence today with regional competitions set to take place in Jacksonville, Florida and Sacramento, California. A quartet of female Lions are set to do battle in the California capital, with two running into action today.
First to step on the track will be the busiest individual of all, Lauren Gale. The freshman at Colorado State University will line up in lane five of the sixth in final heat of the 400 metre preliminaries tonight at 10:20pm eastern. Gale, who set a lifetime best of 52.68 at the recent Mountain West Championships as the third fastest seed in her heat. This should come in handy as the first three across the line are guaranteed a spot in Friday’s quarterfinal.
Gale will also see action on each of the Colorado State relays. The Rams’ 4×100 metre relay team has broken school record after school record this season and enters with a seed of 44.12 seconds. That performances ranks them third heading into Saturday’s preliminary race where a top three performance will guarantee them a trip to Austin, Texas for the NCAA Championships. Gale and her 4×400 metre relay teammates will be in a much tougher spot to advance as they come in with the slowest mark in their heat.
Taking to the starting line at 11:10pm eastern will be Erinn Stenman-Fahey as she looks to advance to the next round in the women’s 800 metres. The Iowa State senior is also the third seed in her heat based on her personal best time of 2:05.42 run last month in Arizona. As a four time participant in the West Preliminary, this weekend will mark Stenman-Fahey’s last attempt to secure that elusive spot at the NCAA Championships.
Stenman-Fahey’s Cyclone teammate Keira Christie-Galloway is among the top entries in the 100 metre hurdles which gets underway Friday evening. The Canadian under 20 record holder has been on a tear this season since moving to Ames for her studies. In seven races races so far this year, Christie-Galloway has won all but one, most recently setting a personal best of 13.10 seconds en route to winning the Big 12 Conference title. Christie-Galloway’s prelim run begins at 7:30pm Eastern on Friday.
In just her first year of steeplechasing, Shona McCulloch has found her way to the starting line of her NCAA West Prelim. The University of Washington sophomore produced a personal best of 10:23.02 at the recent PAC 12 Championships to qualify for Sacramento. If McCulloch is to advance to Austin, she will likely need to continue her streak of personal bests which may mean a run at Danelle Woods’ 12 year old Club record of 10:13.98.
At the East Prelim in Florida, Lion alum Alejandro Zapata will run the 400 metres for Liberty University. Zapata, who ranks third in club history at 400 metres, enters this weekend’s competition with a seed of 45.56 seconds and is a favourite to qualify on to Austin.
For West Prelim Results, click here.
For East Prelim Results, click here.