May 24, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas - Sarah Sumpter became the first woman in UC Davis' five-year NCAA Division I track and field history to qualify for the NCAA Championship Finals when she finished 12th on Thursday night in the 10,000-meter run at the NCAA West Prelim Meet at the University of Texas.
Sumpter, the Big West Women's Track Athlete of the Year, secured the last qualifying spot for the national finals which will be held at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa next month. She was timed in 34 minutes, 24.87 seconds. almost three seconds ahead of Weber State's Sarah Callister who was 13th.
Sumpter was one of two Aggies to advance past opening races on Thursday, joining sprinter Melanise Chapman who blazed to a wind-aided 11.55 seconds in the 100 to qualify for Friday's national quarterfinals and a chance to join Sumpter in Iowa.
In all, seven UC Davis competitors were in action during the first day of action at Mike A. Myers Stadium nearly all equaled or bettered regional rankings they entered with.
Sumpter holds the UC Davis and Big West Conference records in the 10,000 and is coming off a league title on May 12. She was in a battle for the final berths to nationals but came on strong to grab the last one.
"Sarah found herself in the unenviable position of bouncing between 11th and 13th place before locking up a trip to the national championships on the final lap of the race," said Aggie coach Drew Wartenburg.
Chapman, who holds the school record (11.67) in the 100 but entered the regional ranked 28th with a wind-aided mark of 11.59 seconds, finished fourth in her race with only the top three in each of the six heats guaranteed to move on to the next round. The remaining nine berths went to the next nine fastest times and Chapman's 11.55 was fourth in that group. She had the 19th-fastest time overall.
Chapman, who will compete in the first round of the 200 on Friday evening, will race in the 100-meter quarterfinals at 4:45 p.m. (PDT) on Friday as well. The top three finishers in each of those 100-meter races plus the next three fastest times will advance to the national semifinals in Iowa.
Krista Drechsler finished 39th in the grueling 10,000 in 37:37.60, bringing to a close her outstanding season. Freshman Katie Fry was the only other Aggie woman to compete on Friday, finishing 42nd in the 800 in 2:11.38 and beating her seed of No. 44.
All three UC Davis men in Thursday's action did not advance but each also eclipsed their regional ranking as well. Senior Brock Bennett went 61.52 meters (201 feet, 10 inches) in the javelin to finish 25th for his third-best mark of the season. Sophomore Brandon Greenberg placed 38th in the shot put at 16.71 meters (54-10.00), tying his second-best mark of the spring. Nathan Strum was 42nd in the 1,500 (4:02.66) to round out UC Davis' competitors.
"Day 1 brought a mix of first-time regional performances and some solid efforts from our veterans," Wartenburg said. "The opportunity for freshman and sophomores like Brandon Greenberg, Nathan Strum and Katie Fry to perform on the regional stage represents an investment in the future, while Melanise Chapman advancing in the 100 showcases her continued development.
"Solidifying the first berth to nationals for an Aggie woman adds to the list of accomplishments for the women this year and the next two days bring plenty of chances for more moments to shine," he added
Besides Chapman, the Aggie women will have pole vaulter Emily Bush, who set a school record at 4.02 meters (13-2.25) at the Woody Wilson Classic, and Big West discus champion Ashley Hearn competing on Friday. Igor Seriba will compete in the triple jump for the UC Davis men.
NCAA WEST PRELIM
Austin, Texas (hosted by Univ. of Texas)
Mike A. Myers Stadium
Day 1 of 3
UC Davis results only
1500 - 2. Robert Finnerty, Wisconsin, 3:45.98... 42. Nathan Strum, 4:02.66.
SP - 1. Hayden Baillio, Texas, 19.92 (65-04.25)... 38. Brandon Greenberg, 16.71 (54-10.00).
JT - 1. Sam Humphreys, Texas A&M, 77.94 (255-08)... 25. Brock Bennett, 61.52 (201-10).
100 - 1. Paris Daniels, Kansas, 11.23... 19. Melanise Chapman, 11.55.
800 - 1. Justine Fredonic, Stanford, 2:06.07... 42. Katie Fry, 2:11.38.
10,000 - 1. Aliphine Tuliamuk, Wichita State, 33:31.54... 12. Sarah Sumpter, 34:24.87; 39. Krista Drechsler, 37:37.60.