May 24, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas - UC Davis sprinter Ashley Marshall and middle distance runners Lauren Wallace and Katie Fry each qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., next month after standout performances on Friday night at the NCAA West Region Preliminary Meet at the University of Texas.
Marshall became the Aggies' first female sprinter to advance to the Div. I national championships after finishing with the eighth-fastest time in the 100-meter dash in 11.70 seconds. Wallace qualified for Eugene in the 800, posting the second-fastest time in 2:04.05, and Fry concluded the evening with a school-record performance in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 9:58.97.
The Aggie trio were among a handful of UC Davis women competing during Friday's meet which was delayed several hours due to thunderstorms. Racing didn't beginning until 6 p.m. CT, three hours after its scheduled start.
The delay didn't hurt Marshall who advanced to the quarterfinal round from Thursday's prelims. She returned on Friday to place third in her heat, earning a top-three finish which guaranteed an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships at the University of Oregon.
She came back later in the meet to open her racing in the 200, qualifying for Saturday's quarterfinals with a second-place finish in the first heat. Marshall crossed in 23.79.
Wallace, who easily advanced during Thursday's 800 prelims, came on strong during the second lap of her quarterfinal on Friday night. She nearly chased down Samantha Murphy of Illinois (2:03.83) before finishing second handily and earning an automatic berth to Eugene.
Fry then capped an impressive day for the UC Davis women's team with a second-place finish in the first heat of the steeplechase. Her time of 9:58.97 smashed her previous school-record time of 10:16.46 set at the Mt. SAC Relays earlier this season and made her the first Aggie woman to break 10 minutes in the event.
All three Aggies won Big West championships this season in their respective events.
"After an opening day that brought some mixed outcomes, we managed to build some good momentum this evening with three national qualifiers," said head coach Drew Wartenburg. "After hours of protracted weather delays, we stressed the importance of focusing on the task at hand - competition - rather than worrying about the conditions or the late hours.
Katie Fry's massive effort to cap the night, which yielded a school record, NCAA qualifier and USA 'A' standard, sets the stage for our remaining athletes on the third and final day on Saturday."
Three other UC Davis athletes were in action during the second day of the regional meet. Senior Melanise Chapman, who advanced to Friday's quarterfinals in the 100, finished 23rd in 12.06. Kayla Carter placed 42nd in the 100 hurdles prelims (14.56) and Emily Bush was 36th in the pole vault prelims (12 feet, 2 inches).
UC Davis' three national qualifiers eclipsed the two it had last season which was the most since the program moved to Div. I for the 2008 season.
NCAA WEST REGION PRELIMINARY ROUND
Austin, Texas (hosted by Univ. of Texas)
Day 2 of 3
UC Davis results only
100 (semis) - 1. English Gardner, Oregon, 11.42... 8. Ashley Marshall, 11.70; 23. Melanise Chapman, 12.06.
200 (prelims) - 1. Paris Daniels, 22.98... T12. Ashley Marshall,
800 (semis) - 1. Samantha Murphy, Illinois, 2:03.88... 2. Lauren Wallace, 2:04.05.
100H (prelims) - 1. Sharika Nelvis, Arkansas St., 13.38... 42. Kayla Carter, 14.56.
Steeplechase (prelims) - .... 2. Katie Fry, 9:58.97
PV (prelims) - 1. Bethany Buell, So. Dakota, 4.11 (13-05.75)... 36. Emily Bush, 3.71 (12-02.00).