May 30, 2014
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Ashley Marshall advanced to her second straight NCAA Division I Track and Field Finals in the 100-meter dash on Friday at the NCAA West Region Prelim Meet while Nathan Strum barely missed qualifying in the 800.
Marshall came back a little more than 90 minutes later to advance to Saturday's quarterfinals of the 200. Strum had a PR of 1 minute, 49.18 seconds to place 13th overall, just one spot out of a berth to the NCAA Finals.
Marshall and Strum were two of seven Aggie men and women in action at the regional meet, being held at the University of Arkansas, which serves as the opening rounds of the national championship.
Racing in the third and final heat of the 100 and with a good spot in lane 4, Marshall finished fourth in 11.47 seconds. The top three in each heat, along with the next three fastest times, qualified for the NCAA Finals in Eugene, Ore., next month.
She finished with the sixth-fastest time overall - and fastest among those that didn't automatically advance - to earn a berth to the NCAA Finals for the second consecutive year. She is two-time defending Big West champion in both the 100 and 200.
"Ashley brings a familiarity with national-level competition with her to the line when she races, and as we see each year, previous experience at this level can be the difference-maker when striving for a top-12 finish," said head coach Drew Wartenburg.
Marshall took fourth in her first-round heat of the 200 later in the evening in 23.80 seconds. She was 18th overall and second-fastest among the six competitors who did not automatically qualify for Saturday's 24-person national quarterfinal. She'll race at 5:50 p.m. (PDT).
Strum used a big kick to race from the back of the pack on Thursday to earn a spot in the quarterfinal round of the men's 800 on Friday. He used the same strategy on Friday, roaring from last place after 400 meters to make his move over the final 200 meters.
He put himself in position along the rail as he made a big surge down the stretch, but was unable to sneak into the top three which would've delivered an automatic berth to Oregon. Still, Strum's time of 1:49.18 held up until the last heat before he was edged out for the final spot. His PR moved him one spot to No. 2 all-time at UC Davis.
Karl Moran was a double-qualifier for the regional meet in the 110 high hurdles and 400 hurdles and moved through to the quarterfinals of the latter on Thursday. He had a first-round race in the 110's on Friday but did not advance, crossing in 14.71.
Moran returned to the track a little while later for the 400 hurdles, finishing fifth in his heat and 16th overall in 51.05 seconds. That was barely off his career-best 51.03 from Thursday's opening round.
Marcus Johnson came back after racing the 100 on Thursday to compete in the 200 on Friday against a high-caliber field. He was timed in 21.76 but was unable to advance to the quarterfinals.
Like Moran, Johnson and Marshall, the Aggies' Leslie Reed was an individual two-event regional qualifier. She followed up her competition in Thursday's 100 by racing on Friday in the 200. She was timed in 25.26 and was unable to move on.
Cekarri Nixon was also looking to punch her ticket to the NCAA Finals after her amazing 400 race on Thursday in which she set a school record at 53.26 seconds. She placed 21st on Friday in 54.10 against an elite field.
Sophomore Catherine Li was the final UC Davis athlete in action on Friday. She was making her first appearance in the triple jump after winning the Big West title two weeks ago. Li was 38th at the regional meet with a jump of 38 feet, 6 inches.
"After an opening day that saw us move some people into the second round while others capped their seasons, qualifying one athlete through for the national meet was a positive from Thursday's events," Wartenburg said. "Day 3 brings a fairly full slate of events for us, and with it the opportunity to put some individuals and relay teams in the hunt for a trip to Eugene."
Both the men and women will have their school-record 4x100 relays in action on Saturday. Basil Okoroike (triple jump) and Katie Barber (high jump) will compete in field events while Raquel Lambdin (1,500) and Alycia Cridebring (5,000) will be on the track.
A top-12 finish in each event will earn berths to the NCAA Finals at the University of Oregon from June 11-14.
NCAA WEST PRELIM MEET
Fayetteville, Ark. (hosted by Univ. of Arkansas)
Day 2 of 3
UC Davis results only
200 (1st rd.) - 1. Bryce Robinson, Tulsa, 20.48... 42. Marcus Johnson, 21.76.
800 (semis) - 1. Edward Kemboi, Iowa State, 1:47.40... 13. Nathan Strum, 1:49.18.
110HH (1st rd.)- 1. Wayne Davis II, Texas A&M, 13.46...T45. Karl Moran, 14.71.
400H (semis) - 1. Miles Ukaoma, Nebraska, 49.34... 16. Karl Moran, 51.05.
100 (semis)- 1. Jenna Prandini, Oregon, 11.17... 6. Ashley Marshall, 11.47.
200 (1st rd.) - 1. Kamaria Brown, Texas A&M, 22.95... 18. Ashley Marshall, 23.80; 47. Leslie Reed, 25.26.
400 (semis)- 1. Ashley Spencer, Texas, 51.38... 21. Cekarri Nixon, 54.10.
TJ (prelims) - 1. Shanieka Thomas, San Diego State, 13.66 (44-09.785)... 38. Catherine Li, 11.73 (38-06.00).