June 5, 2013
EUGENE, Ore. - UC Davis senior Lauren Wallace finished second in her heat and fifth overall during the 800-meter semifinal on Wednesday afternoon, advancing to championship final at the NCAA Div. I Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the University of Oregon's Historic Hayward Field.
Sophomore Ashley Marshall, who like Wallace advanced to her first NCAA Championship meet, finished sixth in her 100 semifinal heat in a wind-aided 11.45 seconds, but did not advance to the event final which will also be held on Friday.
Wallace qualified for Friday's championship race with a strong effort in the semis. Racing in the first heat, she was was timed in 2:04.05. Wallace made her move on the first lap, moving into third place at 400 meters after her split of 1:01.17. She overtook Megan Malasarte of Georgia on the bell lap and then Bienne Freeman of Jacksonville (2:04.71) at the finish line. NCAA indoor champion Natoya Goule of LSU won the heat in 2:03.77. The top two finishers in each heat plus the next two fastest finishers advanced to the final.
LSU's Charlene Lipsey posted the fastest 800 time on Wednesday, crossing in 2:03.22.
"After having the anticipation build for two and half days, it's a relief to have competition underway in Eugene," said Aggie coach Drew Wartenburg. "Lauren took a big step toward achieving some aspects of her seasonal goals today by advancing to the national final. She had a very competitive heat draw but did a good job racing out of trouble and then closing well over the final 200 meters. At a meet like this, the approach is to focus on one race at a time, and the prospect of a fast final on Friday is very exciting."
Marshall neared her school record time (11.35) in the 100 on Thursday after getting off to a great start in the third and final semifinal heat. She was in second at the halfway point before being overtaken near the end. LSU's Kimberly Duncan won the heat in 11.02 seconds. Marshall finished 18th overall.
"Ashley showed a good willingness to get out and run shoulder to shoulder with the women in her semifinal heat," Wartenburg said. "It took until the late stage of that race for some separation to occur, and with only one time slower than 11.19 making the final, women came out to run fast this afternoon."
Wallace will race for a national championship on Friday at 5:20 p.m. She will be the first Aggie in UC Davis' Div. I era to compete in lane-race final. Marshall's finish brings to a close a spectacular 2013 season. She was the Big West champion in both the 100 and 200, was named the conference's female track athlete of the year, and set school records in both events.
UC Davis' third entry at the NCAA Championships is steeplechaser Katie Fry. She'll race her semifinal race on Thursday at 5:35 p.m.
"We have one more day before Katie takes to the track, and tomorrow will be all about race readiness for her and recovery and refocusing for Lauren," said Wartenburg.
All three Aggies have already achieved "A" standards for the USA Track and Field Championships later this month in Des Moines, Iowa.
NCAA OUTDOOR TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Eugene, Ore. (hosted by Univ. of Oregon)
Day 1 of 4
UC Davis women's results only
Aggies host All-Comers
Track & Field Meet on Jan. 28