Courtesy: Spencer Farrin (Pullman, Wash.)
|Blaser to quarterfinal|
AUSTIN, Texas – University of Idaho senior Andrew Blaser extended his final track and field season by at least one more day on Friday at the NCAA West Preliminary to lead the four Vandal competitors at the meet.
Blaser ran a 14.01 and took third in his heat of the 110m hurdles to earn one of the three automatic advancement positions per heat into the quarterfinal round. His time ranked 16th overall among the 48 competitors in the event.
“Those first six hurdles were probably the best first six I’ve seen Andy run,” Idaho director of track and field/cross country Wayne Phipps said. “He just kept it under control and it was a very safe run.”
After bowing out in the opening round of the event last year, Blaser is one of 27 advancers who will vie for the 12 NCAA Championships qualifying spots on Saturday at 5:05 p.m. (PT). The top three in each heat move on, plus the next three fastest times overall.
“I think he has a great opportunity to advance to the NCAA final in the hurdles,” Phipps said. “He feels really fresh and his legs feel good, so he’s carrying a lot of confidence into this quarterfinal tomorrow and I think he’s really ready to run fast.”
Also in the nightcap, sophomore Alycia Butterworth made her second career NCAA appearance in the 3000m steeplechase and finished 37th with a time of 10:57.20. Phipps said Butterworth had been battling illness for a few days and wasn’t able to hang with the lead pack as the race went on.
In the morning session, junior Kristine Leonard finished 40th in the women’s discus throw with a mark of 147-1 (44.84m), while sophomore Kyle Rothwell competed in the men’s hammer throw, but fouled out of the competition.
“Kristine and Kyle both had fantastic years and great conference championships for us,” Phipps said. “It takes a lot to get here, it’s a very tough meet and then it’s definitely a learning experience once you’re here. I expect them to continue to improve for the future and not let it overshadow the seasons both of them had.”
The Vandals will see their final four competitors in action on Saturday, the final day of the meet. Senior Gabby Midles and junior Sarah Nutsch get it started with the women’s hammer throw at Noon (PT), while Blaser runs the 110m hurdles quarterfinal at 5:05 p.m. and senior Stephane Colle runs in the 5000m semifinal at 6:05 p.m.
“Every day has been really exciting and it’s neat to have Blaser move on, and he’ll be joined by two great hammer throwers who have continually gotten better,” Phipps said. “Then it’s going to be nice to see Stephane be able to focus just on one race and see if he can squeeze into one of those spots and move on to Des Moines.”