|Velvere headed to NCAA Championship|
AUSTIN, Texas - University of Idaho senior Liga Velvere overtook two runners in the final 100 meters to capture fourth in her heat and a coveted berth in the NCAA 400-meter hurdle championship.
Velvere, who had a personal best 58.40, overcame the No. 8 lane assignment and used her experience as a middle distance runner to qualify for the NCAA Championship Meet at the University of Oregon in two weeks.
"We knew her heat was the fastest heat," said Idaho director of Track and Field Wayne Phipps, noting there was one Olympian in Velvere's heat. "We talked about the importance of a fast time and not to worry about place or other people."
The NCAA finalists are being selected from two regional meets this weekend. To advance to the NCAA meet, Velvere needed to finish in the top three in her heat or post one of the six next-best times. She was fourth in her heat and 11th best overall with her 58.40.
"She ran the first part very well but still was in sixth with 100 to go," Phipps said. "She dug down, ran aggressively into the last three hurdles, and used her 800 strength to pass the other two girls to finish fourth."
The regional meet concludes Saturday. Eight Vandals will be competing with Hannah Kiser in the 5,000 meters, Ellen Rouse and Tayler Feinauer in the javelin, Jeremy Klas and Matt Sullivan in the pole vault, Ugis Svazs and Mike Marshall in the javelin, and Kyle Rothwell in the hammer. The hammer originally was scheduled for Friday but was moved to Saturday because of inclement weather.