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Florence Wins Second Regional Steeple Crown

May 28, 2005



                        NORMAN, Okla. - University of Colorado senior Natalie Florence won her second NCAA Midwest Regional women's steeplechase title, first since 2003, in a personal record, school, meet and John Jacobs Track Complex record 10 minutes, 12.26 seconds here Saturday night.  The CU men finished in 10th place with 30 points and the women ninth with 28.


Her 4-second pr betters the Colorado school record of 10:13.80 set by teammate Renee Metivier earlier this season, and crushes her own meet record of 10:28.24 set in 2003.  The previous track record was 10:17.92 established a year ago by Nebraska's Ann Gaffigan.  She finished nearly 12 ticks ahead of race runner-up Emily Brown of Minnesota who came in at 10:24.02.


            The Buffs picked up 19 points in the steeplechase as sophomore Billy Nelson earned a trip to the NCAA Championships with a second-place finish in the men's race, crossing the finish in 8:47.27, trailing race winner Patrick Mutai (8:45.67) of Texas El Paso.  Sophomore Pete Janson picked up a point in the race with a ninth place finish in 9:01.27.


            In the day's first event, the women's high jump, Big 12 Champion Anna Magle cleared 1.76m (5-9.25), tying her personal record set earlier this season, on her second attempt, but couldn't get over on the next height, 1.81m (5-11.25) and finished seventh, following a four-way tie for third place.  She picked up a pair of points on the day for the Buffs, and picked an opportunity to advance to the NCAA Championships as an at-large selection based on her today's height, which is ranked 47th nationally and has her on the outside looking in.


            Like Magle, thrower Hannah Warfield-Ruffato will have to play the waiting game, as she finished eighth in the women's javelin with her second best throw of the season, 45.86m (150-5) which won her flight and picked up another much needed point for the Buffs.  She will join the group of at-large hopefuls with a season best effort of 45.91m (150-7) which is 59th nationally and likely too low on the list to qualify.


            Prior to leaving Boulder for Norman, head coach Mark Wetmore said that one person capable of running beyond his ranking would be middle distance runner Stephen Pifer, who did just that this weekend.  After running a 3:46.61 Saturday to sit in third after the men's 1,500-m prelims, he ran his second best time of the season here Saturday, 3:43.67 to finish second and earn a plane ticket to next month's NCAA Championships.  He finished behind Texas' Leonel Manzano (3:44.93).  Not so lucky was Anthony Chiulli who finished just out of scoring position in ninth in 3:52.25.  With a 105th national rank coming into the meet, his sophomore season comes to an abrupt end.


            Liza Negriff's season came to a close here Saturday, as the senior jumped 11.87m (38-11.50) on her second attempt to finish sixth in her flight, 14th overall in the women's triple jump.  The same held true for classmate Carly Newlands who threw a 14.08m (46-2.50) on her first attempt in the women's shot put to finish fourth in her flight and 13th overall.


            In the final event of the championships, Colorado's men's 4x400-m relay team of George Pincock, Jason Zichterman, Nate Terry and Chris Abuan finished sixth in a season best 3:08.86.


            The NCAA Championships will be contested June 8-11 at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex in Sacramento, Calif.




John Jacobs Track and Field Complex (Norman, Okla.)

Women's 3,000-m Steeplechase (finals): 1. Natalie Florence, 10:12.26

Women's High Jump (finals): 7. Anna Magle, 1.76m (5-9.25)

Women's Javelin (finals): 8. Hannah Warfield-Ruffato, 45.86

Women's Shot Put (finals): 13. Carly Newlands, 14.08m (46-2.50)

Women's Triple Jump (finals): 14. Liza Negriff, 11.87m (38-11.50)

Men's 1,500-m Run (finals): 2. Stephen Pifer, 3:43.67; 9. Anthony Chiulli, 3:52.25

Men's 3,000-m Steeplechase (finals): 2. Billy Nelson, 8:47.27; 8. Pete Janson, 9:01.27

Men's 4x400-m Relay (finals): 6. Pincock/Zichterman/Terry/Abuan, 3:08.86