Pac-12 men get things started at 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships
No event knows highs and lows quite like the NCAA Track & Field Championships. The bulk of day one's action were semifinal rounds for the men to continue their quest for NCAA titles on Friday. Here's how everything shook out:
One of the day's highs? A stellar first day of decathlon action from Stanford’s Harrison Williams. Williams finished the first five events with three new personal records (100-meter, long jump, and shot put) and a whopping 240 more points than he ended the first day of the Pac-12 Championships decathlon just a few weeks ago. Expect big things from the Card competitor on Thursday.
Cardinal teammate and fellow Pac-12 Champion Steven Fahy also fared well today, qualifying for Friday’s 3,000m steeplechase in 8 minutes, 40.53 seconds. On the field, Trevor Danielson earned All-American status in the javelin, finishing fourth with a 71.80m (235 - 7) best throw — a PR by over 11 feet. Stanford's 4x400m took the final time qualifying spot for Friday, running 3:04.82. Unfortunately, the Card’s 4x100m team did not qualify for Friday's final.
A trio of Trojans advanced to Friday’s finals in their respective events. Indoor 400m world record holder and Pac-12 Champion Michael Norman cruised to a 44.66 semifinal win, while hurdler Rai Benjamin won his 400m hurdles heat in 49.66 to advance. Robert Ford is coming back for more on Friday, after running 1:47.38 to secure his spot in the 800m. Their 4x400m team ran 3:01.30 to also qualify for Friday's final. Nicholas Ponzio earned second-team All-American status in the shot put, placing 15th with a 19.01m (62 - 4 1/2) best throw.
Oregon will have a handful of Ducks flying together in Friday’s finals. Sam Prakel and Mick Stanovsek came out of their 1500m heat on top and alive, finishing in 3:49.33 and 3.49.83, respectively. Pac-12 100m champion Cravon Gillespie qualified for Friday’s 100m final in a wind-aided 10.02, but just missed qualifying in the 200m after running 20.71. Orwin Emilien wrapped the day placing 19th in the 400m (46.36), John Nizich claimed 18th in the javelin (64.30m / 210 - 11), and senior Damarcus Simpson was 10th in the long jump (7.81m / 25 - 7 1/2).
Freshman Jordan Geist headlined the Wildcats’ Wednesday performances. He threw 20.32m (66 - 8) in the shot put to finish 5th in his first ever NCAA Championship. Maksims Sinkukovs ran a personal-best 50.49 in the 400m hurdles to qualify for Friday's final. Bailey Roth did not advance to Friday’s final in the 3,000m steeplechase after an 8:37.38 showing, nor did Collins Kibet in the 800m (1:52.44).
After a gutsy NCAA West Prelims race, Robert Brandt held his own in a deep 10,000m field at the NCAA Champs. Brandt is UCLA's latest All-American, finishing 8th in 29:13.12. Marian Spannowsky and Simon Litzell are both second-team All-Americans in the javelin finishing 11th (68.05m / 223 - 3) and 14th (66.72m / 218 - 11), respectively. Earlier in the day, Justin Stafford finished 17th in the hammer, throwing 64.25m (210 - 9).
You'll see more of steepler Andrew Gardner on Friday. He ran 8:41.48 to place 3rd in his heat and advance to the final.
Silviu Bocancea set a huge PR in the hammer during the NCAA West Preliminary rounds, and nearly broke it again today. He finished the season as a second-team All-American, placing 16th with a 65.54m (215) best throw. Peter Simon and McKay Johnson finished in 16th and 17th places in the shot put with 18.95m (65 - 2 1/4) and 18.92m (62 - 1) best throws, respectively. Ashtyn Davis failed to qualify for Friday’s 110m hurdle final after finishing 6th in his heat in 13.87 seconds.
A trio of Cougar talent saw action on day one of NCAA Champs. Brock Eager finished 14th in the hammer throw, throwing 67.97m (233). Pac-12 pole vault champion Sander Moldau jumped 5.15m (16 - 10 3/4) for 17th place, while Chandler Teigen finished 24th in the 1500m in 3:56.59.
No action from Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon State, or Utah today. Check back tomorrow for updates on the start of the women's championship.