Strong Performances at Prelims
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Mired in 19th place going into her final attempt, Virginia Miller unleashed the javelin throw that landed her in the NCAA Championships.
Miller improved on her day's best by more than 10 feet and the 167-5 (51.04-meter) distance resulted in a ninth-place finish at the NCAA West Prelims on Thursday at Texas A&M.
By finishing among the top 12, Miller ensured a return trip to the NCAA meet. She joins Allie Jones (heptathlon) and Charles Hicks (men's 10,000) among Stanford qualifiers after two days of the four-day qualifying competition.
With only three throws, there was little room for error. Miller's first two throws went 153-10 (46.88m) and 157-3 (47.93m), but neither approached the range needed to advance. Fortunately for Miller, she mustered the distance to reach the NCAA meet for the second time, having done so in 2019.
Though Miller was Stanford's only NCAA qualifier on Thursday, there were plenty of Cardinal standouts from first-round running events, especially sprinter Alexa Rossum.
Rossum, a freshman in eligibility, set two lifetime bests. Her 100-meter time of 11.22 was aided by a 2.7 meters-per-second wind (above the allowable 2.0 for record purposes), but was an all-conditions best for Rossum and allowed her to place second in her heat and advance on place. She had the 11th-best time overall and was among 24 to advance to Saturday's heats that will determine the NCAA qualifiers.
Her 200 was impressive as well. Run in a wind-legal 1.9 mps breeze, Rossum clocked 23.05. It was good enough to place third in her heat to advance on place, and 13th overall. It shattered Rossum's previous best of 23.43 and was the fastest 200 run by a Stanford woman in 15 years.
Rossum rose to No. 3 on Stanford's all-time performer's list, behind only Chauntae Bayne-Hackett (22.78, 2006) and 1996 Olympic 4x100 relay gold medalist Chryste Gaines (23.00, 1992).
Stanford had six other women's running-event qualifiers for Saturday's final round, including four in the 1,500, led by Julia Heymach in a personal best of 4:16.35. Heymach, the Pac-12 5,000 champ, stayed on the heels of BYU's Whittni Orton all the way to the finish line. The top six times of the four heats all came from Heymach's race, with freshman teammate Lucy Jenks fourth in 4:17.33.
Christina Aragon and Ella Donaghu both emerged as qualifiers from the third heat, placing third and fourth, respectively, among a five-runner pack. Aragon ran 4:22.16 and Donaghu 4:22.21. They were 19th and 20th overall out of 24 to advance.
In the 800, Ellie Deligianni ran to a season-best 2:05.38 to place fourth in the fastest of six heats and advance to Saturday's final round on time. Deligianni, from Greece, moved into the No. 4 spot on Stanford's all-time top-5 freshmen list, jumping ahead of Lindsay Hyatt (2:05.64, 2000) and displacing Aragon (2:05.67, 2017).
Jones already advances to Eugene in the heptathlon, but she's making a run at the 100 hurdles as well. Jones ran an all-conditions lifetime best of 13.23 (2.3) to advance on time to the next round on Saturday. She was 20th overall. Looking ahead to the possibilities, the NCAA 100 hurdles semifinal is a day before the beginning of the heptathlon. The hurdles final coincides with the second day of the heptathlon, and takes place on the schedule between the heptathlon's javelin and 800.
The only NCAA qualifying race on Thursday was the women's 10,000. Stanford's Grace Connolly placed 24th in 35:13.18. It was her first time at this meet and she doubles in the 5,000 on Saturday.
Virginia Miller. Photo by Chuck Aragon.
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NCAA West Prelims
100 first round – 11, Alexa Rossum 11.22wq.
200 first round – 13, Alexa Rossum 23.05q (PB; No. 3 Stanford AT).
800 first round – 6, Ellie Deligianni 2:05.38q (No. 4 Stanford frosh AT); 31, Kaitlin Ryan 2:08.52.
1,500 first round – 2, Julia Heymach 4:16.35q (PB); 4, Lucy Jenks 4:17.33q; 19, Christina Aragon 4:22.16q; 20, Ella Donaghu 4:22.16q; 47, Jessica Lawson 4:39.82.
10,000 semifinal – 24, Grace Connolly 35:13.18.
100 hurdles first round – 20, Allie Jones 13.23wq.
Pole vault semifinal – 22, Erika Malaspina 13-4 ¼ (4.07m).
Javelin semifinal – 9, Virginia Miller 167-5Q (51.04m); 33, Brielle Smith 149-3 (45.49m).
Q=advances to NCAA Championships
q=advances to Saturday's final round
Erika Malaspina. Photo by Chuck Aragon.
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Stanford's Schedule (all-times Pacific)
1:15 p.m.: Men's triple jump first round – Keyshawn King.
4:10 p.m.: Men's steeplechase semifinals – Ky Robinson.
6:30 p.m.: Men's 5,000 semifinals – Meika Beaudoin-Rousseau, Callum Bolger, Thomas Boyden, Devin Hart, Charles Hicks, Alek Parsons, DJ Principe, Cole Sprout, Ky Robinson.
11:30 a.m.: Women's discus first round – Jaimi Salone.
3:45 p.m.: Women's 1,500 quarterfinals – Christina Aragon, Ella Donaghu, Julia Heymach, Lucy Jenks.
4:45 p.m.: Women's 100 hurdles quarterfinals – Allie Jones.
5:05 p.m.: Women's 100 quarterfinals – Alexa Rossum.
5:35 p.m.: Women's 800 quarterfinals – Ellie Deligianni.
6:10 p.m.: Women's 200 quarterfinals – Alexa Rossum.
6:30 p.m.: Women's 5,000 semifinals – Grace Connolly, Ella Donaghu, Julia Heymach, Lucy Jenks, Jessica Lawson.