Hurta and Degenero Advance To 1,500 Finals
EUGENE – Colorado track and field advanced two women through to Saturday's 1,500-meter run finals after taking two of the three fastest times in the semifinals here Thursday afternoon at the NCAA Championships.
Sage Hurta and Micaela Degenero move on after finishing first and third in the first heat of the 1,500 prelims. Hurta advanced with the top-mark of 4:08.88 while Degenero ran the third-best mark at 4:09.38, moving her to sixth in CU history. Hurta's time came with ease and set her up for something special as that time made her the eighth-fastest to ever run at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
"Sage ran quite comfortably, a little under 4:09," said head coach Mark Wetmore. "She looked good to me. I watched her after the race, she wasn't collapsed or laid out. I think it was a pretty controlled effort for her, and I think she's ready to go."
To start the race, Hurta sat in second then went with 250 meters to go and easily cruised to the heat victory. Degenero sat in fifth for most of the race, then moved up at the same time as Hurta and finished third overall. Degenero's mark is a new personal best by nearly three seconds while Hurta ran her second-best time ever.
"I would say she was just being careful," said Wetmore on Degenero's race. "She was watching where fifth was and then she felt better maybe than she expected and closed out well. I don't think she was ever in trouble at all and she had the fastest last lap I think."
In the second heat, Rachel McArthur unfortunately did not make it through. She led and slowed down the second heat drastically before three Stanford women and BYU's Whitney Orton took the pack and ran tightly together with a group of nine women pushing out seeking the top-five spots. McArthur came through 11th in her heat at 4:22.75.
"It's not a terrible tactic to take the lead if the field is reluctant, but then she did make a tactical mistake and let the race surround her," said Wetmore on the race. "She got buried. Finally she kind of had to come out the back. I think that was just really disturbing for her to have it in her hands and then let it slip away. The first lap wasn't a terrible mistake but I think the second lap wasn't great."
Moving to the steeplechase, Madie Boreman went out and sat in the fifth-place mark in the second heat of the women's steeplechase prelims, looking to run at least 9:46.08 to qualify for the finals by time, half a second faster than her personal best after the first heat went out fast. She dropped down to eighth halfway through with the pace a second off what was needed for a time qualifier. She stayed in that position, crossing in 9:49.28 and missing out on the finals as the final time qualifier came through in a blistering 9:42.41.
"It's a new world," said Wetmore on the fast qualifying. "Two or three years ago 9:48 would've made the final but it's a new world, people are running 9:30 something. The honest truth is she just needs to be fitter."
In the 400 hurdles, Eriana Henderson was in wonderful position off the final curve in the first heat of the women's 400 hurdle prelims, but she slowed over the ninth hurdle where she was caught. The senior finished sixth in her heat, officially out of contention for finals, finishing in 58.95 seconds. Abbey Glynn took to the track in the following heat next to defending NCAA Champ Anna Cockrell of USC. The freshman came off the turn in eighth in her heat, finishing that way in 59.49 seconds. She was one of three freshman in the 24-woman semifinals.
"Eriana got lane nine so she's out there all alone, and my opinion is she was out too fast," said Wetmore. "So she had a bad last 100 where she got tied up."
"Well that's a statistic I didn't know (on Glynn being one of three freshmen)," said Wetmore. "Abby, what was that her third 400 hurdle race of her life, I don't know. She's had a great second half of the spring. She's a big talent. Burke has been telling me that for a couple months, she had to work through some injuries earlier on in the season. She really only had about a half a track season to get ready. She's going to be a good one for us down the road."
The final race of the night had Abby Nichols in the women's 10,000-meter run, the first finals for the CU women. She quickly jumped out to fifth overall through the first half mile. After the first 10-minutes, Nichols found herself in eighth in a large bunched group. The group went through the 5k mark in around 16:30 as Nichols dropped down to 10th but remained very intact to the pack. She lost contact with the pack after the 6,000-meter mark, dropping down to 20th overall. Nichols continued to fade, losing her 80-second lap pace and dropping it down to 84 then 89 when she finally stopped at the 7,200m mark due to an existing injury.
"The injury that she's been nursing since the regionals was nagging her," said Wetmore on Nichols race. "We've been trying to treat it, she had to take a pretty big block of time off. She felt well enough in the last few days to start here today, but it kept getting worse. I don't know if she'll be able to run the 5,000 or not there's a couple of things. First of all, she has to feel ready and second of all, having stopped, now we have to get medical approval for her to continue."
Nichols has the 5,000-meter final in Saturday if she feels better, but if she is unable to compete CU will only have one more race for the 2021 NCAA season in Saturday's 1,500 final at 4:11 p.m. MT.
|Wednesday||8:38 PM||Men's||10,000-meter Final||John Dressel||12th||28:03.87|
|Thursday||4:46 PM||Women's||1,500-meter Prelims||Sage Hurta||1st (Q)||4:08.88|
|4:46 PM||Women's||1,500-meter Prelims||Micaela Degenero||3rd (Q)||4:09.38|
|4:46 PM||Women's||1,500-meter Prelims||Rachel McArthur||23rd||4:22.75|
|5:02 PM||Women's||3,000-meter Steeplechase Prelim||Madie Boreman||15th||9:49.28|
|6:30 PM||Women's||400-meter Hurdle Prelims||Eriana Henderson||19th||58.95|
|6:30 PM||Women's||400-meter Hurdle Prelims||Abbey Glynn||21st||59.49|
|7:08 PM||Women's||10,000-meter Final||Abby Nichols||DNF||DNF|
|Saturday||4:11 PM||Women's||1,500-meter Finals||Sage Hurta|
|4:11 PM||Women's||1,500-meter Finals||Micaela Degenero|
|5:55 PM||Women's||5,000-meter Final||Abby Nichols|