May 29, 2015
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Four more Hoyas punched their ticket to Eugene tonight at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field East Preliminary, held at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. The three-day meet serves as the precursor to the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, held at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene, June 10-13.
In another race that appeared all too easy for the freshman All-American, Joe White (Clifton, N.J./DePaul Catholic) qualified for the NCAA Track & Field Championships in the men's 800-meter run with a personal record (PR) of 1:47.40, besting his previous record of 1:47.57. White stayed among the top five but as he made his moves taking the outside on the final turn, White hit his stride through the final straightaway to finish third for an automatic berth to the finals site.
"We were going fast from the start," White explained. "The last 150 felt really good though, it was just an all-out sprint and I felt pretty comfortable."
White's time is a USA Track & Field (USATF) Outdoor Championships qualifying time in the men's 800-meter run. White's time cracks the top 10 on the Georgetown all-time list, edging out NCAA champion and All-American Steve Holman (1:47.54, 8/23/1992) for the 10th spot.
The trend was set early in the day and the final event on the track was no different - the Hoyas are peaking at the right time of the year, setting PRs to punch their tickets to Eugene. In the first of the three-heat men's 3,000-meter steeplechase prelims, Ryan Gil (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) clocked 8:42.46 to finish third in the heat, an automatic qualifying time. Gil established his position early and held on for the auto spot through the finish.
"It's fun to come back here and qualify with Darren," Gil said. "It means a lot to keep the tradition of Steeple U going."
In the second heat of the event, Darren Fahy (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) followed suit and kept a consistent pace wire to wire, also finishing third in his heat. He clocked a PR of 8:38.07 to book a trip to nationals. His time ranks third on the GU all-time list, pushing Mark Manley's 8:38.3 to (5/13/1992) to fourth. Fahy's time also falls under the USATF Outdoor Championships qualifying standard in the event (8:40.00).
"It's good to have a teammate there," Fahy said of continuing the tradition of multiple steeplers at NCAA Track & Field Championships. "I wanted to get the USATF qualifier under my belt - I was on the bubble before and I had a goal of getting that done or at least making sure I had another chance at NCAAs."
All-American Sabrina Southerland (New York, N.Y./Benjamin N. Cardozo) punched her ticket to Eugene as she automatically qualified out of the second heat of the women's 800-meter quarterfinals. The sophomore teetered between third and fourth for much of the race but went in to the final turn ready to do work and shot on to the straightaway in third place. She weaved up the track to solidify her trip to nationals.
"I am really happy to be heading to Eugene," Southerland said. "Last year was obviously disappointing but I'm happy to come back here and get it done this year."
Heather Martin (Manlius, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) had a strong race, edging out for fourth place in the same heat as Southerland with a PR of 2:05.34. Without the automatic bid, Martin relied on a time qualification but a fast final heat pushed her time just out of contention.
Competition will resume tomorrow at Hodges Stadium for the final day of the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field East Preliminary.
In just one year's time, Heather Martin has improved her outdoor 800-meter time by nearly four seconds. In 2014, Martin's PR was 2:09.31; today she clocked 2:05.34.
This is the third-consecutive year the Hoyas have had multiple student-athletes advance to the finals site of the NCAA Track & Field Championships in the men's steeplechase, a feat no other institution can tout. The duo of All-Americans Max Darrah and Dylan Sorensen each reached the finals site in 2013 and 2014.
Darren Fahy was one of eight athletes to run a 2015 USATF Outdoor Championships qualifying standard in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase.
All-American Joe White's time was one of 10 times to hit the qualifying standard (1:47.50) for the USATF Outdoor Championships from today's East preliminary quarterfinals.
This is only the third season White has run outdoor track & field. In high school, White played baseball in the spring and it was not until a wrist injury sidelined him that he began running outdoor track & field his junior year. The last song he listened to before his race today was The Weeknd "King of the Fall".
This is the sixth-straight season the Hoyas have had a competitor in the women's 800-meter run at the finals site of the NCAA Track & Field Championships. Former Hoya All-American and current volunteer assistant Chelsea Cox made the finals four-consecutive years through 2014.