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Mergaert Qualifies for Semifinals at NCAA Track & Field West Preliminary

Junior Amanda Mergaert can reach her second consecutive NCAA Championship meet with a good run in Saturday's West Region Semifinal.

Junior Amanda Mergaert can reach her second consecutive NCAA Championship meet with a good run in Saturday's West Region Semifinal.

May 24, 2012

Live Results

AUSTIN, Texas - Junior Amanda Mergaert of the University of Utah track and field team finished second in her preliminary heat in the 1500-meter run at the NCAA West Region Preliminary meet Thursday. She will now advance to Saturday's semifinal race, where she will compete for a spot in next weekend's NCAA Championship in Des Moines, Iowa.

"Amanda ran a terrific race," said Utah head coach Kyle Kepler. "She ran smoothly and we're excited that she is back in position get to Des Moines again. The rest of the day wasn't quite what we hoped for, but they ran hard and competed well. We have a lot of first-timers at this meet. It was hot here today, but they handled that pretty well. A track meet of this nature has its ups and downs. We have some kids competing tomorrow and we will try to get them through to join Amanda and hopefully keep moving forward."

Mergaert's time of 4:22.20 was the fifth fastest of the 48 preliminary participants. If she advances past Saturday's semifinal, she will reach the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive year. In 2011, she finished 14th in the 1500 meter at the NCAA Championships.

In other action Thursday, junior Stephanie Jolley finished 35th the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:01.09. In the 800 meter, sophomore Rosalie Griffin finished 44th with a 2:11.99, while freshman Andrea Chavez was 48th with a 2:13.69. Finally in the long jump, senior Brianna LeRoy's 18-09.00 saw her finish in the 40th position. None of the four advanced beyond preliminary action, but all gained valuable NCAA experience.



"Stephanie really had a breakthrough season, she just didn't run well down the back stretch today to close strong enough and advance," said Kepler. "And it was the same thing in the 800, we had two first-timers running and they may have run out of gas a little bit. This was Rosalie's first year ever running the 800. And Andrea improved a ton. Strategically I thought they ran well, they just didn't have enough to advance. In the javelin, [Kaitlin] Urmston has been very consistent and was again, even though it wasn't enough to advance. Brianna had a huge jump but wasn't on the board, which is unfortunate because it may have been a lifetime jump for her."

In action on Friday will be sophomore Angela Kaplar in the 100-meter hurdles, sophomore Destanae Howerton-Davis in the discus and LeRoy in the high jump.

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