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Go Utes!
Mergaert Falls Just Shy of Advancing to Finals of NCAA Championships

Utah junior Amanda Mergaert took 14th overall in the 1,500-meter semifinals Thursday at the NCAA Championships.

Utah junior Amanda Mergaert took 14th overall in the 1,500-meter semifinals Thursday at the NCAA Championships.

June 7, 2012


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DES MOINES, Iowa - Junior Amanda Mergaert of the University of Utah track & field team broke her own school record to take 14th overall in the semifinals of the 1,500-meter race, but fell just two places and .15 seconds shy of qualifying for the finals, Thursday at the NCAA Championships in Drake Stadium. This was the second straight year Mergaert has taken Second-Team All-American honors with a 14th-place overall finish at the national meet in the 1,500-meter run.

In the fourth NCAA Championships appearance of her career, Mergaert turned in a time of 4:13.63, which was three seconds faster than her previous personal-best, set a new school record and was good for seventh in the second heat of the semifinals. Her performance was over five seconds faster than the time of 4:19.23 that she posted at the NCAA Preliminary meet, which earned her the 15th seed overall in the national meet.

"Amanda ran a tremendous race," Utah head coach Kyle Kepler said. "She just missed the finals again, but beat her PR by three seconds and smashed her own school record. It was a race of a lifetime. Amanda was with the lead pack throughout the race in about the eighth or ninth position and at about the l,250-meter mark, she put on a great spurt to move up and it came down to the end. Obviously, we're disappointed she didn't advance to the finals, but it certainly was one of the fastest races I have ever seen, running under a 4:14.00 doesn't make the finals. But I'm proud of Amanda. Making that push in the last 250 meters was awesome. Luck just didn't go our way, but I give her a ton of credit. She stayed close to the lead group and ran one of the best races in Utah history, without question."

Senior Brianna LeRoy will make her first-ever appearance in the high jump at the NCAA Championships tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. CT. The Gig Harbor, Wash., native enters the meet as the 24th seed overall after registering a 5-9.25 (1.76m) mark at the NCAA West Preliminary meet.

Follow all of Friday's action live at ncaa.com.



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