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Favorite Advance During Day 1 of 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships

By Mike Scott (c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights resrved. Used with permission.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (06-Jun) -- The 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships opened on a relatively cool Wednesday at Sacramento's Hornet Stadium.

While not devoid of drama --especially for the participants, their coaches, and families-- the first day featured qualifying rounds. LOTS of qualifying rounds!

For the distance fans, the schedule featured prelims in the 800-meters during the afternoon, then was capped off with four straight steeplechases followed by four 5000-meter prelims.

In the women's 800 qualifying rounds, yearly collegiate leader Katie Erdman (Michigan), NCAA Indoor gold medalist Alysia Johnson (Cal), defending champion Rebekah Noble (Oregon), and 2006 indoor champ Heather Dorniden (Minnesota) all won their respective first round heats with Erdman notching the swiftest prelim in 2:04.14.

In the men's 800, defending champ Ryan Brown (Washington) -- who also won this year's indoor crown -- and yearly leader Andrew Ellerton (Michigan) advanced comfortably to the semis with American's Dustin Emrani recording the fastest first round mark of 1:48.08.

In the men's 3000-meter steeplechase, yearly leaders Barnabas Kirui (Ole Miss) and Aaron Aguayo (Arizona State) both looked relaxed while winning their preliminary heats in 8:39.97 and 8:38.77, respectively, with Florida State's Andrew Lemoncello runner-up to Kirui in 8:40.91.The only notable non-qualifier was Alabama's Augustus Maiyo, the mideast regional winner who entered the meet with a 8:35.12 season best.

Weber State's Lindsey Anderson, who established a new collegiate record of 9:39.95 in the steeple earlier at Stanford a little over a month ago, easily controlled her prelim race to win in 9:56.14. Colorado's Jennifer Barringer, who was the surprise winner of this race last year as a freshman and Michigan's Anna Willard finished 1-2 in the other heat in 10:02.17 and 10:04.03 respectively with 2003 NCAA champ Kassi Anderson s step behind in 10:04.75.

In the 5000-meter preliminaries, Villanova's Bobby Curtis won the first heat in a slowish 14:30.56 that saw the first seven finishers within 0.80 seconds; collegiate leader Josh McDougal (Liberty) advanced with a 14:31.00 fourth place effort.  Defending outdoor 5000-meter champion Chris Solinsky (Wisconsin) looked in control as he won his 5000 prelim in 13:56.81 just a step ahead of Colorado's Brent Vaughn, who finished in 13:57.15

Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego is in quest of a 5000/10,000 double win here in Sacramento, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since Arizona's Amy Skieresz managed to win back-to-back doubles in 1997 and 1998.  Kipyego --along with her teammate Irene Kimaiyo-- claimed the top to spots in their heat with Kimaiyo awarded a 16:03.32 while Kipyego notching a 16:03.39.  Wake Forest's Michelle Sikes won the other heat in 16:16.31 ahead of 2006 runner-up Molly Huddle (Notre Dame) and NC State's Julia Lucas, who were timed in 16:18.31 and 16:18.92 respectively.

The featured finals on Thursday night will be the men's and women's 10,000-meters.  The men's 25-lapper features Oregon's Galen Rupp, fresh off his 27:33.48 collegiate record a month ago at Stanford, and BYU's Josh Rohatinsky, last fall's NCAA harrier gold medalist.  Sally Kipyego also lowered the women's 10,000 collegiate record this season, scorching a 31:56.72.  Should Kipyego unexpectedly falter, Arizona State's Amy Hastings (32:30.37), Providence's Aine Hoban (32:45.94), and BYU's Whitney McDonald (33:06.23) should be in a position to take advantage.


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