NCAA Women’s Day 1 Recap: The Big Favorites Advance in the Distance Races As the NCAA Shot Put & Javelin Records Fall
June 9, 2016
EUGENE, Ore. — The women’s portion of the NCAA Track and Field Championships got underway on Thursday at Hayward Field. The highlight on the track was the women’s 10,000m final, where Arkansas’ Dominique Scott crushed the field the final two laps to win with ease. We recap that as its own article here.
Scott’s win as well as freshman Alexis Weeks‘ win in the pole vault helped the Arkansas Razorbacks start well in their quest for the team title. Host Oregon had a tough day as their 6th seeded 4×400 dropped the baton and field to finish and Hannah Cunliffe, one of two collegians under 11.00 this year, suffered an injury in the 100m, likely dooming their title hopes. Coach Robert Johnson discussed the tough day here.
There was stellar action in the field as Raven Saunders of Ole Miss threw 19.33 to break the 33-year-old NCAA record of Meg Ritchie of Arizona of 18.99. Just minutes later, Maggie Malone of Texas A&M broke the nearly 12-year-old NCAA javelin record of Indiana’s Irina Kharun by throwing 62.19.
DeAnna Price of Southern Illinois (she competed at Worlds last year for Team USA) dominated and broke her own meet record in the hammer with a 71.66m heave and then spoke eloquently about learning to be comfortable in her own powerful and big body and then gave out hugs to members of the media.
Chanice Porter of Georgia won a back-and-forth long jump battle over defending outdoor champ Quanesha Burks of Alabama. Porter took the lead on her fifth jump, then Burks responded by regaining the lead briefly before Porter won the competition on her final jump. The third placeer in the long jump was Arkansas sophomore Taliyah Brooks, a heptathlete who didn’t even score in the long jump at SECs and was ranked just 18th on the national descending order list. You can read a nice recap of the long jump here.
“In a 15 minute span Lexi (Weeks) won the vault, the 10,000 was en route, Taliyah (Brooks) is long jumping and grabs third,” said Arkansas coach Lance Harter on arkansasrazorbacks.com after Thursday.. “The 26 points from those three events positions us extremely well heading into the rest of competition.
We recap the qualifying rounds of the 1500, where some fast times were put up, steeple and 800m , where there was some drama in heat 3, for you below – in that order, as that’s the order the events were run. *Video interviews from Thursday here. *AP recap of Thursday here.
Women’s 1500: Marta Freitas Wants a Fast Final, Kaela Edwards and Dana Giordano Run Big PRs
Mississippi State’s Marta Freitas came into the 2016 NCAA championships as our favorite for the title and that remains the case after the prelims as the NCAA leader won the second heat of the women’s 1500 today with ease. The woman we think is most likely to upset Freitas, NCAA Indoor mile champ Kaela Edwards of Oklahoma State, also advanced by finishing third in her heat in a new 3.44-second pb of 4:13.63, but it was easy to see that Edwards isn’t 100% as she had kinesio tape all over her body.
In the end, 7 of the 12 fastest people on the year advanced to the finals with the casualties being #2 seed Anna Maxwell of Washington (just 9th in heat #1),#6 seed Karisa Nelson of Samford (9th in her heat), #7 seed Molly McNamara of Stanford (last in her heat), #8 seed Devon Happe of Michigan (Big 10 800 champ was 8th in her heat) and #10 seed Stephanie Van Pelt of St. John’s (the Big East runner-up was 7th in her heat). The fact that the 2nd fastest runner in the field, Maxwell (4:12.62 sb), didn’t make it wasn’t that shocking considering she was just 4th at Pac-12s.
Making up for those performances was Dartmouth senior Dana Giordano.The Ivy League champion PR’d by more than 5 seconds, yes 5 seconds, to win heat 1. Her PB coming in was 4:18.24 but ran 4:13.18.
Results and then our quick take analysis appear below.
|1||Dana Giordano||Dartmouth||4:13.18 Q||49.93 [49.93]||1:58.26 [1:08.33]||3:07.74 [1:09.48]||4:13.18 [1:05.45]|
|2||Dani Jones||Colorado||4:13.44 Q||50.30 [50.30]||1:58.60 [1:08.31]||3:08.05 [1:09.45]||4:13.44 [1:05.39]|
|3||Kaela Edwards||Oklahoma State||4:13.63 Q||50.59 [50.59]||1:59.64 [1:09.06]||3:09.18 [1:09.54]||4:13.63 [1:04.46]|
|4||Sophie Connor||New Mexico||4:13.74 Q||50.72 [50.72]||1:59.42 [1:08.70]||3:08.26 [1:08.85]||4:13.74 [1:05.48]|
|5||Amy-Eloise Neale||Washington||4:13.93 Q||51.45 [51.45]||1:59.97 [1:08.53]||3:08.93 [1:08.96]||4:13.93 [1:05.01]|
|6||Annie Leblanc||Oregon||4:14.15||50.17 [50.17]||1:59.09 [1:08.92]||3:08.93 [1:09.85]||4:14.15 [1:05.22]|
|7||Maddie Alm||Colorado||4:14.54||50.47 [50.47]||1:59.36 [1:08.90]||3:08.71 [1:09.36]||4:14.54 [1:05.83]|
|8||Ffion Price||Miss State||4:15.75||51.26 [51.26]||1:59.48 [1:08.22]||3:08.74 [1:09.26]||4:15.75 [1:07.02]|
|9||Anna Maxwell||Washington||4:16.41||51.01 [51.01]||1:59.88 [1:08.88]||3:09.12 [1:09.25]||4:16.41 [1:07.29]|
|10||Emily Hosker-Thornhill||New Mexico||4:17.74||51.24 [51.24]||2:00.04 [1:08.81]||3:09.62 [1:09.59]||4:17.74 [1:08.12]|
|11||Lilli Burdon||Oregon||4:20.55||50.79 [50.79]||1:59.60 [1:08.81]||3:09.34 [1:09.74]||4:20.55 [1:11.21]|
|12||Molly McNamara||Stanford||4:20.93||51.04 [51.04]||1:59.83 [1:08.80]||3:10.23 [1:10.41]||4:20.93 [1:10.70]|
|Split||Intermediate Leader||Time||Fastest Split||Time|
|300m||Dana Giordano||0:49.93||Dana Giordano||0:49.93|
|700m||Dana Giordano||1:58.26||Ffion Price||1:08.22|
|1100m||Dana Giordano||3:07.74||Sophie Connor||1:08.85|
|1500m||Dana Giordano||4:13.18||Kaela Edwards||1:04.46|
|1||Marta Freitas||Miss State||4:15.52 Q||52.65 [52.65]||2:03.39 [1:10.74]||3:12.51 [1:09.12]||4:15.52 [1:03.01]|
|2||Elise Cranny||Stanford||4:15.87 Q||52.83 [52.83]||2:03.55 [1:10.73]||3:12.67 [1:09.12]||4:15.87 [1:03.20]|
|3||Annemarie Schwanz||Fresno State||4:16.22 Q||52.94 [52.94]||2:03.74 [1:10.80]||3:12.52 [1:08.79]||4:16.22 [1:03.70]|
|4||Shannon Osika||Michigan||4:16.51 Q||53.15 [53.15]||2:03.84 [1:10.70]||3:12.87 [1:09.03]||4:16.51 [1:03.65]|
|5||Jaimie Phelan||Michigan||4:18.79 Q||53.38 [53.38]||2:04.28 [1:10.90]||3:13.57 [1:09.30]||4:18.79 [1:05.22]|
|6||Andrea Keklak||Georgetown||4:19.87||52.79 [52.79]||2:03.68 [1:10.89]||3:12.91 [1:09.23]||4:19.87 [1:06.97]|
|7||Stephanie Vanpelt||St. John’s||4:20.10||52.75 [52.75]||2:03.50 [1:10.76]||3:13.33 [1:09.83]||4:20.10 [1:06.77]|
|8||Devon Hoppe||Michigan||4:20.23||53.26 [53.26]||2:04.08 [1:10.83]||3:13.86 [1:09.78]||4:20.23 [1:06.38]|
|9||Karisa Nelson||Samford||4:22.02||53.07 [53.07]||2:03.73 [1:10.66]||3:12.75 [1:09.03]||4:22.02 [1:09.27]|
|10||Katherine Delaney||Vanderbilt||4:22.13||53.61 [53.61]||2:03.99 [1:10.39]||3:13.50 [1:09.51]||4:22.13 [1:08.63]|
|11||Madison Granger||Duke||4:23.92||52.99 [52.99]||2:03.59 [1:10.61]||3:13.15 [1:09.56]||4:23.92 [1:10.78]|
|12||Alexandra Lucki||Maryland||4:31.08||53.37 [53.37]||2:04.60 [1:11.23]||3:16.12 [1:11.53]||4:31.08 [1:14.96]|
|Split||Intermediate Leader||Time||Fastest Split||Time|
|300m||Marta Freitas||0:52.65||Marta Freitas||0:52.65|
|700m||Marta Freitas||2:03.39||Katherine Delaney||1:10.39|
|1100m||Marta Freitas||3:12.51||Annemarie Schwanz||1:08.79|
|1500m||Marta Freitas||4:15.52||Marta Freitas||1:03.01|
Quick Take #1: The move down to 1500 meters is paying off for Dartmouth’s Dana Giordano
This is Giordano’s third straight year at NCAA outdoors, but after struggling in the 5,000 as a sophomore (22nd) and junior (23rd), she dropped down in distance this year. That was in part because of those poor results and in part because she simply believes the 1500 is more “fun.”
Giordano has won the past three Heps titles in the event but had never run a blazing fast time until today (her pb was 4:19.55 entering the year). But Giordano PR’d in both rounds at regionals before busting out a huge five-second PR to win heat 1 in 4:13.18. Giordano and her coach Courtney Jaworski said that definitely wasn’t the plan, but Giordano found herself in the lead early and after a lap, she realized was feeling good and decided to go for it.
Giordano said she didn’t have a specific place goal in the final, but just wants to finish as highly as possible. Giordano will have a busy weekend as she’ll have to book it to the airport shortly after her race and catch a redeye back to Boston to make it to Dartmouth’s graduation on Sunday.
Quick Take #2: Marta Freitas wants a “fair race” in the final — it’s in her best interest to make it fast
Despite her incredible season (undefeated at 1500, NCAA leader), Freitas said she wasn’t happy with many of her races this year as she said that she was “winning too much” rather than challenging herself and going for a fast time. Hence, the decision to let loose at regionals, which resulted in a 4:09.80 PR.
Freitas revealed that she dabbled in “pretty much everything,” running the hurdles, 400, 800 and 1500 before leaving her native Portugal to enroll at Mississippi State in January 2015. But her first season was rough, as she battled IT band issues that necessitated surgery and broke her wrist after falling in last year’s NCAA 1500 final, finishing last.
That’s not even close to the worst thing that’s happened to Freitas in a race, however. Two years ago, her father suffered a heart attack and died during one of her races. Flotrack’s Taylor Dutch has the full story in a nice profile here.
Now Freitas is healthy has fully focused on the 1500 and feels great. She said that she didn’t necessarily plan on making it fast, but added that she wants a “fair race.”
“I want to make sure that the best 1500-meter [runner] in the country will win,” Freitas said.
That is very likely Freitas, who has run two seconds faster than anyone else this year. Her best bet may be to take it from the front and try to drop everybody, though that approach also entails some risk: Arizona State’s Shelby Houlihan did it in last year’s NCAA final only for Freitas’ teammate Rhianwedd Price to run her down at the very end.
Freitas gave an update on Price, who has not raced for Mississippi State this year. Freitas said that Price became very sick over Christmas break and that it persisted into the spring (she said she thought it was pneumonia), at which point she and her coach decided to not to race her. But Freitas said that Price is back training well again now and expects big things out of her in cross country.
QT #3: PR For Kaela Edwards as the NCAA Indoor Champ Comes Back from Injury
Kaela Edwards has run a 4:32 mile indoors, which is a better equivalent, but the 4:13.63 she ran tonight was nearly a 3.5-second PR (4:17.07 was old PR).
Edwards won the mile indoors this year, but has never had great success outdoors. She fell last year at NCAAs in the 800 so she was glad to make her first outdoor final. She ran today with kinesio tape on both her legs: it’s the most kiesio tape we’ve ever seen on a distance runner. She has had stress reactions/fractures in her femurs in the past, felt them coming on again this year, so she took four days off and some downtime this outdoor season to prevent them from recurring. She skipped the Big 12 meet as a precautionary measure.
As for her health, she said, “I think I’m in pretty good shape and recovering pretty well.” Of the kinesio tape, she said, “I think it works. It makes you feel fast because it’s attention grabbing.”
Edwards is ready for whatever happens in the final saying, “Whatever happens, happens, that’s the attitude you have to have going into the finals because you never know [what’s going to happen].”
QT #4 Racing is Fun Again for Elise Cranny
Elise Cranny, who easily advanced today by finishing second behind Freitas in heat #2, has the second best PR in the field, having run 4:10.95 in high school. Her fastest in college is the 4:14.05 she ran last year, but this year she said she is having fun again and running pretty well as she won her first Pac-12 title.
We asked her about the adjustment period to college and she said “I definitely think there was an adjustment period. Looking back I think I was putting too much pressure on myself, thinking because I did well through high school that I needed to come in right away and do something [big]. I think I lost a little bit of the racing being fun because it was so stressful. I think I’ve learned a lot this year just to stay calm and just do the best you can and it will come.”
We asked the if the prelim was fun and she said, “So much fun”.
Women’s Steeple: Erin Clark and Danielle Winslow Go Home As Courtney Frerichs Cruises
Four of the top 10 seeds based on seasonal best time didn’t make the final tonight, including two Power 5 conference champs as Pac-12 champ Erin Clark of Colorado (#4 seed 9:48.72 sb) only ran 10:12.18 in heat 2 and ACC champ Danielle Winslow of Boston College (#5 seed at 9:48.81) only ran 10:26.49 in heat 2. The other top-10 seeds that failed to advance was #8 seed Cornelia Griesche of Mississippi State (the SEC runner-up was 7th in heat 2 in 10:07.83) and #10 seed Madelin Talbert of Lipscomb. For the second year in a row, Talbert was agonizingly the 13th-best runner on a day when 12 make the final as she ran 10:07.10. Making the agony a bit easier is the fact that it took 10:01.60 to advance.
Heavy favorite Courtney Frerichs of New Mexico, who came in with a seasonal best that is 17.86 seconds faster than anyone else this year, looked just fine as she won her heat by 4-plus seconds. Even if she falls in Saturday’s final, she may still be able to win.
Heat 1 *Lap by lap splits here
|1||Courtney Frerichs||New Mexico||9:55.01 Q|
|2||Charlotte Prouse||Washington||9:59.15 Q|
|3||Erin Teschuk||North Dakota State||9:59.26 Q|
|4||Laura Rose Donegan||New Hampshire||9:59.70 Q|
|5||Katie Landwehr||Michigan State||9:59.77 Q|
|8||Antonia Hehr||Miss State||10:08.63|
|11||Bridget Blake||Florida State||11:07.11|
|DNS||Sofie Gallein||Eastern Michigan||–|
|Split||Intermediate Leader||Time||Fastest Split||Time|
|L1||Shelby Mills||0:43.66||Shelby Mills||0:43.66|
|L2||Courtney Frerichs||2:02.48||Erin Teschuk||1:18.56|
|L3||Courtney Frerichs||3:20.73||Erin Teschuk||1:18.25|
|L4||Courtney Frerichs||4:38.55||Courtney Frerichs||1:17.83|
|L5||Courtney Frerichs||5:56.88||Courtney Frerichs||1:18.33|
|L6||Courtney Frerichs||7:15.48||Courtney Frerichs||1:18.60|
|L7||Courtney Frerichs||8:34.31||Courtney Frerichs||1:18.84|
|3000m||Courtney Frerichs||9:55.01||Laura Rose Donegan||1:14.35|
Heat 2 *Lap by lap splits here
|1||Elinor Purrier||New Hampshire||9:54.91 Q|
|2||Jessica Kamilos||Arkansas||9:55.35 Q|
|3||Paige Kouba||Harvard||9:57.59 Q|
|4||Devin Clark||Arkansas||9:58.26 Q|
|5||Ingeborg Loevnes||Oklahoma State||9:59.13 Q|
|6||Erika Barr||UC Davis||10:01.60|
|7||Cornelia Griesche||Miss State||10:07.83|
|10||Danielle Winslow||Boston College||10:26.49|
|11||Minttu Hukka||Boise State||10:36.67|
|Split||Intermediate Leader||Time||Fastest Split||Time|
|L1||Cornelia Griesche||0:42.72||Cornelia Griesche||0:42.72|
|L2||Cornelia Griesche||2:02.43||Devin Clark||1:19.27|
|L3||Cornelia Griesche||3:23.12||Ingeborg Loevnes||1:20.43|
|L4||Elinor Purrier||4:42.94||Elinor Purrier||1:19.60|
|L5||Elinor Purrier||6:01.77||Jessica Kamilos||1:18.67|
|L6||Elinor Purrier||7:21.42||Devin Clark||1:19.63|
|L7||Elinor Purrier||8:39.81||Jessica Kamilos||1:18.25|
Quick Take #1: Courtney Frerichs on a potential collegiate record in the final: “If the conditions are there, I don’t see any reason why not to try for it”
Frerichs said that she feels “maybe a little” pressure heading into Saturday’s final, but winning has been in the back of her mind ever since she finished second last year. Now she’s one race from achieving her dream. The big question is whether Frerichs, who ran 9:29.31 at Stanford and is the NCAA leader by 18 seconds, can get Jenny Simpson’s NCAA record of 9:25.54 in Saturday’s final. Frerichs said that it’s something she’s definitely thought about.
“If the conditions are there, I don’t see any reason why not to try for it,” Frerichs said (it’s supposed to be a high of 70 with wind around 11 mph).
Frerichs said that she’s been running faster in workouts at altitude this year than she was at sea level at UMKC last year and that she thinks she’s very fit right now.
Frerichs also said that she’s taking a more patient approach this year with an eye on the Olympic Trials. She was 2nd at NCAAs last year, but said that by the time she got to USAs, she was fried (she wound up 7th). Frerichs didn’t have indoor eligibility this year anyway, so she and coach Joe Franklin have deliberately taken things slowly — she only raced three times before regionals (just one steeple). So far, so good.
Harvard’s Paige Kouba was back racing at Hayward Field (she’s attended South Eugene HS) and talked about what that meant:
Women’s 800: Hanna Green Goes Home Early As Raevyn Rogers Barely Nabs Final Auto Spot
Virginia Tech junior Hanna Green, the ACC champ who was third at NCAAs last year and 2nd indoors, was the big casualty today in the women’s prelims as she failed to advance to the Saturday’s 8-woman final after fading last in the second heat in 2:06.73. Green, who came in with the season’s fourth best time (2:02.45) was one of 4 women in heat 2 to go out in sub-60 (59.69) but she faded badly on the final lap.
Green was one of two top 8 seeds not to advance as Hampton’s Ce’aira Brown, the #7 seed at 2:02.82 who was 7th indoors, also failed to advance after finishing 7th in heat # in 2:07.35.
The 800 was viewed by pundits a wildcard event for the underdog Oregon Ducks if they are going to defend their team title but their hopes of potentially scoring huge points on Saturday didn’t materialize as Duck Anne Leblanc, who barely scraped into the 1500 final earlier tonight as a time qualifier, failed to make it to the 800 final as did Brooke Feldmeier, who just missed out by .21.
The prelims weren’t even great for defending champion Raevyn Rogers of Oregon, who barely grabbed the second auto qualifying spot in heat 2 as Princeton’s Cecilia Barowski got the surprising win in 2:03.50 to Rogers’ 2:03.55 which just edged Stanford’s Olivia Baker’s 2:03.66. Baker is no slouch as she’s the NCAA leader this year at 2:01.02 but 2:03.66 got her one of the two time qualifiers.
|1||Shea Collinsworth||BYU||2:03.32 Q||28.65 [28.65]||1:01.25 [32.60]||1:31.33 [30.09]||2:03.32 [32.00]|
|2||Morgan Schuetz||LSU||2:03.39 Q||29.15 [29.15]||1:01.90 [32.75]||1:32.43 [30.54]||2:03.39 [30.96]|
|3||Baylee Mires||Washington||2:04.35||28.81 [28.81]||1:01.45 [32.65]||1:31.49 [30.05]||2:04.35 [32.86]|
|4||Annie Leblanc||Oregon||2:05.00||28.97 [28.97]||1:01.71 [32.74]||1:33.00 [31.30]||2:05.00 [32.00]|
|5||Savannah Camacho||Oklahoma State||2:05.42||28.83 [28.83]||1:01.50 [32.68]||1:32.08 [30.59]||2:05.42 [33.34]|
|6||Claire Mooney||St. John’s||2:05.48||28.94 [28.94]||1:01.67 [32.74]||1:32.74 [31.08]||2:05.48 [32.75]|
|7||Ce’aira Brown||Hampton||2:07.35||28.77 [28.77]||1:01.40 [32.64]||1:32.76 [31.36]||2:07.35 [34.59]|
|8||Aubrey Wilberding||Michigan State||2:09.92||29.17 [29.17]||1:02.17 [33.01]||1:34.96 [32.80]||2:09.92 [34.96]|
|1||Claudia Saunders||Stanford||2:03.68 Q||28.10 [28.10]||59.85 [31.75]||1:31.16 [31.32]||2:03.68 [32.52]|
|2||Anima Banks||Duke||2:04.22 Q||28.03 [28.03]||59.63 [31.61]||1:30.93 [31.30]||2:04.22 [33.29]|
|3||Brooke Feldmeier||Oregon||2:04.56||28.33 [28.33]||1:00.18 [31.86]||1:32.20 [32.03]||2:04.56 [32.36]|
|4||Emma Keenan||Georgetown||2:05.13||28.13 [28.13]||59.78 [31.66]||1:31.85 [32.08]||2:05.13 [33.28]|
|5||Katie Willard||Texas A&M||2:05.63||28.32 [28.32]||1:00.04 [31.73]||1:31.50 [31.46]||2:05.63 [34.13]|
|6||Sarah Schmidt||Georgetown||2:05.64||27.91 [27.91]||59.47 [31.56]||1:30.27 [30.80]||2:05.64 [35.38]|
|7||Mary Beth Hamilton||Texas||2:06.16||28.50 [28.50]||1:00.07 [31.57]||1:32.40 [32.34]||2:06.16 [33.77]|
|8||Hanna Green||Virginia Tech||2:06.73||27.84 [27.84]||59.69 [31.85]||1:31.28 [31.59]||2:06.73 [35.46]|
|1||Cecilia Barowski||Princeton||2:03.50 Q||27.72 [27.72]||1:00.68 [32.97]||1:32.46 [31.78]||2:03.50 [31.04]|
|2||Raevyn Rogers||Oregon||2:03.55 Q||27.30 [27.30]||1:00.35 [33.05]||1:32.61 [32.27]||2:03.55 [30.95]|
|3||Olivia Baker||Stanford||2:03.56||27.52 [27.52]||1:00.49 [32.98]||1:32.78 [32.30]||2:03.56 [30.78]|
|4||Siofra Cleirigh Buttner||Villanova||2:04.72||27.93 [27.93]||1:00.89 [32.96]||1:32.85 [31.96]||2:04.72 [31.88]|
|5||Olicia Williams||Baylor||2:05.19||27.56 [27.56]||1:00.11 [32.55]||1:32.45 [32.34]||2:05.19 [32.75]|
|6||Jazmine Fray||Texas A&M||2:07.82||26.93 [26.93]||59.25 [32.32]||1:32.25 [33.01]||2:07.82 [35.57]|
|7||Ariah Graham||Kentucky||2:08.71||27.42 [27.42]||1:00.59 [33.18]||1:33.36 [32.78]||2:08.71 [35.35]|
|8||Sabrina Southerland||Georgetown||2:10.73||27.82 [27.82]||1:00.78 [32.97]||1:34.29 [33.51]||2:10.73 [36.44]|
QT #1: Catching Up With Princeton’s Cecilia Barowski – The Surprise Winner of Heat 3
Heat 3 featured Raevyn Rogers (NCAA champ last year) and Olivia Baker of Stanford (the 2016 NCAA leader) but the winner was Princeton’s Cecilia Barowski. It was tight at the finish and only the top 2 would automatically advance to the final and Rogers would grab the second spot with Baker advancing to the final on time.
Barowski admitted to being intimidated starting between Rogers and Baker but she executed her race flawlessly. Asked if beating the two favorites gave her confidence for the final, she was realistic, “If my time had been a little faster, it would have given me a little more confidence because I know she’s (Rogers) got more in her than a 2:03.”
Rogers and Baker had to run the 4×400 so we did not get to speak to them. Baker did stop and talk in the mixed zone for a few minutes before having some trouble and squatting down before her coach told her to go get ready for the 4×400.
Quick Take #2: Claudia Saunders, the runner-up the last two years, is entering Saturday’s final with nothing to lose
Saunders has come up clutch at this meet the past two years. In 2014 and 2015, she was only fourth at Pac-12s but finished second at NCAAs, PRing in the final both times. Saunders said that she tends to put a lot of pressure on herself during the regular but that she’s able to change her mindset.
“I think once I get to this meet, I realize you don’t have anything to lose,” Saunders said. “All that pressure’s just kind of in your head.”
Saunders only ran 2:06 at Payton Jordan back on May 1 but her heat win today showed that she’s rounding into form once again. She said she’s hoping to go sub-2:00 in the final.