NEW YORK – A total of four events will be showcased starting Thursday for the women of the Columbia track & field team at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
All four days of the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships can be seen on the ESPN family of networks, with Thursday’s action getting under way at 7:00 p.m. live on ESPN2.
Sarah Hardie begins the meet for the Lions on Thursday in the 1,500m at 4:16 p.m. local time, followed by Nell Crosby at 4:32 p.m. in the 3,000m steeplechase. At 5:30 p.m., Akua Obeng-Akrofi runs in the 400m, before continuing her day at 7:18 p.m. in the 4x400m relay with Iman Sule, Terri Turner, and Sydney Petersen.
This is the first NCAA Outdoor Final of Hardie’s four-year career, as the senior earned Indoor All-American honors this season in the 1 Mile run. Hardie made it to Eugene after a 4:18.07 at the East Prelims, which was a mere .03 off the Columbia school record pace from 1990. The Eastport, New York, native will run in the first of two heats, and will have to be in the top five or have one of the two next best times in order to make the Saturday final.
Returning to the NCAA Finals for the second straight year is Crosby, who has had another successful season in the steeple. The Columbia school record holder at 9:54.55 is set to run in the second of two heats and has the same path to the Saturday final as Hardie does. A year ago, Crosby was a 16th place finisher in the same race at Eugene.
Another first trip to Eugene will come for Obeng-Akrofi, who advanced in the 400m dash after a blazing 51.82 at the East Prelims helped her to her fifth outdoor school record. The senior will try to fend off challengers in lane eight during the third and final heat, with the top two from each heat and the next two best times advancing to Saturday’s final. After a near school record of 3:35.89 in the 4x400m relay also during the East Prelims, the quartet also advanced to Eugene and is slated to run in lane one during the third heat on Thursday night.