TAMPA, Fla. – The Columbia women’s 4x400m relay team and senior Sarah Hardie give the Lions four qualifying events to the NCAA Finals, after the completion of the NCAA East Prelims in Tampa, Florida.
During a driving rain storm on the final day, Hardie was the first Lion to get through in a quarterfinal. After advancing through to the quarterfinal round in the women’s 1,500m with a 4:18.07 during the first round, the Columbia senior was placed in the first of two heats, with the top five runners and the next two fastest times advancing to the NCAA Finals in Eugene. Hardie’s 4:18.69 was good enough for sixth in the heat, but more importantly gave her the final qualifying spot for Eugene.
The women’s 4x400m relay team of Iman Sule, Terri Turner, Sydney Petersen, and Akua Obeng-Akrofi had a similar path, with the top three times in the three heats, plus the next three best times getting through. The Columbia quartet finished fourth in the first heat with a 3:35.89, but waited it out and had the third next best time, giving the Lions a berth in the NCAA Finals.
On the second day of action from Tampa, Columbia’s Nell Crosby advanced to the NCAA Finals in the 3,000m Steeplechase with a school record 9:54.55 for fourth place overall in the region. The school record output matched Obeng-Akrofi’s effort in the 400m, as she got through with a 51.82 in the 400m.
Other Lions competing on the final day were Sam Ritz, who made the quarterfinal in the 1,500m before taking 21st place, four members of the men’s team in the 5,000m in Brian Zabilski, Kenny Vasbinder, Ryan Thomas, and Lucky Schreiner, a men’s triple jumper in Daniel Igbokwe, and another women’s 5,000m runner in Erin Gregoire.
The NCAA Track & Field Finals begin on Wednesday, June 6 in Eugene, Oregon.