NCAA OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
HAYWARD FIELD - EUGENE, OREGON
NEW YORK – Nell Crosby, Robert Napolitano, and Natalie Tanner are slated to compete at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which get under way on Wednesday at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

The ESPN Family of networks will have full coverage of the event, starting Wednesday evening. Men's semifinals can be seen on ESPNU from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on day one, before the coverage flips to ESPN at 8:30. On Thursday, the meet can be seen starting at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2, with full coverage at 8:30 p.m. on Friday evening. The final day of the Championships take place on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN.

“It's exciting to have both our guys and girls team there, and to have three people there in four events is awesome,” said the Director of Cross Country/Track & Field Daniel Ireland. “If Rob makes the final we have someone competing on every day of the NCAA Championships. That's neat to do and to show that we can compete with some of the best programs in the country is a tribute to these two seniors and what they have done in these four years and obviously Nell getting on the bandwagon and following along.”

Robert Napolitano | 1,500m Semifinal | Wednesday, 7:46 p.m. EST

The Outdoor Heps Champion in the 1,500m will run in the semifinal on Wednesday, as he hopes to advance on to the final, which is scheduled for 8:42 p.m. on Friday.

At the East Prelims, Napolitano kicked away in what ended up being a slow pace of the 1,500m, taking the fourth of five automatic qualifying spots for Eugene in 3:57.16, thanks to a final 400m that was clocked at under 53 seconds.

The senior competes at the Outdoor NCAAs for the first time in his career, having run the Mile during the 2016 Indoor NCAAs of his junior season, qualifying with a 3:58.98. Napolitano was a second team All-American after Indoor NCAAs, missing the final in seventh during his heat at 4:11.78.

“If you want to win you have to be at the front,” said Napolitano. “That's something that might sound silly to people not in the track world, but I was a bit intimidated in the race and I never put myself in it. A year and a half later, I know where I need to be and that's definitely the biggest thing I learned.”

This season, the Brick, New Jersey, native ran the second fastest 1,500m time in school history at 3:39.75, second only to when Kyle Merber set a collegiate record in 3:35.59. Napolitano earned three Ivy League titles during his senior campaign, which came in the indoor and outdoor 4x800m relay, and the 1,500m at Outdoor Heps.

Nell Crosby | 3,000m Steeplechase Semifinal | Thursday, 8:02 p.m. EST

Crosby's semifinal heat of the 3,000m Steeplechase takes off on Thursday evening, with the top times moving on to the Saturday final at 6:54 p.m.

In her first season competing on the track, the former Columbia Lacrosse midfielder impressed in the steeplechase and the 5,000m, earning regional qualifying times in both races. Crosby broke the Steeplechase school record at the East Prelims, taking second in her heat at 10:02.02 to advance to Eugene.

"I don't think I would be going to NCAAs in my first track season had it not been for my lacrosse background," said Crosby. "There's no way I could have ever predicted this would happen. In high school, I wasn't even looking to be recruited for running. To see myself here is something I couldn't even have imagined; it's crazy."

At Outdoor Heps, Crosby claimed second team All-Ivy status in the event, clocking a 10:25.18 for second. Her previous season best prior to the East Prelims of 10:18.41 was good enough for third at the Virginia Challenge, while she won the Steeplechase during the Sam Howell Invitational at 10:25.50.  

Natalie Tanner | 10,000m Final | Thursday, 10:08 p.m. EST
                              5,000m Final | Saturday, 8:25 p.m. EST

After an impressive outing during the East Prelims, Tanner is set to compete in both the 5,000m and 10,000m in Eugene. Thursday's 10,000m final will be first, as the Ivy League champion will line up in the field of 24 before the Saturday 5,000m final.

A season ago, the senior picked up second team All-American accolades after a 15th place finish in Eugene at 16:23.04. This year, she heads to Oregon as one of only three qualifiers in both the 5,000m and 10,000m.

“Last year, I definitely felt like I kind of snuck my way in and I shouldn't have been there, and then I think coming out of the race and earning All-American status I realized I could compete with the best in the country,” said Tanner. “I definitely have taken that confidence all year and it's exciting to be back and competing against those girls.”

On the first day of the East Prelims, Tanner was fifth in the 10,000m, finishing under four seconds behind of the winner in a personal best 33:41.65. Prior to that race, Tanner took the tape in her only other 10,000m races, first at the Virginia Challenge in 33:48.20, and next at Outdoor Heps in 34:13.63.

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wo days after qualifying in the 10,000m, Tanner was fifth in her heat of the 5,000m to earn an automatic qualifying spot in Eugene, going 16:09.69. During the outdoor season, the Rye, New York, native competed in the 5,000m once, earning a qualifying spot at the East Prelims from the Stanford Invitational in a career best 16:04.65. Tanner also has indoor experience at 5,000m, as the runner-up during Indoor Heps this year.