NEW YORK – The Columbia track & field team took part in the first day of the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field East Regionals Thursday, in Bloomington, Ind., and saw two Lions advance to the next round, with several others just missing the cut.

Juniors Sharay Hale and Kyra Caldwell both advanced in their respective events. Hale qualified for the quarterfinals of the 400m dash automatically, as she finished second in her heat with a time of 54.07. She will run Friday, May 27 at 5:30 p.m. And Caldwell also advanced automatically, as she came in second in her heat in the hurdles, with a time of 59.43 seconds. The quarterfinals of that event will take place Friday at 7 p.m.

The rest of the day was a series of close calls for the Lions. Sophomore Dora Vegvari missed advancing to the national championship finals of the long jump in Iowa by one centimeter. Vegvari jumped 6.03m, good for the 13th best distance of the day, with the top 12 heading to Des Moines. The final qualifier jumped 6.04m on her last jump of the day to bump Vegvari from the final spot. Sophomore Uju Ofoche also participated in the long jump, clearing 5.62m.

Senior Matthew Stewart also had a near miss in the men’s 800m run, as he finished with a time of 1:51.75, fourth in his heat. With the top three advancing to the quarterfinals from each heat along with the next six times, Stewart was just three tenths of a second from continuing his senior season.

Senior Jacqueline Drouin ran the women’s 1500m run, and came in seventh in her heat, just two spots out of automatic qualification. The senior finished the race in 4:31.22.

Junior Adam Behnke ran 3:54.57 in the 1500m run, while sophomore Mark Feigen did not finish the race. Senior Brendan Martin ran the 10,000m in 29:43.76, good for 19th in the field of 48, but it was not enough for him to advance. Sophomore Mike Murphy came in at 30:42.57, good for 37th overall. And sophomore Noelle Van Rysselberghe competed in the women’s 10,000m run, coming in with a time of 34:44.62.

Friday’s action will see Hale and Caldwell compete, along with sophomore QueenDenise Okeke in the triple jump, and junior Monique Roberts in the high jump.

Friday, May 27
1:00pm — Women’s Triple Jump (qualifying)
1:00pm — Women’s High Jump (qualifying)
5:30pm — Women’s 400m (quarterfinal)
7:00pm — Women’s 400m Hurdles (quarterfinal)

Saturday, May 28
8:05pm — Women’s 5000m (semifinal)
8:45pm — Men’s 5000m (semifinal)
9:25pm — Women’s 4 x 400m (quarterfinal)