There was no time than the present for Colorado's Dani Jones and Maddie Alm to run the best 1,500 meters of their lives.
Both did exactly that Thursday at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., securing a spot in Saturday's finals. Jones, a freshman, finished second in her heat and second overall in a time of 4 minutes, 13.44 seconds. She was just .26 seconds back of Dartmouth senior Dana Giordano. Alm, a senior who also ran in the first semifinal, finished seventh in 4:14.54. They'll be two of 12 runners in the championship heat.
Jones earned one of five automatic spots in the finals out of the heat, while Alm claimed one of two time qualifying slots.
"It was a great day in the 1,500 - beyond our aspirations," University of Colorado head coach Mark Wetmore said. "We got both women through and they ran really fast."
Jones and Alm, however, won't be joined by teammates Erin Clark or Val Constein in the final round. Neither were able to advance in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase. Clark finished eighth in her heat in 10:12.31, while Constein came in 12th in 10:41.36.
"The steeplechase, on the other hand, was a disappointment," Wetmore said. "We were confident we would get Erin through for sure. I don't know what we did wrong, but she was tired and off her game. We will have to go back to work.
"Val was a dark horse anyway," Wetmore added. "It was a great year for her and bodes well for next year."
In the 10,000, sophomore Mackenzie Caldwell came in 21st in 34:13.19. That was her second fastest time of the season.
NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Hayward Field (Eugene, Ore.)
Women's Track Events
1,500-meter run (semis): (1. Dana Giordana, Dartmouth, 4:13.18) 2. Dani Jones, 4:13.44; 7. Maddie Alm, 4:14.54
3,000-meter steeplechase (semis): (1. Ellinor Purrier, New Hampshire, 9:54.91) 16. Erin Clark, 10:12.31; 22. Val Constien, 10:41.36
10,000-meter run (finals): (1. Dominique Scott, Arkansas, 32:35.69) 21. Mackenzie Caldwell, 34:13.19
4 Buffs earn Pac-12 All-Academic honors
The Colorado track and field program landed a total of 21 student-athletes to the Pac-12 Conference All-Academic teams announced on Thursday, including four first-team selections.
Leading the way for the Buffs were three first-team selections from the women's program in junior Mandy Ortiz and sophomores Mackenzie Caldwell and Kaitlyn Benner. All three athletes produced GPAs of at least 3.85, with Ortiz posting a 3.97 as a major in integrative physiology major. Sophomore Adam Peterman was the lone first team selection from the men's program.
Senior Morgan Pearson and junior Joe Holvey were named to the men's second team. A total of 15 Buffs earned honorable mention accolades. From the women's side that list includes Maddie Alm, Eryn Blakely, Erin Clark, Kelsey English, Sophie Hallam-Eames, Ana Holland, Rajon O'Quinn, and Abrianna Torres. The men's honorable mention selections were Paden Gaitlin, Ethan Gonzales, Isaiah Kaiser, Garrett Losty, Christian Martin, Jaron Thomas, and Connor Winter.
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