Perhaps it's time to start wondering if the Colorado track and field program will bring back a national championship when the Buffaloes return from Eugene, Ore.
Sophomore Dani Jones and freshman Madie Boreman served notice on Thursday that they are more than ready to compete for a national title with their stellar performances in their respective preliminary heats at the NCAA championships.
Jones in particular put together a dominant effort in the preliminaries of the women's 1,500-meter run, turning in the top overall time of 4 minutes, 10.74 seconds to win the opening heat. Jones' victory gave her an automatic berth in the 1,500-meter final, which will be held on Saturday afternoon at 4:41 p.m. MDT.
Boreman, one of two CU freshmen in the preliminaries of the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, also advanced to the championship heat by matching Jones' feat with an opening-heat victory. Boreman's time of 9:51.00 ended as the fourth-best mark overall, which remained more than good enough for one of the 12 spots in Saturday's final (4:54 p.m. MDT). Boreman's time topped her personal best by more than 15 seconds.
Teammate Sage Hurta was unable to advance out of the steeplechase prelims, finishing 22nd overall with a mark of 10:20.59.
In CU's lone championship event on Thursday, junior Erin Clark put on a solid performance in front of her hometown crowd in Eugene, finishing fifth in the 10,000-meter run. Clark finished in 33:03.22, over 44 full seconds behind national champ Charlotte Taylor of San Francisco, but she was just .45 of a second behind fourth-place finisher Alyssa Snyder of Montana State. CU freshman Makena Morley placed 17th with a time of 33.58.17.
Friday will be another busy day for the Buffaloes, with junior Ben Saarel set to compete in the championship of the men's 1,500-meter run at 6:42 p.m. The Buffs will feature three athletes in the 8:25 p.m. MDT championship in the men's 10,000-meter run — John Dressel, Joe Klecker, and Zach Perrin.
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