John Dressel, Ryan Forsyth give CU track fast start at NCAA nationals

Eduardo Herrera advances in 1,500

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If the Colorado track and field team can match its opening day effort at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships the rest of the way, the Buffaloes will enjoy a memorable weekend in Austin, Texas.

Distance runners John Dressel and Ryan Forsyth fared well in the Buffs’ first championship race of the meet Wednesday night, with Dressel placing 10th and Forsyth finishing 12th in the 10,000 meter run. Earlier in the day, junior Eduardo Herrera advanced out the semifinal heats in the 1,500 to earn a spot Friday’s final.

Dressel, who redshirted last year after reaching nationals in each of his first two seasons, finished in 29 minutes, 32.38 seconds. Forsyth, a senior making his NCAA outdoor championship debut in his final race with the Buffs, crossed the line in 29:47.90. Both runners logged personal-best times at the NCAA West Preliminaries two weeks ago that hovered around 29 minutes even, but the 80-plus degree conditions in Texas made repeating that pace unlikely.

Herrera, a junior who also was making his NCAA outdoor championship debut, survived a highly-competitive second heat in the 1,500 meter semifinals. In a race in which the top five from each of two heats advance alongside the next two best times, Herrera finished seventh in the second heat in 3:44.78. However, the top seven finishers in that heat proved to be the top seven times overall, giving Herrera the seventh overall time and the final at-large slot for the championship. Herrera finished with a better time than all the automatic qualifiers from the first heat.

The junior from Madera, Calif., will compete for the national championship Friday at 6:41 p.m. MT.

It will be a busy second day of the meet for the Buffs on Thursday, with senior steeplechaser Val Constien getting things started for CU with her semifinal race at 6:32 p.m. MT. Senior Gabby Scott will endure a demanding sequence of events as she looks to advance out of the semifinal heats of the 400 hurdles at 8 p.m. before anchoring a 4 x 400 relay team that will look to do the same less than an hour and a half later.

In between, Makena Morley and Kaitlyn Benner, the Monarch graduate running her final race for the Buffs, will race in the championship of the women’s 10,000 meter run.