Dani Jones is racking up the honors and doing so quickly. The Colorado track and field star ran 15:17.11, the ninth-fastest time in NCAA history in the 5,000, Friday evening here to post her second top-10 NCAA time in just a six-day timeframe.
The senior now has the top time in the mile in the NCAA, second-best time in the 800 and third-best mark in the 5,000 for this indoor season. She hasn’t even touched a 3,000 this season but is stacking up the qualifications as she also is a part of the fifth-best distance medley relay.
“Well, they went there because they knew whether there or here in Seattle, to go as fast as they wanted to they probably would have to go alone,” said Head Coach Mark Wetmore on Makena Morley and Jones. “So while they didn’t get much help in Boston because Jenny was running her own race and the pacers only went two kilometers those are fast times for basically time trialing. Makena was a little too fast probably at 2K and 3K, so she’s probably disappointed with 15:26 but the main goal for both of them was to get to the NCAA so they accomplished that and a little more in Dani’s case, a US Olympic Trials qualifier in the 5,000.”
The senior is just six days separated from her mile performance in the Millrose Wanamaker where she became the sixth-fastest performer in NCAA history with a 4:27.88.
“Tonight was a special night,” said Jones. “It was my first indoor 5k, the first 5k I’ve run for time and my first race with Makena and Jenny this season. I didn’t necessarily run the time I wanted tonight, but I’m happy with the effort I put in to tonight and how I’ve juggled some difficult racing scenarios these past few weeks. I’m also extremely happy to be qualified in 3 events. The coaches have given me a lot of great opportunities to run well and I’m especially grateful for them and Makena and Jenny’s company through it all.”
Jones is now the only female athlete in NCAA history with a top-10 NCAA mark on a 200-meter track in both the mile and 5,000. Arizona’s Lawi Lalang is the only representative on the men’s side in both events.
Also in the women’s race was Morley who lowered her best mark to 15:26.22, good for third on the CU top-10. She and Jones stayed with Jenny Simpson through the first 1600 before Simpson dropped a 71 second quarter while Jones and Morley stayed around 74 seconds. Morley and Jones worked together through 4,000 meters when Jones began building a second gap. The three women finished the final 1,000 running virtually alone.
Morley’s mark is good for seventh on the NCAA descending order list taking into consideration Jones’ time.
Across the nation in the finale of a day that featured more than 35 events for CU athletes, Joe Klecker took the win in the Husky Classic 5,000 Invitational heat, lowering his own school record by a second to 13:34.10. The mark places him fourth in the nation and set for a trip to the NCAA with top-five marks in three events. He now owns the top time in the mile, second in the 3,000 and fourth in the 5,000 in the NCAA.
Also in strong distance races today was Alec Hornecker in the 5,000 who ran 14:09.62. Freshmen Hunter Appleton and Austin Vancil made their debuts with Appleton running 14:17.23 and Vancil 14:27.13.
On the women’s side, Holly Bent placed fifth in the non-invitational 3,000 at 9:27.68. Kaitlyn Barthell and Elizabeth Constien ran in the women’s 5,000, both breaking the 17-minute barrier at 16:53.69 and 16:58.11, respectfully.
In Arkansas, the women’s hurdles and the 400 were strong events with Dani Johnson and Eriana Henderson advancing to the semifinals with bests of 8.42 and 8.54 in the 60-meter hurdles, respectfully. Henderson was also an inch shy of her personal best in the long jump after she jumped 5.85 meters (19-2.5) and qualified for finals.
In the 400-meter dash, Abbey Glynn lowered her sixth-best mark in CU history to 55.04 seconds, just a hundredth of a second from tying for fifth in Buff history. She placed second in the non-invitational sections of the 400. Aaron McCoy ran 57.93 seconds in the fast section of the men’s 400 for 13th overall while Garrett Nelson ran 48.36, Kendal Smith ran 48.96 and Nathan Hoy ran 48.97 seconds.
In Albuquerque at the site of the indoor national championships, Avery McMullen ran 8.69 seconds in the 60 hurdles while Cheyenne Cheshier triple jumped 11.14 meters (36-6.75). The jumps and combined event athletes closed out their competition while the rest of the meets extend into Saturday.