The first day of the NCAA Eastern Regional Outdoor Track & Field Qualifiers in Jacksonville Florida was yesterday and the Syracuse Orange had five athletes competing in the 10,000m run under the lights.
Paige Stoner and Laura Dickinson were part of the 48-women field looking to advance on to the Championship in Austin. With only the top 12 advancing the hope was that the top seed Stoner would be able to pull Dickinson along with her to get them both through to Austin. In the end it was Dickinson who ran a personal best time of 33:31.24 to finish in seventh place last night. Stoner wasn’t far behind as she finished in 33:34.89 to grab ninth place and earn her spot in the final.
This will be Laura’s first NCAA appearance while Paige will end her Syracuse career in her third straight NCAA outdoor appearance. Anna Rohrer of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish led for the majority of the race and won the heat in a time of 33:07.9. Nine of the twelve qualifiers from the women’s 10,000m event from ACC schools so the Syracuse duo will see a lot of familiar faces. Paige and Laura will be racing for the National title on Thursday June 6th in Austin and don’t worry too much about last night’s result as Paige will still be one of the favorites in that race.
In the Men’s 10,000m Iliass Aouani, Joe Dragon and Kevin James took their shot at qualifying for Austin. Aouani held onto the final qualifying spot in a time of 29:19.46 as he earns his first NCAA Championship track appearance. Dragon ran a personal best time of 29:27.46 to finish in fourteenth while James’ time of 30:18.63 put him in twenty-seventh. Dragon and James had the 40th and 47th best seed times entering last night’s race so they were able to out-perform expectations and hope that next year will see them reaching the qualifiers list. The men’s race was won by Gilbert Kigen of the Alabama Crimson Tide in a time of 28:51.11.
Aouani will compete in the 10,000m final in Austin on Friday June 7th as he continues his best season in a Syracuse uniform. Tomorrow’s action in Jacksonville will feature Richard Floyd in the 110m hurdles and we’ll see if he can advance to Saturday’s quarterfinal. The women’s 4x100m relay, Rachel Bonner and Matt Scrape will be competing on Saturday for their chance to advance. You can follow the live results here.
Congratulations to Laura, Paige and Iliass on advancing to Austin.