GULF SHORES, AL - Both of the Warrior men in action at the NAIA Track & Field National Championships on Thursday ran their way into finals on Friday, with Clayton VanDyke earning his spot in the 800m and Cole Olsen punching his ticket in the 5,000m.
Both events LC State women competed in fell just short of making the finals, each finishing one place out of the qualifying group.
“Another up and down day for Warrior Track and Field here in Gulf Shores,” Head Coach Mike Collins said. “In general, we saw Clayton move on in the 800m. He ran a nice race today with the top seed in his heat. He will be running two races tomorrow in the finals. Cole, in the 5,000m, ran one of the best races he has ever raced. He focused on what he needed to do to get to the final and that is what racing is all about when you get to nationals.”
VanDyke continued his strong showing in Alabama with a final-qualifying time in the 800m. He clocked in with a time of 1:52.91 to take eighth in the prelims. He will race in both the 1,500m and 800m finals on Friday. The 1,500m will take place at 1:10 p.m. PT, and the 800m at 3 p.m. PT.
Olsen also secured himself a spot in a final with a time of 14:50.74 in the 5,000m. He finished eighth in the prelims and will race in the final on Friday at 3:55 p.m. PT.
“It is an awful lot of racing for him to have done with the 10,000m yesterday and the 5,000m today, and another 5,000m tomorrow, so his legs are going to be beat and we will see what kind of heart he’s got tomorrow,” Collins said.
Connor Turpin will kick things off bright and early on Friday when he begins the marathon at 4 a.m. PT. Andrew Carlyle will compete in the pole vault at 11 a.m. PT, and VanDyke and Olsen will race in their finals.
Geraldin Correa ran in the first national individual race of her career and clocked in at 2:14.84 in the 800m. Though faster than others that qualified for the final, Correa did not advance due to the top two from each heat automatically qualifying.
“Geraldin ran a great race in the 800m today was well,” Collins said. “She was just a little bit out of the mix and was the first girl not to make the final, which is obviously disappointing for her but she is just a freshman so we are excited to see her when she comes back. She learns every time she races and gets a little bit better every time.”
The 4x400m relay team of Anika Grogan, Rebekka Kalmbach, Karlie Smith and Ashley Britt finished just outside of the final-qualifying group. The quartet took ninth with a time of 3:53.41.
“Our women’s 4x400m team went out and really put their hearts into it,” Collins said. “We felt that they would have to run 3:50 or better based on what the other girls have done this season. I thought they raced pretty well at 3:53, but just not quite enough. Again, the first team to not make it to the final which is frustrating.”
Delaney Warren will be the lone Warrior woman competing on the final day when she throws in the discus at noon PT.