TAMPA, Fla. - The Hoyas had a number of strong performances today to set themselves up for the final day of the BIG EAST Outdoor Track & Field Championship - but only one member of the Blue & Gray can say she set a new school record and that is Amanda Kimbers (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh). Today at the USF Track & Field Stadium, Kimbers set a new school record in the women's 200-meter dash trials and ultimately qualified for tomorrow's final in the event. She is one of 14 Hoyas to qualify for the final in eight events from today's trials. The individual events on the track will be bookended by relays and the Hoyas will have on competitor in the men's triple jump.
After a tough 100-meter trial that saw Kimbers make up an unfortunate deficit to finish second in her heat but still just shy of the finals qualifiers, the All-American came back in the 200-meter trials with a vengeance. Not only did she set a new school record, but she ran an Olympic Trials B standard as she handily won her heat with a time of 23.28, the second-fastest time from today's heats. Her time was only bested by a new facility and meet record (23.16) by Pittsburgh's Cambrya Jones.
The men's 5,000-meter had potential to have at least two Hoyas in the top eight if not all three but on the back straightaway with just over 1,000 meters to go, a couple runners got tripped up and ultimately resulted in both T.C. Lumbar (Edina, Minn./Edina) and Alex Lundy(Littleton, Colo./Heritage/Maryland) going down and Lumbar nearly taking a spike to the eye. The lone Hoya unaffected was Ayalew Taye(Portland, Maine/Cushing Academy) who would eventually take ninth in the race with a time of 14:34.32. Despite the fall, Lumbar and Lundy got right back up and the duo sprinted through the final 1,000 meters to finish 13th (14:43.05) and 14th (14:44.01), respectively.
Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass./North Andover) found herself in what was bound to be a kicker's race in the women's 5,000-meter run as she was part of a chase pack that stuck together through the majority of the race as the five leaders started to pull away throughout the race. Kasper's sprint over the last 150 meters was enough to push her into seventh place with a time of 16:43.91. Joanna Stevens (Blacksburg, Va./Blacksburg) finished 12th with a time of 16:59.64 while Jenna Davidner (South Easton, Mass./Oliver Ames) placed 20th with a time of 17:44.18.
The Hoya women set themselves up nicely in the middle distance events, sending four Hoyas to the 12-person final. All-American Madeline Chambers (Rocky River, Ohio/Magnificat) ran the fastest times from the heats with a time of 4:23.73 while Annamarie Maag (Lake Oswego, Ore./Jesuit) also automatically qualified (4:26.30) from the second heat. All-American and NCAA Champion Emily Infeld (University Heights, Ohio/Beaumont) automatically qualified in heat one, running a time of 4:25.15 while Katrina Coogan (Exeter, N.H./Phillips Exeter Academy) qualified on time from the first heat with a time of 4:26.05. Tomorrow's women's 1,500 final will be a four-school battle with GU bringing four to the finals, Villanova and Notre Dame each sending three apiece and Connecticut nabbing two spots.
The men's 1,500-meter had the same setup as the women with a two-heat prelim with the top four qualifying from each heat and the next four on time. Miles Schoedler (Ocean View, N.J./Ocean City) and Andrew Springer (Westerly, R.I./Westerly) both recorded automatic qualifying times. Schoedler ran 3:51.84 in heat one while Springer ran 3:52.09 in heat two to both guarantee a spot in tomorrow's final. Bobby Peavey (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam) qualified on time, running 3:53.23 in heat two, to snag a spot in the 12-person final. Georgetown has the most of any school qualified for the men's 1,500 finals with three followed by Notre Dame, Providence and Villanova who all qualified two each. Louisville, Connecticut and Syracuse all have one entrant in the final.
All-American Chelsea Cox (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) set a new USF Track & Field Stadium record today in the women's 800-meter run, winning her heat with a time of 2:06.14 and automatically qualifying for tomorrow's final. All-American Rachel Schneider (Dover, N.H./St. Thomas Aquinas) also won her heat and automatically qualified for tomorrow's final as she timed in at 2:07.47. Schneider made her move over the final 200 as she went for first place around the final turn and battled for the win over the home straightaway. Cox's heat was slightly more together through the first 400 and Cox started to move toward the front early in the second lap and took first easily.
There was never a doubt that London Finley (Los Angeles, Calif./St. Mary's Academy) would be in tomorrow's finals as soon as she came out of the starting blocks in the women's 400-meter hurdles. Finley dominated her heat, running 57.86, well ahead of the remainder of the field. By the second hurdle, Finley was easily at least a stride ahead of the field and only extended the gap with each hurdle.
Biyerem Okengwu (Piscataway, N.J./Piscataway Township) had a great personal record today, having never broken 14 seconds in the men's 110-meter high hurdles. He ran 13.98 to qualify for tomorrow's final on time. His time was also an Olympic Trials B standard.
In the men's 400-meter hurdles, Toby Ulm (Marlborough, United Kingdom/St. John's School & Community College) came up on the back straightaway of his heat to really make up the stagger and off the final turn, was clearly in contention for the top spot in his heat. He timed in at 51.05 to take second in his heat and automatically qualify for tomorrow's final.
Kevin Wilson (Virginia Beach, Va./Landstown/George Mason) will compete in his first BIG EAST Championship finals tomorrow in the men's 400-meter dash. The graduate student, competing in his final year of eligibility with the Hoyas after finishing his undergraduate at nearby George Mason, ran 47.50 in the second of the three-heat trials, qualifying for tomorrow's final on time. Wilson held on through the first 300 and really pushed hard through the final 100 meters to propel him up to third.
The Hoyas continue action at the 2012 BIG EAST Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Sunday with track events beginning at 11 a.m. All events tomorrow will be final events with relay events bookending the day. A live blog will be available on www.GUHoyas.com.