BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - In the NCAA Quarterfinals, junior Victoria Strickland ran the second-fastest 800 meters in the history of the University of Pennsylvania women's track and field program, but finished less than a second away from qualifying for the NCAA semifinals. Morgan Wheeler's 2011 campaign also came to an end in the javelin at the 2011 NCAA East Preliminary Round at Indiana University's Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex in Bloomington, Ind.
With the top 12 advancing to the NCAA Semifinals in Des Moines, Iowa, Strickland finished 17th in the quarterfinals - less than a second behind the 12th-place finisher. The Chevy Chase, Md., native finished in 2:06.88 to become just the second woman in school history to break 2:07 in the event. The only other Penn woman to do so was Jesse Carlin, who holds the program record with her time of 2:05.77 from 2008. Strickland's time was nearly a full second better than her previous lifetime best. It placed her sixth in her heat and was just behind the final qualifying time of 2:06.12. Strickland qualified for the quarterfinals when she finished second in her heat in the first round on Thursday with a time of 2:09.14.
Also making her first appearance in the NCAA Championships, Wheeler placed 35th among the 48 competitors. Alongside some of the top throwers in the nation, Wheeler's first toss landed 40.51 meters away. That stood as her best effort following her second throw, but her third attempt was her best of the day. The Poestenkill, N.Y., native stuck the javelin 41.22 meters (135 feet, 3 inches) away. Though it was not enough to reach the finals of the meet as Wheeler would have had to set a personal best to qualify for the NCAA finals - the 12th-place competitor finished with a toss of 46.13 meters (151-04 ft.).
The only member of the Red and Blue left to compete at the NCAA East prelims is sophomore distance runner Leslie Kovach. She is the No. 8 seed in the 5,000 meters
with her school record time of 16:11.59 from the Penn Relays. The gun goes off at 8:05 p.m., Saturday night. The top 12 will advance to the NCAA Finals.
NCAA Championship meet extends over two weekends
in a three-week span at three different sites. The first weekend is now
known as the NCAA Preliminary Round and is broken up into two different
sites - East (Bloomington, Ind.) and West (Eugene, Ore.), which host the
NCAA first round and quarterfinal round in each event as well as some
of the NCAA semifinals.
The top 24 finishers in the first round advance to the quarterfinals where the top 12 will advance to compete in the semifinals and finals of the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, June 8-11.A full recap will be available at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of each day's events.