Kovach Advances to NCAA Finals in 5,000 meters

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind.- Sophomore Leslie Kovach advanced to the NCAA Finals with a sixth-place finish in the 5,000 meters for the University of Pennsylvania women's track and field team Saturday night at the NCAA East Preliminary Round on the E.C. Billy Hayes Track at Indiana University's Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex in Bloomington, Ind.

By finishing in the Top 12 in the event, Kovach automatically qualified for the NCAA championship meet, June 8-11, in Des Moines, Iowa. The indoor and outdoor school record-holder in the event, Kovach was among the top five in her heat to secure her spot in the NCAA Finals. Overall, she finished sixth with a time of 16:16.16. That is the second-best time of her career and is four seconds faster than any other Quaker in history, but still about five seconds behind her school record time set at the Penn Relays.

Earlier this week, junior Victoria Strickland reached the NCAA Quarterfinals and posted the second-best 800-meters time in school history, and sopomore Morgan Wheeler placed 35th in her first NCAA appearance in the javelin.

Kovach will join freshman Maalik Reynolds from the Penn men's team for a shot at a national championship in the NCAA championship meet, June 8-11, at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.