June 11, 2008
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Chris Ashley, Danielle Domenichelli, and Michael Powers are set to compete at the NCAA Championships this evening. The competition will take place at Drake University, beginning on Wednesday and running until Saturday. All three UCSB athletes will partake in qualifying heats Wednesday night, and will be looking to advance to Friday's championship heats.
A total of 1088 athletes, 544 men and 544 women, will be competing in this year's edition of the NCAA Championships. Athletes qualified for the event through participation in one of the four Regional meets held two weeks ago.
Senior distance runner Chris Ashley is making his first appearance at Nationals, competing in the 5000 meter race. His best time of 14:01.59 is good for second on the UCSB all-time list, with the school record set at 14:00.00. Ashley ran his personal best two weeks ago at the Regional meet, taking third place. He has had two races around the 14:00 mark this season, with his second-best performance of 14:03.26 coming at the Stanford Invitational on April 4.
There are two heats in the men's 5000m prelims. The heats are mixed-time, so there is no advantage of being in a "fast" heat as is the case at Regionals. Both heats have thirteen competitors, and the top six from each heat along with the next four best times will advance to Friday evening's final, for a total of sixteen athletes.
Also competing in the 5000 meter race will be junior Danielle Domenichelli, who has had a breakout season in the longer distance races after excelling in the 1500m last year. She ran her fastest 5k time of the season at the Regional meet on May 31, taking third place with a time of 16:28.18. She sits in fifth on the UCSB all-time list in the 5000m.
The women's 5000m prelims follow the same procedure as the men's prelims, and the championship race will also be held on Friday evening.
The final entrant for the Gauchos is senior Michael Powers in the men's steeplechase. He ran a tremendous race at the Regional meet with a time of 8:48.18, a thirteen second improvement on his personal best. Powers currently sits second on the UCSB all-time steeplechase list and will be looking to replicate his strong performance from two weeks ago.
The men's steeplechase uses the same general format as the 5000m races, but only the top five from each heat advance, plus the next four best times, for a total of fourteen competitors in the final heat. Like the 5000m races, the steeplechase final will be Friday evening.
The time schedule for Wednesday's prelims will be: men's steeplechase at 7:45 p.m., women's 5000 meters at 8:10 p.m., and men's 5000 meters at 8:50 p.m.
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