June 11, 2008
DES MOINES, Iowa -- The qualifying rounds of the NCAA Championships got started this evening, and UCSB's Danielle Domenichelli advanced to the final round of the 5000 meters. She finished eighth in her section, but her time of 16:51.56 was faster than all of the competitors in the other section.
The top six competitors from each of the two sections advanced automatically, along with the next four best times overall. The winner of section one was Sally Kipyego from Texas Tech, who came into the championships with the fastest overall time of 15:11.88. She took her group on an easy ride, leading the way with a time of 17:23.14. Section two was considerably faster, with the winner completing the race in 16:45.48. Domenichelli was eighth in section two, crossing the line in 16:51.36 and securing one of the four "at-large" berths in Friday's final. She ran a smooth race and should have plenty left in the tank for Friday, where she hopes to earn All-American status by finishing in the top eight.
Chris Ashley competed in the men's 5000 meter prelims, which were also run at a relatively slow pace. Runners were reluctant to move into the lead due to the windy conditions, resulting in a tentative race that didn't spring to life until the final laps. The race was essentially a long warm-up with a 1200 meter sprint tagged-on to the end, which didn't play to Ashley`s strengths. He leaves the track program at number 2 all-time in the 5000 meters, and is also on the top-10 list in the 1500m, 3000m, and 10,000m.
Michael Powers was the final competitor for UCSB at the meet, and he took ninth in his section and eighteenth overall in the steeplechase prelims. He suffered an early fall over one of the barriers, but he was able to get back on his feet quickly and rejoin the pack. However, he used a lot of energy to get back into the race, and therefore lacked the closing speed that was necessary to finish in the top-14. He had a great senior season, in which he reached number 2 on the all-time list in the steeplechase. He was also consistently the top runner on the cross-country squad last autumn.
Conditions in Iowa improved as the day went on, but early thunderstorms caused flooding problems which delayed the start of the meet. Despite the delay, all scheduled events were completed and the meet is still running on schedule.
Danielle's race will be on Friday, June 13 at 9:15 p.m. Central Daylight Time. CBS College Sports Network (formerly CSTV) will be airing live coverage of the meet from 7-10 p.m. CDT on Friday, so you should be able to catch Danielle's race if you tune-in around 7:00 p.m. local time.
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