GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Senior Allie Buchalski and sophomore Savannah Carnahan reached the NCAA Championship following the semifinals of the 5,000m Saturday in the final day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships East Preliminaries, which are being hosted by the University of South Florida and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, May 24-26, in Tampa, Fla.
Buchalski, a native of Johns Creek, Ga., won her heat and placed third overall with a time of 16:14.37 to earn an automatic qualifying spot. She entered the meet ranked second in the East with a time of 15:39.17 in the 5,000m, which she recorded at the Virginia Challenge. Buchalski finished sixth in the 5,000m at last year's NCAA Championships, earning an All-American citation.
Carnahan, who hails from Cumming, Ga., posted the ninth-best time in the semifinals at 16:17.59 to advance through to the finals, which will be held June 9 in Eugene, Ore. Carnahan, who finished 20th in the event at last year's NCAA East Preliminaries, entered the race ranked seventh in the East with a time of 15:49.89, which she posted at the Raleigh Relays.
In the men's 5,000m, senior Aaron Templeton turned in a time of 14:17.42 for 17th place, moving up 10 spots, as he entered the race ranked 27th with a time of 14:03.74, which he notched at the Virginia Challenge. Sophomore Mason Coppi of Dana Point, Calif., was 42nd in the event at 14:55.40 on Saturday.
Previously at the preliminaries, junior Frank Lara finished 11th with a season-best time of 29:33.95 in the semifinals of the 10,000m, punching his ticket to the NCAA Championships on Thursday. A native of Houston, Texas, he earned All-American honorable mention accolades after placing 19th in the event at the NCAA Championships last season. Senior Josh Brickell of Suwanee, Ga., finished 28th with a time of 30:34.90 in the 10,000m, and sophomore Jake Ogden, a native of Dana Point, Calif., placed 11th in his heat and 38th overall with a time of 3:53.20 in the 1,500m.
In Friday's races, freshman Kristlin Gear of Fort Meyers, Fla., placed third in her heat with a school-record time of 9:52.71 to advance automatically to the 3,000m Steeplechase semifinals, which will be held June 7 in Eugene, Ore. Sophomore Gabrielle Jennings from Sidell, La., finished fourth in her heat with a time of 10:02.67 in the event, a school record which was eclipsed just minutes later by Gear, and qualified in ninth-place. Emma Grace Hurley, a sophomore from Roswell, Ga., finished sixth in her heat and 23rd overall with a time of 10:18.97 in the Steeplechase on Friday, while senior Troy Reeder, a native of Fishers, Ind., recorded a time of 9:10.20 to take ninth in his heat and 34th overall in the event.
Twelve athletes in each event advanced to the NCAA Championships, which will be held in Eugene, Ore., June 6-9.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information