GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Five Paladin distance runners will compete at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships beginning Wednesday in Eugene, Ore.
Senior Frank Lara will compete in the finals of the 10,000m Wednesday at 10:08 p.m. Lara finished 11th with a season-best time of 29:33.95 in the semifinals to advance to the finals. A native of Houston, Texas, he earned All-American honorable mention accolades after placing 19th in the event at the NCAA Championships last season.
Freshman Kristlin Gear and sophomore Gabrielle Jennings will run in the semifinals of the 3,000m Steeplechase Thursday at 7:32 p.m. A native of Fort Meyers, Fla., Gear passed two runners on the final lap at last week's preliminaries, placing third in her heat with a school-record time of 9:52.71 to advance automatically to the semifinals. She entered the event ranked 19th in the East with a time of 10:12.72, which she set at the Raleigh Relays.
Jennings, who hails from Sidell, La., finished fourth in her heat with a time of 10:02.67, a school record which was eclipsed just minutes later by Gear, and qualified in ninth-place. Jennings, who placed 18th in the event at last year's NCAA East Preliminaries, entered the event with the 16th-best time in the East in 2018.
The top five runners from each of the two heats plus the individuals with the next two best times will advance to the finals of the event, which will be held Saturday at 6:54 p.m.
On Saturday, senior Allie Buchalski and sophomore Savannah Carnahan will represent the Paladins in the 5,000 finals at 8:25 p.m. Buchalski, a native of Johns Creek, Ga., won her heat and placed third overall with a time of 16:14.37 at the preliminaries 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. 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.
"I am very proud of the staff and student-athletes we have qualified for the NCAA Championships," said Furman head coach Robert Gary. "This is an extremely long, difficult, cut throat qualification process. Only the top 24 in one of the most participated sports the NCAA sponsors, who showed up fit and focused, qualify. Developing high level cross country teams, sending the number of qualifiers equal to the national powerhouses for this meet, and doing so inside the rigorous academic demands of Furman are our three missions. It has been a tremendous year, and we are looking forward to this meet, USATF Juniors, as well as USATF Seniors!"
The top eight finishers in each event at the NCAA Championships will be deemed first team All-Americans, with finishers nine through 16 earning second team All-American accolades. Honorable Mention All-American citations will be bestowed on athletes who finish in 17th through 24th place.
The first two days of the championships will be broadcast live on ESPN2 beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday and 7:00 p.m. on Thursday. Wednesday's coverage will transition to ESPN beginning at 8:30 p.m. The final two days of action will be televised on ESPN with network coverage starting at 8:30 p.m. on Friday and 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
NCAA Championships (All times noted are Eastern Standard Time)
10:08 p.m. Men's 10,000m Final – Frank Lara