GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Junior Frank Lara finished 11th in the semifinals of the 10,000m Thursday night, punching his ticket to the NCAA Championships and leading the Paladins in the opening 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.
Lara, who hails from Houston, Texas, crossed the line with a season-best time of 29:33.95, claiming a qualifying spot for the finals, which will be held on June 6 in Eugene, Ore. 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 event on Thursday.
In the Thursday afternoon races, 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. He entered the event ranked 48th in the East with a time of 3:45.82, which he recorded at the Virginia Challenge.
On Friday, the Paladins will have four athletes competing in the quarterfinals of the 3,000m Steeplechase. The women's race will commence at 8:20 p.m., followed by the men at 9 p.m.
Senior Troy Reeder, a native of Fishers, Ind., will run in the men's event for the third-consecutive year, after earning All-American accolades the past two seasons. He holds the ninth-best in the East in the event, 8:51.32, which he posted at the Payton Jordan Invitational on May 3. His personal-best time of 8:36.51, which he set at the NCAAs in 2016, is a Furman record.
Three Paladin women rank among the top 19 in the event. Sophomore Emma Grace Hurley, a native of Roswell, Ga., set a new Paladin record with a time of 10:06.35 at the Raleigh Relays, the ninth-best time in the East this season. Sophomore Gabrielle Jennings, who hails from Sidell, La., posted a time of 10:10.41 at the Payton Jordan Invitational, the 16th-best time in the East in 2018. She placed 18th in the event at last year's NCAA East Preliminaries. Freshman Kristlin Gear, a native of Fort Meyers, Fla., ranks 19th in the East with a time of 10:12.72, which she set at the Raleigh Relays.
The meet will conclude on Saturday, with Furman competing in the women's and men's 5,000m. The women's 5,000m semifinal will begin at 8:05 p.m. on Saturday, followed by the men's race at 8:45 p.m.
On the men's side, senior Aaron Templeton, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., notched a time of 14:03.74, the 27th best time in the East, in the 5,000m at the Virginia Challenge to qualify for the prelims, while sophomore Mason Coppi, who hails from Dana Point, Calif., qualified for the event after crossing the line in 14:10.31, which ranks 40th, at the Raleigh Relays. He finished 22nd in the event at last year's NCAA East prelims.
For the women, senior Allie Buchalski, who hails from Johns Creek, Ga., ranks second in the East with a time of 15:39.17 in the 5,000m, which she recorded at the Virginia Challenge. She finished sixth in the event at last year's NCAA Championships, earning an All-American citation. Sophomore Savannah Carnahan, who came to Furman from Cumming, Ga., is ranked seventh in the event with a time of 15:49.89 at the Raleigh Relays, after finishing 20th in the event at last year's NCAA East Preliminaries.
The top 12 finishers in each event will advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be held in Eugene, Ore., June 6-9.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information