Cougs continue NCAA West Preliminary, Willems and Fletcher notch qualifying times

Cougs continue NCAA West Preliminary, Willems and Fletcher notch qualifying times

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Elena Willems (800m, 2:06.67) and Mackenzie Fletcher (400m hurdles, 59.00) each placed fourth in their respective heats but earned qualifying times into this weekend’s quarterfinal rounds as Washington State women’s track and field resumed the NCAA West Preliminary competition Thursday. 


Making her NCAA West Preliminary debut, Cristina Molteni closed out the night for the Cougs with personal-best 33:33.92, an improvement on her third all-time standing all-time at WSU, to finish 27th in the 10,000m run. 


Willems led the majority of the opening 400 meters and closed strong, crossing the shaded finish line at Hornet Stadium in fourth at 2:06.67. The fourth-place finish left Willems just one place outside of an automatic qualifying bid into the next round but was enough for the fourth-falsest time qualifier into Saturday’s quarterfinal round. 


Running in one of the fastest heats of the night to lead off the 400m hurdles, Fletcher clocked a PR for the second meet in a row with a time of 59.00 to finish fourth in the first heat. Like her teammate, Fletcher was forced to await the remainder of the first-round heats but ultimately earned a spot in the next round as the second-best time qualifier. 


Neema Kimtai was also just one place outside of an automatic qualifying spot in the women’s 1,500m, finishing in 4:22.38, her second-fastest time of the season, for a sixth-place finish in the fourth heat. 


Up Next: 

Day three of the NCAA West Preliminary for the Cougars will resume at 1 p.m. as Ronald Grueso Mosquera makes his championships debut in the men’s discus. Kelvin Limo and Sam Griffith will be first on the track for the Cougs in the steeplechase quarterfinals at 5:45 p.m. 


Louie Hinchliffe (100m dash) and Jared McAlvey (400m hurdles) each take their shot at a spot in Austin after strong first round finishes on day one. The 100m and 400m hurdles quarterfinals are slated for Friday at 6:35 p.m. and 7:25 p.m., respectively, with the top three from each heat and the next three fastest times earning a trip to nationals. 


Zach Stallings will close night three for WSU as he makes his second appearance of the week in the men’s 5,000m run Friday night at 8:10 p.m. 


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