Six Montanans will test their abilities against the nation’s best this week at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. The final meet of the Division I outdoor track season begins Wednesday and concludes Saturday.
Christina Aragon, the former Billings Senior star now running at Stanford, will be looking for her second consecutive all-American finish at the Outdoor Championships. Aragon finished seventh in the 1,500-meter run at last year’s meet. She’s seeded fifth this year with a time of 4 minutes, 12.73 seconds. The fastest seed time belongs to Elinor Purrier of New Hampshire with a time of 4:10.90.
Aragon, who holds Montana’s all-class records in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs, will compete in the second of two preliminary heats in Thursday’s 1,500. The first heat is scheduled to begin at 5:16 p.m. (MST). The top five from each heat, plus the next two fastest times, will qualify for the finals, which are scheduled for Saturday.
Boise State’s Sadi Henderson and Colorado’s Makena Morley and Zach Perrin are also running at the Outdoor Championships for the second consecutive season. Montana State athletes Amanda Jaynes and Kyle Douglass are making their debuts this week.
Henderson, a Corvallis product, finished 10th in the 800-meter run at the 2017 Championships, but she’s seeded fourth with a time of 2:02.38 entering this year’s meet. She’ll go up against Sabrina Southerland of Oregon, who clocked the fastest seed time of 2:00.72, in the first preliminary heat at 6:44 p.m. (MST) Thursday. There will be three heats of the 800, with the top two finishers from each heat, plus the next fastest time qualifying for Saturday’s finals.
Morley, who starred at Bigfork High School, qualified in the 10,000-meter run after finishing 17th in the event at last year’s Outdoor Championships. Morley’s time of 32:28.58 ranks sixth in the 24-runner field. Karissa Schweizer of Missouri has a time of 32:14.36 to top the seed marks. The timed final is set for 7:38 p.m. (MST) Thursday.
After an 11th-place finish in the 5,000-meter run at last year’s Outdoor Championships, Perrin, a Kalispell Flathead graduate, will look to close his Colorado career with a top-10 finish this week. Perrin brings the eighth-fastest seed time into the timed final, which is scheduled for 8:25 p.m. (MST) Friday. Stanford’s Grant Fisher has the fastest seed time at 13:47.22.
Montana State’s Jaynes and Douglass are making their first appearances at the Outdoor Championships, competing in the 400-meter hurdles and discus, respectively. Jaynes, who briefly attended Missoula Sentinel High School before finishing her high school career in Washington, has a seed time of 58.22 seconds and will run in the third heat of Thursday’s preliminaries. The top two from each heat, plus the next two fastest times, will advance to Saturday’s finals.
Douglass, who graduated from Sentinel High School, has a seed mark of 55.56 meters and will throw on Friday. The Bobcat senior is scheduled to throw in the first of two flights at 6:05 p.m. (MST). The top nine marks, regardless of flight, will advance to the finals.
The NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships are scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN3.