EUGENE, Ore. – After last year’s all-American performance at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, former Billings Senior sensation Christina Aragon is back in the finals of the 1,500-meter run this year.
Aragon, now a sophomore at Stanford, placed second in her heat with a time of 4 minutes, 15 seconds at Hayward Field Thursday. The top five finishers from each heat, plus the next two fastest times, qualified for the finals. The 12 finalists will compete on Saturday at 4:41 p.m. (MST).
Aragon got pushed to the back of the pack in her heat, occupying one of the last three places through the entire first two laps. At the 800-meter mark, Aragon sat in last.
She started her patented kick shortly into the third lap, though, quickly moving into a top-five position. Upon surging into the top three, Aragon relaxed and settled for the second-place finish behind Nikki Hiltz of Arkansas, who won the heat in 4:14.09.
Elinor Purrier of New Hampshire, one of the favorites in the 1,500, led wire to wire in the fast first heat, crossing the finish line in a personal-best time of 4:10.08. Aragon’s time was the ninth fastest between Thursday’s two heats.
Aragon is in her second season at Stanford after a standout high school career in Montana. She owns the all-class records in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, winning Gatorade female track athlete of the year honors in 2015 and 2016.
As a freshman at Stanford, Aragon earned all-America honors in both cross country and track and field. On the track, she placed seventh in the 1,500 at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. During this sophomore season, Aragon earned all-America honors with a seventh-place finish in the 3,000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships and helped the Stanford distance medley relay team to a school-record time of 10:52.02.