EUGENE, Ore. -- Billings native Dani Aragon will run in the semifinals of the women's 1,500-meter race at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials on Saturday.
Aragon, a Billings Senior High and Notre Dame graduate now running for Empire Elite Track Club, won her preliminary heat of the 1,500 on Friday at Hayward Field in 4 minutes, 13.34 seconds. The top six runners in each of the three heats, plus the next six fastest runners regardless of heat, advanced to the event semifinal, which will run at 7:40 p.m. (MT) Saturday. The top five from each semi, plus the next two fastest runners, will advance to the final set for Monday, June 21.
The other two 1,500 heats ran faster than Aragon's heat on Friday, with Jenny Simpson winning the first heat in 4:11.34 and Elle Purrier St. Pierre winning the third in 4:11.78. Simpson has the fastest qualifying time heading into Saturday's semifinal races.
Aragon's 4:13.34 ranked 15th on Friday.
Aragon set the Montana High School Association state record in the 800-meter run (2:08.31) her senior year at Billings Senior, only to have her younger sister, Christina, later break the record. At Notre Dame, Dani Aragon was a three-time first-team All-American in the distance medley relay and thrice qualified for the NCAA Division I East preliminary competition.
Meanwhile, Lucy Corbett, a Bozeman native now competing at Montana State University, placed 16th in the women's high jump at the Trials on Friday. Corbett, who just last week earned second-team All-American honors at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, cleared 5 feet, 9.75 inches on her first attempt Friday. She then cleared 5-11.50 on her third and final attempt to move to 6-01.50. Corbett and three other jumpers failed to clear the bar at 6-01.50, leaving 12 jumpers to advance to the event final on Sunday.
Havre native Sammy Evans also competed at the Trials on Friday. A former University of Montana track and field standout, Evans placed 19th in the women's triple jump, marking a best jump of 12.80 meters (42 feet, 0 inches). Evans, who was competing unattached, jumped 12.67 on her first attempt before marking her 12.80 jump on her second. She scratched her third and final attempt.
The top 12 jumpers advanced to the final, with all 12 marking jumps of at least 13.15 meters.
A number of Treasure State natives are competing at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, including a quartet from Montana State. In addition to Corbett, the Bobcats will also have Duncan Hamilton, Drake Schneider and Carley VonHeeder competing at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.