May 26, 2012
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--In the national quarterfinals of the 1500 meters on Saturday evening at Hodges Stadium freshman Samuel McEntee (Perth, Australia) finished third in his heat and automatically advanced to the NCAA Championships in two weeks. McEntee ran a time of 3:48.73 in the second of two heats to move on to the national semifinals in the event.
The top five finishers in each heat plus the next two fastest times moved on to Des Moines and McEntee made his move to the front of the pack in his heat after the first 700 meters. He started out the race at the back of the pack and then comfortably eased his way from 12th place into the lead by the time there were 600 meters left.
McEntee continued to hold the lead entering the bell lap and was not passed until there were less than 200 meters to go, at which point he had easily put himself among the top five in his heat to ensure advancing automatically to the semifinals.
The five automatic qualifiers in McEntee's heat were separated by just 0.63 seconds at the finish line in a tight finish. Rich Peters of Boston University won the heat in 3:48.36 and was followed by Erik van Ingen of Binghamton (3:48.37), McEntee (3:48.722), Trevor Van Ackeren of Princeton (3:48.730) and Brett Johnson of Virginia (3:48.99).
At the national championships site in Des Moines the Wildcats will have two athletes from the men's team competing. McEntee joins sophomore Samuel Ellison (Dresher, Pa.), who automatically qualified in the 800 meters last night.
NOTES: McEntee and Ellison will each make their first career appearances at the national championships site ... Both won individual titles at the BIG EAST Championships earlier this month, with Ellison winning the 800 meters and McEntee winning the 5000 meters ... The national semifinals in the 800 meters take place on Wednesday, June 6 in Des Moines and the semifinals of the 1500 meters will be contested on Thursday, June 7.