June 5, 2013
EUGENE, Ore. - Junior Samuel Ellison (Dresher, Pa.) opened up competition for Villanova at the NCAA Championships on Wednesday afternoon and came in fourth in his semifinal heat of the 800 meters with a time of 1:50.99. That mark was not enough to advance to the finals in the event but Ellison nevertheless concludes another terrific season with his second straight appearance at the national championships.
Ellison repeated as the individual champion in the 800 meters at the BIG EAST Championships last month and was an automatic qualifier in both the national first round and the quarterfinals at the NCAA East Regional two weeks ago. His accolades for the outdoor season also included All-BIG EAST honors in the 4x400 meter relay as well as running legs of the distance medley relay and the 4x800 relay at the Penn Relays.
In the semifinals of the 800 meters at Hayward Field on Wednesday the top two finishers in each of three heats plus the next two fastest times advanced to the finals. The first heat went out the fastest of the three and produced the two "on-time" qualifiers for the finals. That heat went out with the leader posting a split of 52.84 for the first 400 meters, compared with 55.12 for the first half of Ellison's heat.
Ellison posted a split of 55.34 for his first 400 meters and was in fourth place at the start of the second lap around the track. It first appeared that he might fade towards the back of the back with 300 meters to go but he made a strong move on the backstretch of the track and looked to make a surge through the pack. He made his final kick with 150 meters remaining and had momentum on his side but the two leading runners in his heat had separated themselves from the pack at that point.
Casimir Loxsom of Penn State (1:48.71) and Eliud Rutto of Middle Tennessee State (1:48.91) claimed the top two spots in Ellison's heat to automatically qualify for the finals, while the cutoff time for advancing on time was 1:48.74 from the first heat.
In his terrific Wildcats career Ellison is already a three-time All-American, three-time BIG EAST individual champion and seven-time All-BIG EAST performer between the indoor and outdoor seasons.
Coming up on Thursday afternoon sophomores Sam McEntee (Perth, Australia) and Rob Denault (Aurora, Ont.) will compete in the semifinals of the 1500 meters. The event begins at 4:45 p.m. Pacific time, with McEntee running in the first of two heats and Denault slated for the second heat. The top five finishers in each heat plus the next two fastest times will advance to the finals on Saturday afternoon.