Ellison Automatically Qualifies for National Finals in 800 Meters
June 6, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa--A strong finish over the second half of the race made sophomore Samuel Ellison (Dresher, Pa.) an automatic qualifier for the national championship race in the 800 meters. He finished second in his semifinal heat on Wednesday evening at Drake Stadium as the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships got underway.
The top two finishers in each of three semifinal heats in the 800 meters automatically moved on to the finals on Friday evening and Ellison secured his spot with a time of 1:48.40, including an impressive final 200 meters.
"That was a great race for Sam," Villanova head coach Marcus O'Sullivan said. "They went out slow in the first lap so he had to finish in the top two. He got progressively faster during the race and I think his final 200 meters was about 26.7. That is what allowed him to get into second place and hold that spot."
Ellison was in fifth place after a split of 54.16 over the first 400 meters. He started to make his move on the backstretch and had moved into second place with 200 meters remaining, winding up with a split of 54.24 for the second lap.
All eight of the runners in Ellison's semifinal heat were from the East region, including four other qualifiers from Ellison's quarterfinal heat at the NCAA East Regional two weeks ago. Ellison had finished third in his quarterfinal heat to earn an automatic spot in tonight's semifinals.
Ellison finished behind only Aaron Evans of Georgia in the second semifinal heat. Evans won the heat in 1:48.24 and moved up from sixth place midway through the race on his way to winning the heat. The other qualifiers for the finals on Friday are Erik Sowinski (Iowa), Edward Kemboi (Iowa State), Elijah Greer (Oregon), Charles Jock (UC Irvine), Ricky West (Missouri) and Ryan Martin (UC Santa Barbara).
The finals of the 800 meters are on Friday evening at 6:10 p.m. Central time.
Coming up on Thursday evening freshman Samuel McEntee (Perth, Australia) will run in the national semifinals of the 1500 meters at 6:15 p.m. He is in the second of two heats in the 1500 meters, with the top five finishers in each heat plus the next two fastest times moving on to the finals.
800 METERS NATIONAL SEMIFINALS
Semifinal Heat 2
Aaron Evans, Georgia - 1:48.24
Qualifiers for the Finals
Erik Sowinski, Iowa - 1:46.09