June 12, 2014
EUGENE, Ore.--Senior Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) and sophomore Angel Piccirillo (Homer City, Pa.) each finished in the top five of their national semifinal heat of the 1500 meters and moved on to the final during competition at the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field on Thursday afternoon. The national championship race in the 1500 meters takes place on Saturday afternoon.
Lipari won the first semifinal heat in 4:21.14 and Piccirillo placed fifth in the same heat with a time of 4:21.47 and both were automatic qualifiers for the final. The top five finishers in each of two semifinal heats and the next two fastest times advanced. The first heat went out in a very steady pace and it appeared evident early on that only five qualifiers would come out of the heat.
The slow start to the heat afforded all 12 competitors a chance to stay in the race for the first 800 meters. Piccirillo was at the front of the pack early on and both she and Lipari were never out of contention for one of the five automatic qualifying spots.
Piccirillo was in second place after the first 400 meters. The field went out with an unofficial split of 1:13 for the first lap and at that point Shannon Morton from Virginia Tech was in the lead, with Piccirillo and Shelby Houlihan from Arizona State on her heels. Lipari was in fifth place after the first 400 meters and was running on the outside with three runners across.
The pace was still a slow one with 800 meters to go. Piccirillo and Morton remained the top two runners, with Lipari moving into third place on the outside. Lipari was running steady in fourth place 600 meters to go and had not yet started to make a move for the lead. Carly Hamilton from Georgia took the lead as the runners approached the bell lap, with Piccirillo in second and Morton third.
During the final lap Piccirillo pushed Hamilton for the lead with 300 meters left and Lipari initially moved to the rail in an effort to secure her spot among the leading pack. She was being pushed hard from behind and wound up back on the outside as she came towards the final turn. Piccirillo was also being pushed from behind with 150 meters remaining before finishing strong on the final straightaway.
Lipari surged down the final straightaway and moved into the lead just 25 meters before the finish line. She won the heat in 4:21.14 and was followed by Houlihan (4:21.19), Allison Peare from Kentucky (4:21.21), Molly Hanson of Wisconsin (4:21.28) and Piccirillo (4:21.47) in the top five.
The national championship race in the 1500 meters takes place at 5:29 p.m. Eastern time (2:29 p.m. Pacific) on Saturday afternoon and will be televised live on ESPNU.
1500 Meters (National Semifinal - Heat 1 of 2)
Emily Lipari Villanova 4:21.14 Shelby Houlihan Arizona State 4:21.19 Allison Peare Kentucky 4:21.21 Molly Hanson Wisconsin 4:21.28 Angel Piccirillo Villanova 4:21.47 Rebecca Mehra Stanford 4:21.63 Carly Hamilton Georgia 4:21.98 Sammy Silva New Mexico 4:22.95 Elizabeth Whelan North Carolina 4:23.31 Alli Cash Oregon 4:23.60 Shannon Morton Virginia Tech 4:25.42 Raquel Lambdin UC Davis 4:30.55