Fanning Leads Danes At East Preliminaries

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The University at Albany has sent six outdoor track & field athletes to the University of North Florida to compete in the NCAA East Preliminary Championships.  Four of the six competed on Thursday, three in trial rounds and one in a final round. 

Senior Kathryn Fanning highlighted the day for UAlbany in the women’s 1,500.  She placed 10th in the trial round, qualifying for NCAA Quarterfinals which will run on Saturday.  Fanning, whose East Preliminary qualifying time of 4:22.81 had already broken her own school record, broke it again on Thursday, running 4:18.68.  Twenty-four athletes will compete in the next round, with the top 12 advancing to NCAA Championships.

“We threw the time out the window and focused on being in position,” said assistant coach Matt Jones.  “The top five in each heat plus the next four fastest times qualified for the next round, so Kathryn went out looking to stay within the top five in her heat.  It got away from her a little, but she finished strong in seventh in her heat, but was 10th overall, advancing on time.”

“Saturday, we’ll throw time out the window again and focus on racing people,” Jones said.  “Usually it takes about 4:16 to qualify, which is out there, but possible.”

Before Fanning ran, however, UAlbany fielded two athletes in the first two events of the day, the men’s and women’s 400 hurdles.  Sophomore Jeremiah Obeng-Agyapong was the first UAlbany athlete to compete, placing 45th overall running 54.90. 

“Jeremiah was on pace to run 51 but he fell at the eighth hurdle,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Roberto Vives.  “He was running within the top three in his heat, and the timed qualifiers were in his heat so he was in position to qualify.  He’s disappointed, but he has two more years to work with.”

Next, in the women’s hurdles, senior Tynelle Taylor-Chase, competing in her second consecutive East Preliminaries, finished 31st in a season-best time of 59.64. 

“Tynelle ran her second fastest time ever today,” said Vives.  “She started out a little slow, and I think she had a 58 in her, but she gave us her best.  She actually raced in the same heat as her younger sister, LSU sophomore Chanice Chase.  It was the first time they competed against each other in a collegiate meet.”

Neither Obeng-Agyapong nor Taylor-Chase advanced to the next round.

Senior Silvia Del Fava concluded Thursday competition for UAlbany athletes, competing in the last event of the day, the women’s 10,000.  She was on pace to break her own school record, going through 5,000 in 16:52.  With one lap to go, Del Fava was in 11th place, holding a lead of about 20 meters over 12th, which is the final qualifying position.  Misfortune struck Del Fava, however, and her body locked up from dehydration with about 350 to go, rendering her unable to finish the race.

"Silvia did put it all out there and gave her very best effort under the hot and humid conditions," Vives said.

Fanning will join the final two remaining UAlbany athletes, junior high jumper and defending East Preliminary champion Alexander Bowen, and freshman pole vaulter Nathan Hiett, in competition on Saturday.

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