Amanda Mergaert qualifies for finals at NCAA Championships.
March 8, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.- In her first appearance the NCAA Indoor Championships, Utah senior Amanda Mergaert qualified for the finals in the mile.
“In her heat nobody really wanted to take the lead, everybody was bumping around most the race which is a slower pace than Amanda normally likes,” Utah head coach Kyle Kepler said. “Amanda gave probably one of the best efforts of her career in the final three laps. Give her a ton of credit, all the experience in the previous NCAA meets has allowed this to happen to have a race like that.”
In the qualifying round on Friday, Mergaert clocked a mile time of 4:38.56 finishing fourth in her heat and 10th overall. In the preliminary round, the top four performers from each heat and the next two fastest times qualify for the finals. In the second heat, Mergaert was in fifth place coming into the final curve of the race. Mergaert passed Florida’s Cory McGee in the final 100m, beating her for the first time in Mergaert’s career, securing a spot in the finals.
Following Friday’s race, Mergaert is slated to run in the finals on Saturday at 6 p.m. CT.
“We are going to let it rip tomorrow and try to stay near the front,” Kepler said. “Obviously ten outstanding women in that race and Amanda is one of them. We are going try and finish as high as possible tomorrow and see how it goes. Just a great job and I am really proud of her coming back, especially in the final lap.”
Mergaert is competing in her seventh NCAA Championships (three outdoor and three cross country) and is coming off an All-American performance at the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championships. Entering the NCAA Championships, Mergaert holds the 12th fastest time in the country with a 4:35.35.