Two Lions Qualify for NCAA Track Regionals
LMU to send runners to the NCAA track regionals for first time.
May 2, 2006
Palo Alto, Calif. - The Loyola Marymount women's track team took Laura Mickelson and Sara Mickelson to compete against the nation's elite at the Stanford Cardinal Invitational. Both women competed in the second heat of the 5000m on Sunday evening where they were looking to get under the NCAA regional qualifying standard of 16:52.
The race began beneath the lights and under perfect conditions for running with the temperature in the upper 50's with no wind. Their heat was highly competitive, including both collegiate and professional athletes. "A race with this caliber of competition under these conditions is something you dream of as an athlete," Head Coach Scott Guerrero said.
After a brisk first lap, the pack settled in with both Lions in perfect position. Unlike previous races, they were able to let the other athletes take care of pace setting duties, which allowed them to conserve much needed energy. The leaders, including Laura, came through the mile in 5:18 with Sara right on their heels. "They ran a very smart race, every tactical move was perfectly executed," Assistant Coach Jason Zarb-Cousin said.
With a mile to go, Laura was battling for the lead and was well ahead of regional qualifying pace. The race was going to come down to a final one-lap sprint. Heading down the backstretch, Laura was a few meters behind, looking strong, but she just ran out of track. She finished second in a regional qualifying time of 16:30.04, which was a huge 27-second personal-record, shattering the school-record. After falling off the lead pack, Sara finished with a strong kick to take seventh in the heat, just eclipsing the qualifying time in an equally huge 27-second personal-record time of 16:49.3.
Both of their times qualify them for the NCAA Western Regional Championships that will be held in Provo, Utah on May 26 and 27.
"This was yet another historic day for LMU track and cross county, to qualify two athletes for the NCAA Regional meet and to do it in the first year of our officially sanctioned track program is just huge for us," Guerrero said.
Both times currently place them in the top-10 (Laura) and top-20 (Sara) in the NCAA Western Region as well as top-40 (Laura) and top-90 (Sara) nationally in the women's 5000m.
Next up for the Lion track team is the Occidental Invitational on May 13th.
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