Steen fourth in women's steeplechase

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 23, 2014 

ALLENDALE, Mich. - Katelyn Steen placed fourth in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase final to highlight second-day action Friday for Western Washington University at the NCAA Division II National Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Grand Valley State University Stadium.

Steen was clocked in 10:20.66, bettering her own school record by nearly 14 seconds. She was third among the field of 12 runners for most of the race before being passed in the final lap by Hannah Osborn from host Grand Valley State, who finished third in 10:17.86.

"It was really tough, there were some very fast girls in this race," Steen said in a news release. "I was really thankful to be with them and having them pulling me along ... I could not have run a second faster."

Defending champion Alicia Nelson from Adams State shattered her meet record in the event with a winning time of 9:54.02, over 19 seconds better than runner-up Kyle Blakeslee from Augustana SD, who was clocked in 10:13.93.

"We kind of thought she (Nelson) would do that, but we didn't know that she would go that fast," Steen said.

On Thursday, Steen was the top qualifier in the prelims, winning her heat in 10:39.10.

Steen entered the competition ranked fifth nationally after taking the event at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships in 10:34.40. She was named the GNAC Outstanding Female Performer.

"When the season began, I wanted to get to nationals and be an All-American," Steen said. "After yesterday, I felt that I could beat my ranking, but I never imaged running 10:20."

Steen's father, Mark, was a steeplechase and cross country runner for the Vikings in the early 1970s.

Earlier Friday, WWU's Frank Catelli placed 13th in the men's discus with a mark of 168-3. He did that on his first attempt, failing to make the finals with fouls on his last two tries.

On Saturday, John Haskin and Slater Hirst compete for the Vikings in the men's javelin at 8 a.m. Bethany Drake and Katie Reichert take part in the women's javelin at 11 a.m., Catelli is in the shot put at 11:15 a.m., and Alex Donigian runs in the men's 100 final at 3:35 p.m.

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