WWU Vikings

Steen is top qualifier in women’s steeplechase prelims at nationals

Western Washington University’s Katelyn Steen was the top qualifier in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase preliminaries, Alex Donigian won his heat in the men’s 100 and Haley O’Connor advanced to the women’s 1,500 final at the 2015 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Thursday, May 21, at Grand Valley State University Stadium.

Steen posted a time of 10:25.32 in the steeplechase, leading 12 athletes who advanced to Friday’s final at 4:15 p.m. PT.

“She ran very relaxed and could have gone much faster,” WWU head track coach Pee Wee Halsell said in a news release of Steen.

Steen is making her sixth national appearance overall and second in outdoor track, also going three times in cross country and once in indoor track. She ranks second nationally in the steeplechase with a school record 10:13.01 clocking. Last year, Steen placed fourth in that event at nationals.

Donigian won his 100 heat in 10.50 and was seventh overall in advancing to Saturday’s final at 12:35 p.m. The top two in each heat advanced as well as the next three fastest times for a total of nine.

Donigian has the nation’s third best time of 10.27 in the 100, but also has run a wind-aided school record 10.22 at the Mt. SAC Relays. He placed fifth at outdoor nationals last spring.

O’Connor was sixth in her heat and 11th overall with a time of 4:32.21. She will be running in a field of 12 on Saturday at 11:25. O’Connor entered the meet ranked 17th in the 1,500 with a school-record time of 4:29.71.

“It was great to get her through, this being her first time at nationals” Halsell said.

Besides Steen, two Viking athletes competing Friday are Travis Milbrandt in the men’s 110 hurdle prelims at 3:50 p.m. and Ryan Macdonald in the men’s discus final at 2 p.m.

MacDonald ranks sixth nationally in the discus with a school-record mark of 177-4 and Milbrandt is 14th in the 110 hurdles with a school-record time of 14.21.

On Saturday, Katie Reichert will compete in the women’s javelin at 8 a.m., John Haskin and Slater Hirst in the men’s javelin at 11:15 a.m., O’Connor in the 1,500 at 11:25 a.m., perhaps Milbrandt in the 110 hurdles at 11:55 a.m., Donigian in the 100 at 12:35 p.m. and Steen in the 5,000 at 2 p.m.

Reichert is ranked third nationally in the javelin with a personal-best effort of 165-7. Last year, she placed second at nationals with a mark of 165-2, just one inch behind champion and teammate Bethany Drake, and was seventh in 2012.

Donigian has the nation’s third best time of 10.27 in the 100, but also has run a wind-aided school record 10.22 at the Mt. SAC Relays. He placed fifth at nationals last spring.

Hirst placed fourth nationally in the javelin in 2014 with a school-record mark of 216-7, and Haskin, who has thrown a personal-best 212-3 this spring, was eighth. Haskin ranks 13th in the country and Hirst 14th.

It is the third outdoor national appearance for Reichert and the second for Donigian, Haskin, Hirst and Steen.