Ray Has Another Strong Day at NCAA Track
May 25, 2012
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Maryland senior Zack Ray qualified for a trip to the national semifinals in the men's 400-meter hurdles with his performance Friday at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field East Prelims being hosted by the University of North Florida.
Ray finished fourth in his quarterfinal heat in 50.83 and earned the final qualifying position in the event. The top three finishers in each of three quarterfinal heats and the next three best times earned berths in the national semifinals, to be held June 6 to 9 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Ray's mark was the third-best mark among those who did not finish in the top three in their heat. He edged Toby Ulm of Georgetown, who ran 50.89 for the final qualifying position. Ray's heat was won by David Aristil of South Florida, who had the best qualifying time in the field of 49.60.
The 50.83 mark by the Terrapin senior was his career-best by 0.01 seconds and improved his time in the event, which was already fourth all-time at Maryland.
Earlier in the competition Friday, Ray went a career-best 13.89 in the first round of the men's 110-meter hurdles to advance to Saturday's national quarterfinals. His mark moved him into seventh place all-time at Maryland and was the fastest time in six years. He improved his career-best by 0.10 seconds to move forward.
Ray competed in the fourth of six heats and placed fourth. The top three in each heat and the next fastest nine times earned berths in Saturday's quarterfinals. Ray needs to finish in the top three in his heat, or have one of the next three best marks to advance in the 110 hurdles, similar to the 400 hurdles competition.
Ray continued a strong postseason for the Terrapins, as he posted then-career bests to win both hurdle events at the IC4A Championships two weeks ago.
Melville, a Terrapin freshman, had a career-best of 5-9.75, but failed to advance based on her number of misses in the competition. There were 13 athletes over the bar at 5-9.75, but Melville finished in a tie for 21st place after clearing both that height and the previous height of 5-7.75 on her third attempt. She missed all three attempts at 5-11.25, which would have put her in the top nine.
The top 12 finishers in the women's high jump advanced to the national final. Melville, who is sixth on Maryland's all-time list, had a previous best of 5-9.25 at the ACC Outdoor this season.
Smith, a sophomore, finished in a tie for 30th after clearing 5-7.75, but missing at 5-9.75.
Senior Ashley Cromartie ran 10:50.20 in her heat of the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday. She was 15th in the first of three heats in the competition and placed 44th overall.
Astrid Leutert of Florida State won the event in 9:53.15, while Katie Hursey of Syracuse claimed the final qualifying spot at 10:12.60.
In addition to Ray's competition on Saturday (7:05 p.m.), Maryland will have Jessie Echard and Moriah Young in the women's hammer (2 p.m.), junior Jon Hill in the men's high jump (5 p.m.) and freshman Thea LaFond in the women's triple jump (4:30 p.m.).
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