Nicol Traynor will not automatically qualify for the NCAA national meet after a 12th place in the East Regional 5,000-meter run, but her school-record performance earlier this season could be enough to secure an at-large bid.
Traynor, a sophomore distance runner, finished in 16 minutes, 36 seconds at the regional meet at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro on Friday night, battling a heavy rain during the race that began just moments before the start.
Posting to his Twitter account during the meet, Steve Taylor, men's track and field coach, said Traynor would find out on Monday whether her 16:17.64 school record -- set in Walnut, Calif., on April 17 -- would be enough for an at-large selection.
Runners finishing first through fifth at each of four regional meets receive automatic slots at nationals, and seven additional invitations are offered to runners with the fastest times this season. Traynor is currently ranked eighth.
But four of the seven women ahead of Traynor in the 5K have also earned top-six spots nationally in the women's 10,000, the only event Taylor said they would likely compete in. Whether Traynor earns a bid will depend on just one of those runners opting to race only the 10K at nationals, in the process forgoing her 5K spot.
"We feel good about the likelihood that she will make the National Championships!" he wrote early Saturday morning.
Earlier during the evening, senior Sean Welsh finished in 31st in the 1,500, running 3:55.67 for eighth in his heat and closing a break-out senior track campaign.
On Saturday, junior Heather Roush is throwing the javelin during the morning, and junior Andrew Benford will race Saturday night in the 3,000 steeplechase. Traynor has also qualified in the 3,000 steeplechase, but it was not immediately clear whether she would run the event on Saturday.
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