JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Senior Liam Purdy became the first American University track & field man to advance into an NCAA Championships East Preliminary Round quarterfinal after his 20th-place finish in the men's 800-meter run Thursday evening.
The top three in each of the six heats earned automatic qualification into Friday's quarterfinal, along with the next six fastest times.
Purdy finished fourth in the first heat to just miss an automatic spot, but his final time of 1:50.58 was fifth out of the six time qualifiers. He will be in the third and final heat of the quarterfinal round, set to begin at 6:45 p.m. on Friday.
Advancement to the national championship semifinal in Austin, Texas, will take a top-three finish in his heat, or one of the next three fastest times. Dustin Emrani was the last Eagle to qualify for a National Championship semifinal in 2007 - he finished 12th in the 800m to become the 11th All-American in program history. Emrani is also the current school record holder in the event with his time of 1:46.92.
Purdy currently ranks second in program history in the event with his PR of 1:49.95 from the George Mason Spring Invitational earlier this season.
HEAR FROM COACH GRAHAM...
"Liam executed his race really well tonight. He got shuffled around quite a bit coming into the second lap, but rebounded phenomenally the last 200m to move from the back through the pack to finish fourth. If he can guard that position tomorrow, he'll be in great shape to go to Austin."
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