AUSTIN, Texas -
Graduate student Harry Fisher made history for the University of Wyoming track and field teams on Friday at the NCAA West Preliminary, as he qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 800 meters. He became the third UW student-athlete to advance to the national meet in the six-year history of the current qualifying system and the first on the track.
"I thought Harry's race today was phenomenal," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "He needed to run a smart, strategic race and that's what he did. He came down the home stretch in position and put in that final kick to get the last spot. Last year we had Mason [Finley] at the national meet and this year we have Harry on the track. We are trying to set that tradition that we expect to get people there, so hopefully next year we can get a couple more."
After missing advancing to last season's NCAA Championships by one tenth of a second, Fisher left no doubt on Friday at Mike A. Myers Stadium. He ran 1:48.78 for third in his heat and an automatic bid, as his time was the ninth-fastest during the quarterfinals. Fisher was fourth for most of the two-lap race, but found an extra gear over the final 100 meters to move up.
"I just tried to put myself in a good position from the start and hold onto that until the 600-meter mark and then see what I could do at the finish," Fisher said. "Luckily I was able to catch a guy. It means a lot to me to advance [to the national meet]. My parents are coming to Eugene, so that was a really big motivation for me. I came so close last season and I knew I was a better athlete this year and just had to improve by one tenth."
Fellow graduate student Thomas Atkinson also ran in the 800-meter quarterfinals, but finished 23rd in 1:53.50. Senior Garrett Zans was 28th in the steeplechase in 9:08.61, while Amos Bowen was 37th at 9:15.85. Sophomore Jordan Charles was 30th in the 110-meter hurdles in 14.22, just three tenths of a second away from advancing. Senior Colin Herold was scratched out of the event. Junior Tyler Anderson finished 40th in the hammer with a throw of 183-9. Sophomore Audra DeStefano was the lone Cowgirl to compete on Friday. She placed 20th in the steeplechase with a time of 10:31.56.
Junior Scott Carter rounds out Wyoming's 15 qualifiers at the NCAA West Preliminary by competing in the triple jump Saturday at 5 p.m. MT. He enters the event ranked 43rd with a mark of 49-3 3/4 this season.