Senior long jumper Karynn Dunn became the first Stanford track and field athlete to advance to the NCAA Championship on Thursday's opening day of the three-day NCAA West Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas.
Dunn had a season-best 20-7¼ on her only fair jump to qualify seventh and advance to the NCAA meet on June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore.
The top 12 in each event at each of the East (in Greensboro, N.C.) and West Prelims advance to the NCAA's. This will be the second outdoor national meet for Dunn, who placed fourth last year to earn first-team All-America honors.
In all, eight of the 17 Stanford athletes competing -- five women and three men -- stayed alive by advancing to the next round of the Prelims.
A Stanford highlight came in the women's 800 meters where three Cardinal advanced out of the first round, with two - senior Justine Fedronic and freshman Amy Weissenbach - winning their heats. Claudia Saunders also advanced on place, with a third-place in another of the six heats.
Fedronic looked smooth as she moved into the lead with 75 meters left in her race, running 2:06.92 for the best overall time among the 24 quarterfinal qualifiers. Weissenbach moved out of a tight pack with 200 remaining to take command of Heat 6 in 2:06.37 for the second-fastest qualifying mark. Saunders, a true freshman who specialized in the hurdles in high school, ran 2:08.95 as the 18th qualifier. The next and final round takes place Friday at 5 p.m. PT.
Kori Carter, the collegiate and American leader in the 400 hurdles, easily won her heat to advance to Friday's final round, at 5:30 p.m. PT. Carter, whose best of 54.21 is No. 3 in the world this year, ran 58.27.
Two of the four Stanford men in the 1,500 heats advanced to Saturday's final round. Tyler Stutzman (3:47.42) and Michael Atchoo (3:49.06) advanced, while freshman Justin Brinkley (3:49.92) and Marco Bertolotti (3:51.39) fell short.
Stanford freshman Steven Solomon, a 2012 Olympic finalist from Australia, finished second in Heat 4 of the 400, running 46.75 to advance to Friday's final round (4:15 p.m.).
Among Stanford's non-qualifiers, senior Geoffrey Tabor failed to advance in his specialty, the discus. Tabor's best of 175-11 was the 20th-best mark and failed to get him into the 16-thrower finals.
Like Tabor, senior high jumper Jules Sharpe has won All-America honors, but also failed to advance. Sharpe completed his Stanford career with a jump of 6-11½ to place 17th.
The meet continues Friday at 10 a.m. PT with Stanford sophomore Rebecca Hammar in the women's discus.
Tabor will have a final shot at the NCAA Championships when he competes in the shot put at 4 p.m. PT.