Three Stanford athletes secured spots in the NCAA track and field championships and eight others stayed alive at the NCAA West Prelims on Thursday.
However, one of Stanford's top NCAA contenders saw his collegiate season come to an end. Steven Solomon, a sophomore and a 2012 Olympic finalist for his native Australia, scratched from his 400-meter heat because of a hamstring strain suffered at the Pac-12 Championships two weeks ago.
Junior javelin thrower Brianna Bain, freshman pole vaulter Dylan Duvio, and junior 10,000-meter runner Joe Rosa, each advanced directly to nationals (in Eugene, Ore., June 11-14) by finishing among the top 12 in events that concluded Thursday. Running events from 100 to 1,500 will have additional rounds over the next two days.
Solomon was the Pac-12 runner-up and set a Stanford school record of 45.36 to win the Australian national championships in April.
Though ailing, he made the trip to Arkansas in the hope that he could cruise through the two rounds necessary to advance to the NCAA meet.
However, it became clear that the risk of serious damage was too great and Solomon was shut down to give himself a better chance to be at full strength when he races for Australia in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, July 23-Aug. 3.
"We didn't want to risk the strain turning into a tear," texted Solomon's coach, Stanford associate head coach Jody Stewart. "Now, he's just resting up and training for his summer meets."
Bain, a three-time Pac-12 champion, advanced to her third NCAA championship meet. She finished second with a throw of 169-10, achieved on her fourth attempt.
Megan Glasmann, a Stanford freshman and the reigning U.S. junior national champ, was 17th (151-11) and did not advance.
Duvio was the only freshman in the field to advance to nationals. He cleared 17-3, and had three tries at a personal best 17-7.
Rosa, who finished fifth in the NCAA cross country championships last fall, worked his way through the 10,000 field to finish fourth in 29:33.56 to make his first NCAA track final.
Stanford had great success in the middle distances, advancing eight out of the first round, including sophomore Amy Weissenbach, who had the evening's fastest time in the women's 800 (2:05.87).
Weissenbach and Claudia Saunders (2:07.55) each advanced in the women's 800, as did Rebecca Mehra (4:22.67) and Cami Chapus (4:24.09) in the 1,500.
Advancing for the Stanford men were Luke Lefebure in the 800 (1:49.60), and Marco Bertolotti (3:43.55), Tyler Stutzman (3:43.68), and Michael Atchoo (3:43.73) in the 1,500.
The top three in each 800 heat advanced on place, and Weissenbach found herself in fourth place and packed in at the rail at the bell lap of Heat 3. But the sophomore moved to third on the backstretch and cut inside to pass one and then outside to pass another to find clear space in front.
Saunders avoided a fall on the first lap of Heat 4 and took the lead on the backstretch. She cruised to the finish even as she was passed on the final step, content with already securing a spot.
Bertolotti set a personal 1,500 best while finishing fifth in Heat 4, earning the final automatic place in his race. Stutzman and Atchoo each finished third in their heats, with Stutzman closing with a final lap 54.96 to move up two spots.
The meet also was notable as the last in the collegiate career of senior pole vaulter Ellie McCardwell, who stands No. 2 on Stanford's all-time women's list. McCardwell finished among the top-five in the Pac-12 all four years and concluded her Cardinal career by clearing 12-9, which placed her 23rd.
This meet was one of two that determines the NCAA Championships field, with other competition taking place simultaneously in Jacksonville, Fla. The Prelims actually are considered to be the first rounds of the NCAA Championships. What might be considered the second rounds of the prelims are in reality, NCAA quarterfinals. The semifinals and finals will take place when the meet shifts to Eugene in two weeks.
Six Cardinal will compete Friday, including those who advanced in the 800, and 15 are set to run Saturday on the final day of competition at the University of Arkansas.