Burne, Melian earn NCAA Championship berths
May 22, 2014
Jacksonville, Fla. – Senior Olivia Burne and sophomore Christina Melian have qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Regional Championships in the 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter runs, respectively. Competition is scheduled for May 29-31 at University of North Florida.
The NCAA Regionals serve as the first and second rounds of the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The country is split into two regions, east and west, with the top 48 performances in each event from the spring season qualifying for the first round.
Burne will make her fourth appearance in four years in the 1,500-meters. Last season, she advanced to the second round for the first time in her career by placing fifth in her heat in 4:27.23. The Palmerston North, New Zealand product enters the meet 17th on the descending order list with a time of 4:19.58, the personal record she set at the Swarthmore Final Qualifier May 12.
She hit four ECAC qualifiers in the 1,500-meters during the 2014 campaign, including a second straight first-place finish at the America East Outdoor Championships May 4.
"I feel Olivia has gained a lot of experience in the last few years from competing in this event,” Stony Brook track and field head coach Andy Ronan said. “If she can draw on that, I am optimistic about her chances of moving on to Eugene. It would be a great way for Olivia to end her Stony Brook career."
Burne will first race Thursday, May 29 in one of four heats of 12 runners. The first five in each heat plus the competitors with the next four fastest times will advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals Saturday, May 31, which will consist of two heats of 12 runners. The runners in the top five in each heat and those with the next two fastest times will move on to the NCAA Championships June 11-14 at the University of Oregon.
Melian will make her debut at the NCAA Regional Championships. She sits at No. 25 on the descending order list for the 5,000-meters with the performance of 16:11.88 she achieved when she placed third at the Penn Relays. No stranger to big races, Melian won the 3,000-meters at the 2013 Junior National Championships and the ECAC Championships.
She met her first ECAC standard of the season in the 5,000-meter run when she placed sixth in 16:34.35 at the Colonial Relays in April.
“Christina comes into the championship running confidently,” Ronan said. “She has the ability to race well on the big day, so even though this is her first time at the NCAA Regionals, I don’t see her getting awed by the occasion. If she can be patient in the early stages, I feel she can put herself in a strong position to make it to the finals at Eugene.”
The 5,000-meters will be run Saturday, May 31 as two semifinal heats of 24 participants. The top five runners in each semi and those with the next two fastest times will qualify for the NCAA Championship Final at the University of Oregon.