Saturday, June 11, 2011

Seattle's Abdi Hassan and Bellingham's Becca Friday shine in NCAA 1500m finals...

DES MOINES, Iowa--University of Arizona junior Abdi Hassan (left/photo by Mike Scott), a product of Seattle's Nathan Hale High School, finished third in the men's 1500 meter run as the NCAA track & field championships concluded its four-day run at Drake Stadium on the campus of Drake University.

The former Washington state prep champion looked to have reached his potential in the 1,500-meter run as he used his immense footspeed to move from the back of the pack to third over the final quarter-mile to finish in 3:43.95 and earn the first outdoor All-America honor of his career, as Oregon's Matthew Centrowitz took home the title in a time of 3:42.54.

It was a relieving finish for Hassan, who was tripped in the preliminary round and did not finish but was advanced to the final after a coach's protest, the result of which was the subject of debate among the keyboard jockeys on the popular running web site,

In the women's 1500, Bellingham's Becca Friday rallied from last place on the final lap to pass seven runners over the final 400 meters to finish fifth in in 4:16.76. The sophomore from Bellingham, Wash., stayed at the back of a tight pack before finally making her move.

"I'm kind of upset with myself because I was so far back, but I'm really pleased with my finish," said Friday. "I feel really good."

No athletes from either the University of Washington or Washington State University competed Saturday.

In the final team standings, the University of Washington men's squad finished in a tie for 20th with 11 points, while the Washington State Cougars tied for 25th with 10 points, as Texas A&M won both team titles with 55 (men) and 49 (women) points, respectively.

Washington State's women's squad finished in a tie for 40th with 6 points, and the Huskies finished tied for 54th with 3 points.

Day 4 results from the NCAA Championships are available here.

NOTE:  The sports information office of the University of Arizona and the University of Oregon contributed to this report.

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