PUEBLO, Colorado--It's go time Thursday for Seattle Pacific's Ali Worthen (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific University).
The redshirt senior from the same Oregon high school that produced the legendary distance runner Steve Prefontaine--Marshfield HS in Coos Bay--is a strong favorite to win the NCAA Division II heptathlon title, as the national championship meet begins its three-day run at the Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl on the campus of Colorado State University-Pueblo.
She will be joined in the two-day, seven event competition by fellow senior Katy Gross, who finished third in the GNAC championship meet with a personal best score of 4992 a few weeks ago.
Worthen enters the national championship meet with a score of 5492 points, set in winning the MONDO Mid-Major Challenge in Sacramento on April 11-12. Her mark is 409 points better than Jordan Gray of Angelo State (Texas).
Courtesy of Seattle Pacific, here's a video interview with Worthen:
Worthen and Gross, along with SPU's Lynelle Decker and Seth Pierson in the women's and men's 1500 semis are the only athletes with Washington ties in action on the first day of the national championships.
Friday, Worthen and Gross conclude the heptathlon, while McKayla Fricker of the Falcons goes in the 800 semis. Fricker will then team up with Kishia Mitchell, Emily Quatier, and Jasmine Johnson in the 4 x 400 relay semis.
On Saturday, Gross goes again in the women's javelin, where she'll be joined by Western Washington's outstanding freshman Bethany Drake.
Central Washington's Tayler Fettig goes in the women' high jump, while Wildcat teammates Braden Keller (javelin) and Bryan Mack (triple jump) compete in their events on the meet's final day.
Finals in all running events requiring rounds happen Saturday should Fricker, Decker, Pierson, and the women's 4 x 4 advance from their semis.
Heat sheets, live results, and the meet schedule can be accessed through the Prime Time Timing web site.
The NCAA will provide streaming video of the meet each day beginning at 3:45 pm pacific. The link to the webcast is available here.