AUSTIN, Texas--There are a number of coaches, athletes, media, and fans who are happy that day two of the NCAA West Preliminary rounds are over.
The second day of the meet that decides who advances to the NCAA track & field championship finals in Eugene, Oregon in two weeks, was interrupted by stormy weather that included thunder, lightning, and a torrential downpour of rain that flipped over several tents at Mike A. Myers Stadium, and caused a six-hour competition delay for some field event athletes, and a three hour delay of the running events, with competition spilling over into the early hours of Saturday.
After enduring the weather delays, the University of Washington advanced five women to the NCAA championship finals, while Washington State advanced 400 meter runner Shawna Fermin.
Sophomore Baylee Mires (left/photo by Paul Merca) set a new school record in the 800 meters, running 2:05.34 to finish fourth in her semi final, and get the next to last spot to Eugene.
Mires took down the previous school record of 2:05.73, set by Sarah Bolender in 1987.
400 meter hurdlers Kayla Stueckle and Gianna Woodruff both got their tickets punched to Eugene, as they ran 58.00, and 57.88 respectively, finishing third in their heats, and earning the auto qualifiers.
Ten hours after it started, Logan Miller qualified for her third NCAA outdoor championship meet, as she cleared 13-5 3/4 (4.11m) to finish in a tie for seventh.
In the womens steeple, Washington sophomore Liberty Miller finished third in her heat, running 10:08.77.
Surprisingly, neither the Huskies' Mel Lawrence, nor Washington State's Caroline Austin, both of whom were seeded in the top 12 entering the meet, qualified for Eugene in the steeple.
Washington State's Shawna Fermin ran 53.16 to finish third in her heat of the 400 meters and advance to Eugene.
Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry of the University of Oregon easily won his heat of the 400 meters in 45.83 to advance to the national title meet on his home track of Hayward Field.
In preliminary competition, Washington's Chris Williams advanced to the semis in the 110 hurdles, running 14.22 to finish third.
The Huskies' James Alaka finished third in his heat of the 200, running 21.25, though he pulled up at the finish. He said afterwards that it was a cramp, and that he should be fine for Saturday, where he will run legs of the 4 x 1, and 4 x 4, in addition to the 200.
NOTE: The sports information offices of the University of Washington and Washington State University contributed to this report.