ALLENDALE, Michigan - Western Washington University junior Katelyn Steen (above/photo courtesy Western Washington University) finished fourth in the finals of the women's 3000 steeplechase as day 2 of the NCAA Division II track & field championships concluded at Grand Valley Track & Field Stadium.
Steen, a junior from Sammamish, was clocked in 10:20.66, bettering her own school record by nearly 14 seconds. She was third among the field of 12 runners for most of the race before being passed in the final lap by Hannah Osborn from host Grand Valley State, who finished third in 10:17.86.
"It was really tough, there were some very fast girls in this race," said Steen. "I was really thankful to be with them and having them pulling me along ... I could not have run a second faster."
Defending champion Alicia Nelson from Adams State CO shattered her meet record in the event with a winning time of 9:54.02, over 19 seconds better than runner-up Kyle Blakeslee from Augustana SD, who was clocked in 10:13.93.
In the other final, WWU's Frank Catelli was 13th in the men's discus with a toss of 168-3 (51.29m), getting his only fair throw in the third round.
Seattle Pacific senior McKayla Fricker ran the fastest time of the day in the semis of the women's 800, winning her heat in 2:07.52.
"Prelims are so interesting. You get pretty nervous, and you have the pressure built on going into prelims," Fricker said. "Once it's over, it's a huge relief. It's like, 'OK, I know how to race, I can do this – no big deal.'"
Courtesy of SPU, here's a video interview with Fricker.
In the same heat, teammate Lynelle Decker finished sixth in a time of 2:10.82, her second fastest time this season, but did not advance to Saturday's final.
In the women's 4 x 400 relay, the Falcons' team of Kishia Mitchell, Jasmine Johnson, Tasia Baldwin, and Fricker did not advance to the finals, running 3:46.30 to finish sixth in their heat.
Saturday, Fricker will run in the finals of the 800, along with Western Washington's Alex Donigian in the finals of the men's 100.
On the field, Frank Catelli of Western Washington comes back to throw in the men's shot put finals, while teammates John Haskin and Slater Hirst are in the finals of the men's javelin.
The Western Washington duo of Bethany Drake and Katie Reichert are in the finals of the women's javelin, as is Saint Martin's Kalli Walker. Central Washington's Tayler Fettig competes in the women's high jump.
The meet will be webcast live on ncaa.com.
In Nassau, the newly created, two-day IAAF World Relays begin Saturday at Thomas Robinson Stadium in the Bahamas.
Mark Wieczorek of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts is in the pool of Team USA's 4 x 800 meter relay team, while teammate and Washington alum Katie Mackey is in the 4 x 1500 pool for Team USA.
According to the Oregonian's Ken Goe, a third member of the Beasts, Garrett Heath, has been bumped off the team in the 4 x 1500 relay that is scheduled to be contested on Sunday.
Brooks Beasts coach Danny Mackey said Heath was assured a spot in the lineup weeks ago, and had adjusted his competition schedule and training accordingly.
Team USA distance coach Frank Gagliano changed his mind after Patrick Casey of the Oregon TC Elite ran 3:35.95 at the USATF High Performance meet at Occidental College last week.
The meet will be shown on Universal Sports Saturday and Sunday.
NOTE: The sports information office of Western Washington University and Seattle Pacific University contributed to this report.