ALLENDALE, Michigan - Western Washington University junior Katelyn Steen (above in center/photo courtesy Western Washington University) was the top qualifier in the women's 3000-meter steeplechase prelims and the Vikings' Alex Donigian broke his own school record to qualify in the men's 100 in first-day action Thursday at the NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships at Grand Valley State University Stadium.
Steen's winning time in her steeplechase heat was 10:39.10. She pulled away with just over two laps remaining and ran away from the field.
Steen entered the competition ranked fifth nationally in the steeplechase with a school record and Great Northwest Athletic Conference meet winning time of 10:34.40.
In the same heat, Central Washington's Dani Eggleston finished eighth in 11:11.88 and did not advance to the 12-woman final.
Courtesy of Western Washington via Seattle Pacific track SID Mark Moschetti, here's a video interview with Steen:
Donigian had a 10.46 clocking in the 100 as he placed second in his heat to advance to Saturday's finals.
"To have that time and not have ideal form is the best thing that I could have hoped for," said Donigian. "There is definitely room for improvement. I stumbled out of the blocks the first two steps."
In the women's 1500 meter semis, Central Washington senior Connie Morgan was ninth in her heat in 4:43.72 and did not advance to the finals.
In the finals of the women's hammer, three-time GNAC champ Lindsay Wells placed 12th with a mark of 169-5 (51.64m).
Friday sees the entire Seattle Pacific team in action as third-seeded McKayla Fricker and Lynelle Decker go in the semis of the women's 800. Their 4 x 400 meter relay squad comprising of Tasia Baldwin, Kishia Mitchell, Jasmine Johnson and Fricker will also look to advance to the finals on Saturday.
Additionally, Steen will run in the finals of the steeplechase, and her teammate Frank Catelli goes in the finals of the men's discus.
In Tuscon, Britney Henry finished fourth in the hammer at day 1 of the 2-day Tuscon Elite throwers meet at Drachman Stadium on the campus of the University of Arizona.
The former Spokane prep standout, who competes for Seattle-based Oiselle threw 227-5 (69.33m), as Sultana Frizell of Canada won at 248-5 (75.73m).
In the women's javelin, former Western Washington thrower Monika Gruszecki finished fifth with a best of 161-10 (49.34m).
The Tuscon Elite meet resumes Saturday. Day 1 results are available here.
NOTE: The sports information office of Western Washington University contributed to this report.