Thursday night was the women's turn to compete in prelims and finals.
Eight of the top ten seeds qualified to Saturday's final. Julia Heymach of Stanford has the credentials to win on Saturday as she finished sixth in last year's Olympic Trials 1500. Micaela DeGenero of Colorado is the indoor champion and Pac 12 champion and cannot be counted out. Sintayehu Vissa won heat two and every athlete in heat two ran faster than heat one.
Much like the women's 1500, most of the top seeds made it to finals (top nine seed time runners made it finals). Kaylee Mitchell of Oregon State won the second heat in a seven second PR. Courtney Wayment of BYU almost made last summer's Olympic team and is considered the favorite on Saturday. Her PB is close the meet record held by Courtney Frerichs.
The 800 is a repeat of the previous distance events as seven of the eight top seeds advanced to Saturday's final. It is possible that Saturday's final will see several athletes break 2:00. Kristi Schoffield of Boise State ran the fastest time on Thursday in 2:01.79.
Haley Herberg of Washington went out and took the lead. Herberg used this strategy in the at the Pac 12 10,000 in May and won the cross country Pac 12 championship in March of 2021 using the strategy of running with a big lead. Alabama's Mercy Chelangat and Grace Forbes of Rice led a pack of women to reel in Herberg. Eventually the pack broke up with Chelangat winning in 32:37.04. This is her first NCAA championship after finishing second last fall at the NCAA Cross Country Championship and second in last spring's 10,000 meter final. Chelangat plans to run in Saturday's 5000 final.
Photo gallery to Thursday's distance events are HERE