MORAGA, Calif. — For the first time in program history, the Saint Mary’s track program will have not one, but two representatives at the NCAA West Preliminary Meet, being contested from Thursday to Saturday at the University of Kansas’ Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence, Kan.
Sophomore Gabe Arias (10,000 meters) and senior Zach Hansen (1,500) both qualified this season as Saint Mary’s first-ever participants in the NCAA West Preliminary, a precursor to the NCAA Championship on June 8-11 in Eugene, Ore. Arias’ time of 29 minutes, 33.15 seconds, in the 10,000 earned him a spot as the No. 40-ranked qualifier. The event is tightly packed, as Arias is just 30 seconds from the top-10 performers. Hansen was the No. 11 qualifier in the 1,500 with a time of 3:42.64. Both will need to finish among the top-12 to qualify for the NCAA Championship.
“Obviously we are very excited for both Zach and Gabe to have the opportunity to compete at the NCAA West Preliminary Championships,” said Saint Mary’s head coach Marty Kinsey. “While Gabe and Zach are the ones who went out there and achieved the marks necessary to qualify, this was absolutely a program achievement from top to bottom. From the coaching staff to each student-athlete on the team raising the bar a little bit higher each year to get to this point is just outstanding. This is just the beginning of what will be great things to come for both track and cross country at Saint Mary’s. Coach Brett (Zorich) and Tom (Kloos) have done a phenomenal job as well and we are very lucky to have them on our team.”
Arias’ 10,000 race is scheduled to go off at 9:40 p.m. CDT on Thursday. A top-12 finish Thursday would send Arias straight to Eugene for the NCAA Championship race. Hansen will run in the first round of the 1,500 at 6 p.m. CDT Thursday. If he advances, he would run in the Preliminary finals at 6:45 p.m. CDT Saturday for a chance to go to Eugene.
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