May 24, 2007
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -
Western Washington University's Anthony Tomsich (So., Fairbanks, AK/West Valley) advanced to Saturday's finals in the men's 1,500 meters at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships being held at the Irwin Belk Complex on the campus of Johnson C. Smith University.
Tomsich was an automatic qualifier as he placed fourth in his heat with a time of 3:50.83, just .58 seconds off his personal best. The winning time of 3:50.36 was over five seconds faster than the first-place clocking in the first heat. In fact, all nine runners in heat two had better times than any runner in heat one.
"He got jostled around early, but hung in there, and had a great race," said Western coach Pee Wee Halsell. "I like his chances because he's such a good competitor. It's going to be fun watching him run Saturday."
The top eight in the final of each event earn All-America recognition.
Two Vikings unable to advance were Sam Brancheau (Sr., Edmonds/Edmonds-Woodway) in the men's 3,000 steeplechase and Heidi Dimmitt (So., Wenatchee) in the women's 400 hurdles.
Brancheau placed eighth in the second of two heats and 17th overall with a time of 9:46.01.
"He just didn't have it today," said Halsell. "He was in the back of the pack the whole way, holding on for the first mile, and then just lost the pace and fell back ... But he's had a great senior season and a great career.
During his four years at Western, Brancheau went to nationals in three sports - cross country and indoor and outdoor track.
"I regret that he ended his career on a down note, but at the same time it was a high note as he made it here," Halsell said.
Dimmitt finished sixth in the second of three heats and 16th overall with a 1:03.95 clocking.
"She would've had to run a personal best to reach the finals," Halsell said. "But it was probably her third-best time ever and it gives her something to shoot for in the future. Now, she knows what to expect."
Western's Monika Gruszecki (Fr., Edmonds/Meadowdale), who ranks fifth nationally in the women's javelin with a mark of 146-10, competes at 2:15 p.m. Saturday. Tomsich will run at 6 p.m.
It is the first trip to outdoor nationals for all four Vikings. Brancheau and Tomsich went to the national indoor meet in early March and placed second as members of a distance medley relay that posted a school-record time of 9:55.00.
Coming into the meet, Tomsich was rated seventh in the 1,500 (3:50.25), Brancheau 11th in the steeplechase (9:12.29), and Dimmitt 15th in the 400 hurdles (1:02.01).