Weber State University steeplechase runners Mike Hardy and Amber Henry qualified for the semifinals of the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship. They will compete in Des Moines, Iowa, June 6-9.
May 24-26, the two runners participated in the quarterfinals of the championships in Austin, Texas, along with many other runners from across the nation.
Hardy, a sophomore at WSU, ended his heat in the 3,000-meter men’s steeplechase with a time of 8:51.66, the fastest time of his career. He finished in 12th place and, by doing so, secured himself a place to compete in Des Moines. The top 12 runners continue to the next round, and, after fighting out the last spot to the finish line, Hardy earned the last qualifying spot.
Head Coach Paul Pilkington said Hardy turned in a strong performance to win the race after hitting the final barrier in the race.
“Mike hit the barrier pretty hard,” Pilkington said. “He was battling with a runner from Boise State, but had a tremendous surge in the final 100 meters to hold him off. He showed some grit and determination.”
Henry, a WSU junior, competed in the 3,000-meter women’s steeplechase. She came into the race with a time of 9:53.94, the second-fastest time in the event in WSU history.
Henry came into the meet injured, after suffering a broken clavicle and a torn meniscus earlier in the season. Pilkington said he was unsure how Henry would perform.
“We didn’t know how Amber was going to hold up,” Pilkington said. “Dr. Neal Callister . . . checked her knee and said she would probably be able to go. Then she goes out and wins her heat.”
Pilkington said Henry is one of the strongest runners he knows, and that he was impressed by her strong performance.
“She’s one of the toughest runners, physically and emotionally, I’ve ever been around,” Pilkington said. “It was quite a performance.”
Henry won her heat, placing before Rebeka Stowe of Kansas, who held one of the top times in the country during the season. Henry finished first in her heat even while entering the race with prior injuries, including a broken clavicle and a torn meniscus.
Henry holds the WSU record in the 1,500 meters. This season, she ran the 1,500 with a time of 4:19.75, the fastest in the history of WSU.
Hardy and Henry were two of the nine WSU competitors who had qualified for the quarterfinals in Texas. Among them were runners Laken Hintze, Kayla Blackford, Sarah Callister, Taylor Thornley, Tyler McBee, Trevor Ricks and field athlete Zach Parry.
Parry was competing as a senior from WSU in the category of the men’s hammmerthrow, participating in his last event as a Wildcat. He failed to qualify for the semifinals in Iowa, finishing 41st overall of 48 participants with a throw of 183-06.00. Parry holds the record for the third-best mark in WSU history with a throw of 198-09.00, as well as the record for the sixth-best mark in WSU history when he threw in the category of the men’s shotput back in 2011.
Callister, a junior at WSU, was recently awarded Academic All-District honors for the second year in a row. She failed to qualify for the semifinals in Iowa in the category of the 10,000-meter run, placing 13th overall, while only 12 qualify to continue to the next rounds. Callister holds the WSU and Big Sky record in the event with a time of 32:51.17. She also holds top-10 WSU records in the 1,500-meter and the 5,000-meter races.