Sat, May. 26, 2012 - [Track & Field]
Rio Grande Sports Information
MARION, Ind. - The University of Rio Grande's representatives in the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships fell short in their respective quests for a strong showing in the national event hosted by Indiana Wesleyan University. The women's 4x800 relay team, which had the eighth-fastest qualifying time coming into the event, failed to reach the finals after crossing the finish line in 9:28.62 for 13th place in the preliminary round. The top nine times made the finals.
Rio's finish was just over five seconds slower that ninth-place Concordia (Neb.)
The team was comprised of a trio of seniors - Cassie Mattia (West Chester, OH), Kayla Graves (Chillicothe, OH) and Kayla Renner (Galloway, OH), as well as freshman Samantha Barnes (Gallipolis, OH). Junior Amy Lower (Lancaster, OH), who was part of the original starting lineup earlier in the season before suffering an injury, also made the trip as an alternate, but did not run.
Mattia also competed as an individual in the women's 800-meter run, but missed qualifying for the finals after placing 11th in the preliminary round with a time of 2:15.59. Her time was just 39-hundreths of a second slower than Westmont's Theresa Nealon and Heidi Swanson of Cal St. San Marcos, both of whom tied for ninth at 2:15.21.
Mattia, who twice this season eclipsed the 32-year school record in the event, had the ninth-fastest qualifying time among the competitors coming into the event.
The only male among the six athletes who made the trip for head coach Bob Willey's squad was senior Matt Spencer (Pickerington, OH), whose qualifying time for the national event was last among the 26 competitors.
Spencer, however, qualified for the national semifinals after posting a near personal-best time of 1:54.75 for 15th place in the preliminary round.
Spencer, who also represented the RedStorm in the national cross country championships, failed to reach the finals, though, after finishing 18th in the semifinal round with a time of 1:57.69.