Coffman Reaches Finals of 1,500-Meter Run at NCAA Track and Field Championships

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

OSHKOSH, WISC. -- Maddie Coffman (So., Boise, ID/Boise HS) of Willamette University recorded the fourth fastest time in the preliminary heats of the women's 1,500-meter run at the NCAA Division III Track and Field National Championships on Thursday, May 24. Coffman's time of 4:43.41 advanced her into the finals, which will be held at 11:30 a.m. (PDT) on Saturday. The top five times, including Coffman's, were recorded in the second of two heats. Twelve competitors advanced to the finals.

The Bearcats also reached the finals in the women's 4 x 400-meter relay after taking second place in the first of three preliminary heats. Willamette recorded the fifth fastest time overall at 3:51.73, behind the efforts of Andrea May (Sr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS), Jennifer Luecht (Fr., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS), Lydia Marsalli (Fr., Klamath Falls, OR/Klamath Union HS) and Mariah Hanson (Sr., Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap HS). Nine relay teams advanced to the finals, which are set for 2:55 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday.

Willamette's 4 x 100-meter women's relay team ran the fastest time in school history, but it wasn't quite enough to reach the finals. WU's relay team completed its preliminary heat in 47.78 seconds, as the Bearcats cut 0.41 seconds from the record they set at the Western Oregon Last Chance Meet on May 12.

Willamette was ever so close to making the finals, barely trailing Wartburg College (Iowa) at 47.74 seconds and McMurry University (Texas) at 47.75 seconds. Wartburg and McMurry ran head-to-head as they took second and third, respectively, in the third heat. The Bearcats finished fifth in the second heat. Running for Willamette were Autumn Schmeck (Fr., Beaverton, OR/Aloha HS), Marsalli, Kaitlin St. John (Fr., Bend, OR/Mountain View HS) and May. A total of nine teams advanced to the finals.

Julio Vieyra (Sr., Salem, OR/McKay HS) of Willamette competed in the men's 1,500-meter run. He finished eighth in his heat with a time of 4:16.82. He was not one of 12 runners who advanced to the finals.

On Friday, May will represent the Bearcats in the preliminary heats of the women's 100-meter high hurdles and Hanson will compete in the prelims of the 400-meter dash. Jordyn Smith (Jr., Henderson, NV/Green Valley HS) will run in the preliminaries for the 800-meter run and Jena Winger (So., Bonney Lake, WA/Sumner HS) will conclude Willamette's second day at the NCAA Championships by participating in the finals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh is hosting this year's championships. Action continues through Saturday at J.J. Keller Field on the UW-Oshkosh campus.

2007 NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships -- Men's Results
2007 NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships -- Women's Results

Maddie Coffman - 2007 NCAA 1500m Prelims

Maddie Coffman - 2007 NCAA 1500m Prelims