May 30, 2008
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Vanderbilt freshman Rita Jorgensen recorded the 12th-fastest time in the preliminaries of the 1500 meters and qualified for Saturday's final at the NCAA Mideast Track & Field Regional at John McDonnell Field on the campus of the University of Arkansas.
"Rita ran a very smart race," Vanderbilt distance coach Steve Keith said. "She was relaxed in the first two laps and then had very good position as the race picked up to the finish."
Running in warm and windy conditions, Jorgensen finished fifth in her heat with a time of 4:29.74. The time was the 12th-quickest time turned in between the two heats in the 1500-meter prelims and allowed Jorgensen to advance to Saturday's final, scheduled for 5:20 p.m. (CT). Jorgensen becomes the first Commodore in recent history to qualify for the finals of the 1500 meters at the NCAA Mideast Regional.
"I know she is very happy making the final," Keith said. "I also know that she is an excellent competitor and will benefit greatly from this experience."
Dacia Barr of Arkansas posted the fastest time in the prelims, recording a mark of 4:24.99. Jorgensen must finish in the top five of Saturday's final to automatically qualify for the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Senior Valerie Kazmer is also scheduled to compete on Saturday, running in the 3000-meter steeplechase.
12. Rita Jorgensen - 4:29.74