PUEBLO, Colo. – Bentley University senior Amy Varsell (Burlington, Conn./Lewis S. Mills HS), a four-time All-America in the 800, had the number one qualifying time in the 1500 meter prelims late Thursday afternoon during day 1 of the NCAA Division II Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championships, setting a facility record in the process.
Competing in the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl on the campus of Colorado State University-Pueblo, Varsell captured the second heat of the 1500 in 4:33.41, besting runner-up Lisa Ohberg of Cal State-Los Angeles by about a third-of-a-second.
Varsell, who'll advance to Saturday's finals, and Ohberg were two of four second-heat runners who bested the existing ThunderBowl record of 4:33.98, set by Anna VanWechel of Minnesota State-Moorhead during the 2012 NCAA championships.
Bentley was also represented in the NCAA Championships by senior Caitlin Fahey (Bridgewater, Mass./Coyle-Cassidy HS), who missed out on qualifying for the finals by two places and exactly two seconds. Competing as a collegian for the final time, she finished sixth in the first heat and 15th overall with a 4:40.64.
"Both Amy and Caitlin raced well," said Bentley coach Kevin Curtin. "We talked about being in position with 600 to go and both were there. Unfortunately for Caitlin, her heat was tactical so the time qualifiers came out of the second heat. While not making the finals is disappointing, it doesn't diminish what turned out to be a phenomenal senior year.
"As for Amy, she ran a poised race, covered all the moves and earned a heat win and the facility record as well. She's looking forward to the finals on Saturday."
This will be Varsell's fifth national championship final appearance, with the other four at the 800-meter distance. She was previously third in the 2012 indoor meet, fourth in both the indoor and outdoor championships in 2011 and fifth on the ThunderDome track last May.
Saturday's finals are scheduled for 7:35 pm ET and a link to live video will be available on the Bentley athletics website, www.bentleyfalcons.com.