FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (June 11, 2009) - Senior Heidi Dahl (Orem, Utah) extended her collegiate career for a couple more days, as the Lady Buccaneer runner went on to win the prelims of the 1500m on Thursday night at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, hosted by the University of Arkansas.
Dahl, who entered her heat with the fourth fastest time and ranked 11th overall, had enough fuel in the tank as she charged past the competition down the stretch and turned in her strongest performance of the year after being clocked with a new ETSU record mark of 4:14.91. The Orem, Utah native posted the fastest time in the prelims, as UC Riverside's Brenda Martinez finished second in the 27-woman field in 4:16.67.
Dahl kept herself in contention by running a very smooth, tactical race and she followed her game plan to perfection. Washington's Kailey Campbell rushed out to a quick start, and she and Dahl came through the first 300m in 47 seconds. However, Dahl realized in order to win she would have to put on the brakes and conserve energy, which came in handy towards the end. As freshman Lucy VanDalen from Stony Brook made a charge with about 400m left in the race, Dahl took over in the final 300m and passed the field to claim the victory.
"Heidi did exactly what she needed to do and looked easy doing it," commented associate head coach Michelle Byrne. "She took control of the race with 300m to go and accomplished the task by advancing into the finals. I am very proud of her and now we have to prepare for Saturday."
In addition, not only did Dahl reach the finals on Saturday, but she also qualified for the 2009 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships - which will be held June 25-28 at the University of Oregon.
Dahl now has time to rest on Friday and returns to the track on Saturday afternoon for a chance to win the NCAA Championship. The 1500m race will be contested at 2:09 Eastern time and airs live on CBS Sports.