Courtesy of Elizabethtown, Juniata, and Moravian Athletic Communciations
GENEVA, Ohio - Sam Gerstenbacher of Elizabethtown, and Greg Jaindl of Moravian, highlighted the first day of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Also competing were Kylie Orndorf (Juniata) and John Spirk (Moravian.)
Gerstenbacher guaranteed himself at least 14th in NCAA Division III after advancing Thursday evening to Saturday's 3,000m steeplechase final. Gerstenbacher ran 9:16.38 and was 12th overall to move on to Saturday's final at the 2019 NCAA DIII Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
A year after a 17th place finish in Division III, Gerstenbacher ran 20 seconds faster than his preliminary race at the 2018 version of the national meet. He was seventh in his section Thursday and one of the remaining four fastest times. The top five from each of the two sections automatically qualified with the next four fastest times also getting in.
Gerstenbacher, already the first in program history to qualify for nationals in the steeplechase, can become the 16th different athlete from Elizabethtown to earn All-American and the first since Mike Twist in 2016.
Jaindl, who was running at the NCAA meet for the second straight spring, was in the first heat of the 3,000-meter steeplechase where he finished sixth in the heat with a time of 9:17.19, the fourth fastest time of his career and in school history. Jaindl's time was the 13th best in the preliminaries, good enough to get him into the national championship final on Saturday, May 25 at 11:45 a.m. with a chance to be an All-American for the first time in his career.
Orndorf finished out her career placing 12th in the javelin with a throw of 39.84m, while Spirk, who was making his first-ever appearance at the NCAA Championships, was the first Greyhound to compete, running in the preliminaries of the 400-meter hurdles. Spirk, who entered as the 12th seed, ran a time of 54.41 seconds to finish fifth in his heat and 16th of the 20 competitors. The top finisher in each of the three preliminary heats and the next six fastest times advanced to the finals on Saturday.
Meet schedule can be found here: https://results.deltatiming.com/ncaa/tf/2019-ncaa-d3-outdoor-championships#/2019-05-24