Sowinsky and Kemboi Finish 1-2 in 800 Semi's

DES MOINES, Iowa – University of Iowa senior Erik Sowinski qualified for the 800-meter run final Wednesday on the first day of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

Sowinski broke the 800-meters school record when he clocked a time of 1:46.09 in the prelims. The senior led his heat until he fell behind in the last 600 meters. In the final seconds of the race Sowinski made his move and sprinted ahead to finish first.

"I was patient and I think that was the main thing," said Sowinski. "I didn't want to try and run outside too quickly. I just snuck by and got myself in."

Sowinski will move on to the 800 meters final. The race is scheduled for Friday at 6:10 p.m.

"I didn't want that to be my last race for the black and gold," Sowinski added. "I just dug deep and I found it."

Sophomore Ashley Liverpool competed in the 400 meters. Liverpool recorded a time of 52.81 to finish 13th overall.

Ethan Holmes finished 18th in the 400-meter hurdles. The junior crossed the line with a time of 51.68.

Edward Kemboi did it by feel. Kianna Elahi did by running her usual steady race. Both Iowa Staters qualified for their respective NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship finals, by finishing second in the semifinals of the men's 800 meters (Kemboi) and women's 400-meter hurdles Wednesday at Drake Stadium.

Kemboi dropped back early in his 800-meter heat, but there was no come from the back effort he used to win the Big 12 meet last month. He finished second to Iowa's Erik Sowinski with a 1:46.20 clocking, the second-fastest time of his career. Sowinski ran 1:46.09. The third heat was not considered the toughest preliminary going into the event, but it turned out to be just that, with six runners finishing under 1:47.00.

"I felt the hand of one of the good guys in my heat moving on me and I knew I had to get going and not wait until the final 200 meters," Kemboi said. "I love my kick but if I had waited I might not have gotten to the final."

Elahi hit her strides. She finished second in her heat with a 56.61 clocking, behind Ellen Wortham of Tennessee, who won in 55.67. Whatever happens in Friday's final, the Omaha native will be an All-American. She never dreamed she would have run at this level when she was a high schooler.

"I thank God for getting me here," Elahi said. "I saw Danielle Dowie of Texas, who has beaten me before and that helped me gauge where I was. I am so thankful to be an All-American, so much so that I was smiling as I crossed the finish line."

Cyclone Ese Okoro finished with the 11th fastest time overall in the 400-meter prelims and did not advance to the final. Her time of 57.61 equaled the personal best she ran finishing second to Elahi at the Drake Relays.

Iowa State's Ian Warner clocked a personal best 10.24 seconds to finish fifth in his heat. He got a good start and was a hundredth-second faster than what he clocked at the West Regional two weeks ago. He did not qualify for the final.

Iowa State action resumes Thursday with Cameron Ostrowski in the men's high jump at 5:30 p.m. CDT. Cyclone Meaghan Nelson will compete in the women's 10,000 meters at 8:45 p.m.
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