GULF SHORES, Ala. (Men's and Women's Track & Field) – Sarah Biehl (SR/Lowell, Ohio) finished fourth in the women's 10,000 meter run and Anna Havranek (SO/Sugarcreek, Ohio) secured a seventh place finish, as the Shawnee State women's track & field squad opened the 65th Annual NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships with a strong day on Thursday at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium.
Biehl and Havranek were the both ran in the final women's race of the day, and capped off the evening in style, as the Bears were the lone squad to put two finishers in the top 10. Biehl's fourth place finish came in at a time of 37:06.56 to garner SSU five points, while Havranek finished seventh with a time of 37:56.53, grabbing two more points.
The duo were not the only two to make a splash for Shawnee State, as Megan Ashton (JR/Proctorville, Ohio) finished sixth in her heat in the prelims of the 3,000 meter steeplechase, qualifying for the finals, which will come Saturday at 2 p.m. Ashton finished with a time of 11:04.40, just over 15 seconds off the top time of the evening.
The women's 4x800 meter relay squad – composed of freshmen Brooke Smith (FR/Wheelersburg, Ohio), Katie Saling (FR/Caldwell, Ohio), Shaniah Begley (FR/McDermott, Ohio) and Alyssa Taylor (FR/Georgetown, Ohio) – also competed on Thursday, tallying a time of 9:57.29, finishing seventh in their heat. The young foursome did not qualify for Saturday's final.
The Bears have no one running on day two of the championships, however will see Biehl back at it in the 5,000 meter run, where she qualified as the third fastest runner. The 5,000 is set for a 5:30 p.m. start time. Ashton will run in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at 2 p.m., and – on the men's side – David Jaeger (FR/Liberty Township, Ohio) will compete in the marathon, set for a 6 a.m. start.