Des Moines, Iowa- The Stanford women have established an early lead at the NCAA Championships after two events scored. The Cardinal women have 11 points to lead the second place tie between Mississippi and Iowa State with ten. Both the men's and women's teams also had several athletes move through the prelims of their events to qualify for the finals that will comprise most of the last two days of competition.
Stanford was led by freshman Alexandra Gits in the 10,000 meters when she finished third. Gits earned her first All-America honor and earned six points for Stanford to give the Cardinal the early lead in the meet. Gits time of 33:49.73 was off her personal best of 33:19.12 run at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational earlier this season. Lisa Koll of Iowa State won the event with a time of 32:44.95.
In the long jump Erica McLain finished fourth to earn five points for Stanford. McLain's leap of 21-6 ¼ was a personal best to improve her mark that sits second on the all-time Stanford list. Brittany Reese of Mississippi won the event with a leap of 22-9, which tied her own 2008 world outdoor best.
It is the third consecutive year that McLain has earned All-America honors in the long jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships to give her 13 All-America honors for her career. She will look for her 14th All-America honor and first ever outdoor national championship when she begins competition in the prelims of the triple jump on Friday.
In the prelims of the javelin Danielle Maier fared well, finishing eighth and advancing to Saturday's final. Maier's toss of 165-10 was just off her own school record of 174-0.
In the prelims of the 1,500 meters Alicia Follmar and Lauren Centrowitz failed to make the final. Follmar finished 13th with a time of 4:18.78 to narrowly miss advancing. Centrowitz finished 17th with a time of 4:20.78.
Both Melissa Yunghans and Michaela Wallerstedt competed in the prelims of the shot put, but neither placed in the top-12 to advance to the final on Saturday. Yunghans finished 15th with a throw of 51-6 ½, while Wallerstedt finished 18th with a toss of 50-10 ¾.
The men were led by Garrett Heath in the 1,500 meters when he ran the second fastest time of the day of 3:42.21 to advance to the finals. Already the Pac-10 and Western Regional champ, Heath will look to add a NCAA championship to his outstanding season on Saturday.
Also competing in the 1,500 meters was Russell Brown who did not qualify for the final. Brown finished 19th with a time of 3:46.48.
In the first round of the 110 meter hurdles, Myles Bradley ran a time of 13.83 seconds to advance to tomorrow's semi-finals. The Stanford record holder in the event took third place in his heat to automatically move on.
In the decathlon Josh Hustedt completed the second day of competition with 6,739 points to finish in 18th place. Hustedt excelled in the pole vault where he was tied for the fourth best mark of the day at 15-5. Ashton Eaton of Oregon won the competition with 8,055 points.
Friday at the NCAA Championships will mark the first of two days where most of the finals will be contested. The Cardinal will have several athletes looking to join Gits and McLain with All-America honors.