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(Allendale, Mich.) Julie Oosterhouse said she finally feels like she's in racing form after running two NAIA national qualifying races and breaking her own school record on the opening day of the Big Meet hosted by Grand Valley State University.
Never mind helping qualify three relays for nationals and putting herself in the top five on the NAIA 800 meter list in the last two meets; after an intense cross country season that ending with an All-American finish at the NAIA National Championships, the sophomore spent the first half of the indoor track & field season feeling less than sharp.
In her first event of the two-day meet, Oosterhouse ran the 600 meters with the intention of getting the best time in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference, then saving most of her effort for the 800 meters, scheduled three hours later. Two hundred meters into the race, Cornerstone Coach, Rod Wortley knew Julie was going to win, "She was out in 31.4 seconds and was in last place. As the fastest person in the race, there was no way the rest of the field could sustain that." Using her typical, patient style, Oosterhouse covered the next 200 meters in 31 seconds. Her 34 second split over the final 200 meters brought her to the finish nearly one second ahead of the field. Her time of 1:36.87 bettered the NAIA automatic qualifying mark and was fifth overall. Lindsay Lipa improved her best in the event to 1:39.53 for 13th place and Kaitlyn Bronkema finished 18th with a PR 1:42.17.
Oosterhouse returned in the second heat of the invitational 800 meters for more of the same. Another 31 seconds for the first 200 meters put her near the back of the pack where she stayed through the first 400 meters. Running nearly even splits the second half of the race, Julie slid past the fading field, winning a three-way battle for second place at the line. Her 2:12.95 was good for sixth overall out of the three heats, and broke the school record of 2:13.65 she set last season.