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(Gulf Shores, Ala.) The day started with a dramatic win for Brittany Green to claim 10 points for the Golden Eagles (separate story posted earlier).
In the first heat of the 800 meters open race, Julie Oosterhouse tied her school record taking third in 2:11.54. Needing to finish first or second or be one of the two next fastest times out of the three heats, Oosterhouse advanced to Saturday's final based on time.
By late afternoon the temperature rose to the mid 80's as the heat shimmered off the track when the 5,000 meter race walk got underway. Missouri Baptist's four entries and Cornerstone's five made up most of the field. Senior Monica Lawrence followed Missouri Baptist's Mereth Zalba and Molly Josephs to the front while Brianna Griffiths, Kayla Ovokaitys, Melissa Manlan and Bailey Brogan filled the following pack. On the fifth lap, Manlan stepped off the track and crumbled to the infield due to the heat. Two other women also failed to finish due to the conditions. The CU women worked well together as the field strung out. With four laps to go Zalba and Josephs pulled away and CU held the next four spots. Lawrence began to fade and was overtaken by Griffiths, Brogan passed Ovokaitys who regrouped and caught up to Lawrence. With the rest of the field fading, coach Nate Van Holten let the women know that places were unimportant and avoiding form violations mattered most.
Griffiths improved her best finish at nationals to third in 27:23.79. Lawrence concluded her collegiate career surging past Ovokaitys to take fourth in 27:52.12 to Kayla's 27:52.96. Brogan who was seeded fifteenth after just squeaking under the qualifying standard on last-chance weekend, finished sixth in 28:08.40. All four women earned All-America honors. Their eighteen points put the Golden Eagles in second place with 32 points heading into Saturday.
The Golden Eagles (32 points) are just one point behind British Columbia (33 points) after the 2nd Day of the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.