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(Walnut, Calif.) Cornerstone University's Zach Ripley and Alex Green traveled out to Mt. San Antonio College and competed at the Mt. SAC Relays. Both Ripley and Green raced well, securing qualifying spots for the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in May.
Ripley raced in the fastest of the four heats, of the 3,000 steeplechase races. "We were hoping for a faster first lap but the whole field was slow," said Coach Nate Van Holten of the 71 second opening circuit. Zach covered the next two laps in 69 seconds then settled into his target pace of 71 for the next 800 meters. "He was a bit anxious being in the invitational heat with Olympians and international elites." Racing his first steeplechase since finishing second at the 2009 NAIA National Championships, Ripley appeared a bit rusty going over the water barrier, but ran well enough to run a personal best, breaking the 9 minute mark for the first time. Ripley's 8:58.84 was nearly five seconds better than the 9:03.61 he ran last May at the NAIA National meet.
Green ran in the second of the University/Open heats, leading most of the first lap. "We didn't expect to for him to be leading, but nobody took it out," said Van Holten. "Alex did a good job of recognizing the pace was slow and not waiting for someone else to take it." Green's time of 9:17.84 was an improvement from the 9:19.73 he ran at the Coastal Carolina Invitation in March and just off his personal best of 9:17.15 from the 2009 NAIA National meet.
Both men are schedule to compete in the Brian Clay Invitational at Azusa Pacific University on Saturday.