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Courtesy: CAA/Rich Riggins
William & Mary's Elaina Balouris

William & Mary's Elaina Balouris Advances to NCAA Track & Field Championship

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 05/23/2013
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GREENSBORO, N.C. (May 23, 2013) – William & Mary junior Elaina Balouris advanced to the finals of the NCAA Track & Field Championship after posting a ninth place finish in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA East Preliminary round Thursday night in Greensboro, N.C. Also in the women’s regional, George Mason seniors Cierra McGee and Taylor Wheaton advanced to the quarterfinals of the women’s 400m and 400m hurdles respectively.

On the men’s side, George Mason senior David Verburg advanced to the quarterfinals of the 400m after finishing second in the first round Thursday afternoon.

Balouris received one of the twelve coveted spots into next month’s NCAA finals after posting a time of 33:43.27 to earn the ninth place finish. It will be her second consecutive trip to the finals after earning honorable mention All-American honors last season. Balouris’ time is a new school record in the event and is also a USAT&F Champs provisional mark.

McGee ran a time of 53.38 in the women’s 400m and finished fourth in heat six, advancing to the quarterfinals. In the women’s 400m hurdles, Wheaton automatically advanced to the quarterfinals with a third-place finish in heat one of the event, crossing the line in 58.70. Both McGee and Wheaton will run in their respective quarterfinals Friday night.

Verburg posted a time of 45.54 in his runner-up finish in the first round of the 400m. The 2012 All-American will look to make a return trip to the NCAA finals in Friday night’s quarterfinals after finishing just .07 seconds back of the first place finisher. Verburg is the second seed in the event.

Other notable performances from the CAA on the men’s side include William & Mary junior Josh Hardin who fought through tough track conditions and just missed a trip to the NCAA finals with a 19th place finish in the 10,000m. Hardin’s teammate Austin Vegas claimed an 18th place finish in the Pole Vault, improving 23 positions from his 42 seed.

On the women’s side, Northeastern grad student Nia Howard improved 33 positions from her 48th seed and earned a 15th place finish in the long jump, just missing a trip to the finals. George Mason sophomore Bethany Sachtleben and James Madison freshman Jenna Flickinger each narrowly missed advancing to the finals of the 10,000m but each improved their seeds by more than ten spots.

Day two of the East Region Preliminaries kicks-off tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. with field events while events on the track will begin at 5:00 p.m.