May 30, 2002
BATON ROUGE, La. - Washington junior Courtney Inman climbed to second on Washington's all-time 1,500-meter record list Thursday with a time of 4 minutes, 17.53 seconds in the second of two preliminary heats at the NCAA Track and Field Championships at Louisiana State University's Bernie Moore Stadium.
Inman's mark was a career-best, and was good enough to earn the first-time NCAA competitor a spot in Saturday's final. The top four finishers in each heat and the next four fastest runners make up the 12-competitor field in the championship race.
The 18th-fastest qualifier in the event with a time of 4:20.58 in April, Inman ran sixth-fastest on Thursday, keeping pace with prelim leader Christin Wurth of Arkansas all the way to the finish line. The first heat, led by national favorite Lena Nilsson of UCLA, set a leisurely pace of 4:23.42, a mark bettered by all 10 finishers in heat two.
British Columbia native Inman, who in March established Washington's indoor mile record, now trails only school-record holder and former Olympian Regina Joyce on the Huskies' 1,500-meter list. Joyce posted a time of 4:12.7 in the event in 1981, the same season she won the national championship at 3,000 meters.
Her preliminary performance guarantees Inman an improvement over her 14th-place finish in the mile at the 2002 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Inman had never appeared at the NCAA outdoor meet prior to Thursday.
While Inman must wait until Saturday for her final race, Husky junior Brad Walker will open his NCAA competition Saturday. The Spokane, Wash., native is the nation's fourth-ranked qualifier in the men's pole vault.
For complete schedules and results of the NCAA Track and Field Championships, visit www.ncaachampionships.com or www.lsusports.com.