USF hurdler David Aristil had gotten close to breaking the elusive 50-second mark in his signature event, the 400-meter hurdles. However, after his performance in the NCAA Championships Friday, he will have to find a new goal to break.
His personal best had been 50.03 seconds, just faster than the 50.09 he ran to win the NCAA East Preliminary Round and earn his spot in the championships, which were held at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. That changed when he ran 49.94 seconds in the finals on a soggy track – a time good enough to earn Aristil fourth in the nation.
He is the first Bull to break the 50-second barrier.
“I was elated, thanking God I finally got that 49,” Aristil said to gousfbulls.com. “It was a tough race, but I was glad I was able to finish strong. I didn’t let the rain bother me too much. I was just focused on my race and didn’t want to let that throw me off.”
Washington State’s Jeshua Anderson won the event with a time of 48.56.
Coming off the fourth-place finish, Aristil will now travel to Nike Headquarters in Eugene, Ore., to compete in the USA Track and Field Championships, which begin June 23.
Three other Bulls – pole vaulter Stephanie Duffy, steeplechaser Nicole Rozario and discus thrower Jared Thomas – also competed in the national championship meet.
Thomas was the first to compete, taking 12th place with a distance of 54.06 meters on his third attempt. The 12th place finish earned Thomas recognition as a second-team All-American and was an improvement from last year, when Thomas finished 19th. Texas Tech’s Julian Wruck won the event with a distance of 61.81 meters.
Rozario was the lowest qualifier to compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase event after posting a personal-best 10:17.60 at the East Preliminary Round, earning the 24th and final spot in the NCAA Championships field. On the biggest stage, Rozario ran a 10:31.01, moving up to 21st position and earning All-American honors as an honorable mention. Emma Coburn won the event for Colorado with a time of 9:41.14 in the finals.
Duffy, the only senior of the USF group, finished in a tie with Akron, Ohio’s Katherine Lee for 15th after successfully clearing a height of 13-1.50. She also earned second-team All-American honors for her efforts. Oregon’s Melissa Gergel won the title with a height of 14-7.25.