AUSTIN, Texas -
Utah State junior distance runner Clay Lambourne had one goal in mind for the quarterfinals of the 800-meter run at the NCAA West Preliminary Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Friday evening at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
"My game plan was to just go out and put myself in a good position to finish in the top-three," Lambourne said. "I was confident enough in my finish that as long as I was in the conversation with 200 to go, I could get one of those spots."
Which is exactly what Lambourne did. The native of Riverton, Utah, was in fifth place with 200 meters to go, but kicked it into overdrive and finished second in his heat and third overall with a personal-best time of 1:47.09, which ranks second all-time in school history.
"That time is really great," an excited Lambourne said. "I was excited to see it. Running times like those consistently means I am doing something right and it puts me up there with the top people in the nation. Again, it just gives me a lot of confidence moving forward."
With that result, Lambourne punched his ticket to the NCAA Outdoor Finals for the second consecutive year. In 2016, he garnered honorable mention All-American accolades by placing 22nd in the semifinals of the 800m with a time of 1:52.31.
"I'm one step closer to some big goals I have and it gives me a lot of confidence going forward," Lambourne said.
Lambourne was not the only Aggie to qualify for the Outdoor Finals, which are being held June 7-10 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. About a half-hour later, the recently graduated AJ Boully placed third in his heat and ninth overall with a time of 50.68 in the 400-meter hurdles.
Like Lambourne, the native of Boise, Idaho, is heading to Eugene for the second consecutive year. Boully earned second-team All-American honors in 2016 in the 4x400-meter relay (3:06.41) and honorable mention All-American accolades in the 400m hurdles (52.67).
"My biggest goal was to just compete and make it to nationals," said Boully, who will compete in the 4x400-meter relay on Saturday at 8:45 p.m. (MT). "I didn't run to my best, but that was my mistake. I won't do that at nationals."
Boully is thrilled with the opportunity to head back to Eugene, though.
"It's the realization of our goals for this year," Boully said. "You can't get to nationals without regionals, so I'm just taking things one step at a time. I am honored to represent Utah State at Eugene again. I'm ready."
Graduate transfer Joshua Gordon placed sixth in his heat and 39th overall in the first round of the men's 200-meter dash with a time of 21.26. A pair of Aggie men competed in the quarterfinals of the 3,000m steeplechase as sophomore Spencer Fehlberg placed seventh in his heat and 20th overall (9:09.63) and senior Colby Wilson finished eighth in his heat and 24th overall (9:15.71).
On the women's side, sophomore Cierra Simmons and senior Tori Parkinson both competed in the quarterfinals of the women's 3,000m steeplechase. Simmons just missed punching her ticket to Eugene as she placed fifth in her heat and 13th overall (the top-12 advanced) with a time of 10:24.78, while Parkinson finished seventh in her heat and 19th overall with a time of 10:35.94. It was her best-career finish at the West Prelims.
The West Prelims will conclude Saturday with 12 track events beginning at 5 p.m. (MT) and five field events beginning at noon.
Utah State's men's 4x400-meter relay team will compete in the quarterfinals at 8:45 p.m. (MT), junior David Hirschmann will compete in the first round of the men's discus at noon and junior Dillon Maggard will run in the semifinals of the 5,000m at 7:45 p.m.
For the Aggie women, sophomore Kashley Carter will compete in the semifinals of the 5,000m at 7:05 p.m. (MT), while sophomore Brenn Flint and junior Olivia Moriconi will both take part in the first round of the shot put at 5 p.m.
Fans can follow the Utah State track & field programs at twitter.com/USUTF_XC, on Facebook at USUTrack and on Instagram at instagram.com/USUTF_XC. Aggies fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
UTAH STATE RESULTS
NCAA OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS, WEST PRELIMS
MAY 26, 2017
3,000m Steeplechase (quarterfinals) - 13. Cierra Simmons, 10:24.78; 19. Tori Parkinson, 10:35.94.
200m (first round) - 39. Joshua Gordon, 21.26.
800m (quarterfinals) - 3. Clay Lambourne, 1:47.09Q.
400m Hurdles (quarterfinals) - 9. AJ Boully, 50.68Q.
3,000m Steeplechase (quarterfinals) - 20. Spencer Fehlberg, 9:09.63; 24. Colby Wilson, 9:15.71.
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