Larson Advances At NCAA Track And Field National Championships

June 10, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Utah State's Krista Larson advanced to the women's hammer throw finals by finishing in the top 12 Wednesday in the first day of action at the NCAA National Outdoor Track & Field Championships at John McDonnell Field, hosted by the University of Arkansas.

At the halfway point of both track and field events, Wednesday's action was halted for over three hours by a weather delay, resuming at 9:15 p.m. (MT).

USU's three other national qualifiers, senior sprinter Nick Karren, junior high jumper Casey Parker and junior steeplechase runner Steve Strickland all concluded competition Wednesday.

After being granted an at-large bid to the championships, Larson, a senior from Kaysville, Utah (Davis HS), earned her spot in Friday's final round by finishing 12th-place in the hammer throw with a distance of 188-01 (57.33m). Her mark qualified her for the final round which will be held Friday at 10 a.m. (MT). Larson's mark was .01m behind the No. 11 qualifier, Zlata Tarasova of Kansas at 57.34m (188-01).

"We told Krista coming in that if she threw what she had in the past, she would move on to finals. She only had one fair throw, but it was enough for her to advance," veteran USU head coach Gregg Gensel said. "We're really proud of her. She's the only senior here for us, and she really showed her seniority and maturity today."

Akron's Stevi Large has the top qualifying mark at 215-09 (65.77m), while Western Athletic Conference champion Sharon Ayala of Fresno State is second with a 206-02 (62.83m) mark.

Larson's personal-best and her USU school record mark is 196-08.00 (59.95m), which she set in finishing second at the WAC Championships last month.

Karren, a native of Duchesne, Utah (Duchesne HS), ran the 400m hurdles in 50.85, finishing in 19th-place. Karren needed to finish in 18th-place or higher to qualify for the next round. The 18th-place finisher, Ray Varner of Iowa finished in 50.81, pushing Karren out by .04 seconds.



"Nick ran really well today, there was just a deep, talented field and he didn't make it," Gensel said.

Karren will return to the Utah State track and field team for another season after redshirting the 2008 season due to an injury.

Orem, Utah (Mountain View HS) native Strickland was 12th in his heat and 24th overall in the 3,000m steeplechase with a time of 9:04.51, his fourth-fastest of the season.

"Steve struggled in his race," Gensel said. "I don't know why he did, other than he struggled getting going after getting cut off a couple times, having to slow down then speed up, breaking his stride and his rhythm."

Parker, a McMinnville, Ore. (McMinnville HS) native, got a "no height" in the high jump, one of five high jumpers to do so. A total of 14 high jumpers advanced to the finals, all at 6-10.75 (2.10m), apparent that the event was hampered by the weather.

"Casey jumped well, he just didn't clear the bar," Gensel said.

Fans can follow the NCAA National Championships by watching live as well as live results, both of which are available through the NCAA web site by clicking on the "Watch Live" and "Live Results" links on, the official web site of USU Athletics.

NCAA National Championships
John McDonnell Field - University of Arkansas - Fayetteville, Ark.
Utah State Results


Hammer - 12q. Krista Larson, 188-01 (57.33m)


400m H - 19. Nick Karren, 50.85

3000sc - 24. Steve Strickland, 9:04.51

High Jump - Casey Parker, NH

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