Schalick graduate Samuel Gerstenbacher on Thursday advanced to the steeplechase finals at the NCAA Division 3 track championships outside Cleveland.
Gerstenbacher, a junior at Elizabethtown, ran 9:16.38 in the 3,000-meter race, advancing to the final at 11:45 a.m. on Saturday at SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
The top five finishes from each of two semifinal races advanced automatically and the next four fastest runners also advanced. Gerstenbacher was seventh in the second race, which made him the second-fastest non-auto qualifier.
Gerstenbacher closed in 70.9 seconds after running his six previous full laps in 73.5, 74.1, 74.3, 74.9, 75.2 and 74.9.
This is Gerstenbacher’s second NCAA Championships. He didn’t qualify for the final last year. Gerstenbacher ranks fourth in NCAA Division 3 with his school-record 9:00.21 in a last-chance meet at Swarthmore earlier this month.
The top 12 seeds all moved on along with the No. 15 and 17 seeds.