Pleasantville’s Gabriel Moronta advanced to the second round of the 800 on Day 1 of the NCAA Track Championships Wednesday.
Moronta, a freshman at Mississippi State, ran 1:49.84 to secure a wild-card qualifier into Friday’s second round. He placed 5th in the third of six heats of the 800 at the NCAA Championships East Regional at Hodges Stadium on the University of North Florida campus in Jacksonville.
He locked up the sixth and final wild-card qualifying berth, advancing to the second round by 1-100th of a second.
The first three finishers in each of six heats advanced automatically and the next-six fastest runners also advanced.
The second round, which is NCAA Championship quarterfinal round, is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. Friday. Twelve runners – the top three from each of three heats plus the next-three fastest – will advance to the NCAA Championships in Eugene June 6-9.
On Friday,Moronta will start in Lane 9 of the third heat in the quarterfinals. .
Moronta is one of only seven freshmen still alive in the 800, and five of them are in his quarterfinal race Friday.
Moronta ran his PR of 1:49.33 two weeks ago at the SEC Championships at Texas A&M in College Station. This was his second lifetime race under 1:50.