Texas’ Sam Worley qualifies for finals in NCAA 1,500 meters

Texas’ Sam Worley, a former state champion at New Braunfels Canyon, emerged Wednesday as the only freshman to qualify for the 12-man finals in the 1,500 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

His UT teammate, Alex Rogers, did not qualify in spite of a strong performance in the semifinals on the first day of the national meet. The meet runs through Saturday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

A field of 24 runners competed in the 1,500 semifinals, 12 each in two heats. The top five finishers in each heat qualified automatically, with the next two best times also making it through to the finals, scheduled for Friday night.

Both Worley and Rogers ran in the second heat, the fastest of the day, which was won by New Mexico’s Josh Kerr in 3 minutes and 47.47 seconds.

Other automatic qualifiers out of the heat included second-place Robert Domanic of Ole Miss (3:47.61), Vincent Ciattei of Virginia Tech (3:47.73), Worley (3:47.84) and Cameron Griffith of Arkansas (3:47.93).

Rogers, who also ran in high school at New Braunfels Canyon, finished 10th in 3:48.67. He didn’t advance even though he ran faster than anyone in the first heat.

The five automatic qualifiers from the first heat of the day included Oregon’s Sam Prakel (3:49.33), Wisconsin’s Oliver Hoare, Oregon’s Mick Stanovsek, Virginia Tech’s Diego Zarate and Michigan State’s Justine Kiprotich.

The two fastest times outside the automatic qualifiers belonged to Amos Bartelsmeyer of Georgetown (3:48.00) and Mike Marsella of Virginia (3:48.01).

Friday’s race is expected to be much faster. Kerr, a junior, set the NCAA record in the event earlier this year in 3:35.01. Domanic and Prakel have also run 3:36 plus. Worley’s best this season has been 3:40 flat.

Ford reaches 800 finals

Robert Ford, a senior at Southern Cal from Johnson High School, registered the seventh best time of the day in the semifinals of the 800 meters. As a result, he will move into the eight-man finals, scheduled Friday night.

Ford ran 1:47.38. He was third in his heat. The top two finishers in each of three heats advanced, plus the next two fastest times. Ford had the No. 2 time among runners who finished outside the top two.

UTSA’s Riley in the decathlon

UTSA senior Adrian Riley had a fast start but fell back into 10th place after five events in the decathlon. He has 4,086 points.

Riley from Jamaica, opened with the 100 meters in 10.82 seconds for the fifth fastest time in the field. He was third best in the long jump at 25 feet, 11 and 1/2 inches, which set the UTSA school record. The decathlon is scheduled to be completed with the final five eventes on Thursday.

UTSA’s Patrick Prince ran the 110 hurdles in 14.10 seconds for the 20th best time of the day in the semifinals. He did not advance, but he did earn honorable mention All-American, a first in school history in the high hurdles.

Texas State’s 4×100 relay placed seventh in the second of three heats and also failed to advance. The Bobcats’ time of 39.81 was 18th overall on the day.

NCAA notebook

Worley, a record-setting middle distance runner in high school, has already started to make headlines on the collegiate level.

He won the Big 12 outdoor title in Waco, becoming the first UT runner to win that event since Leo Manzano in 2008. His time of 3:44.63 was a track record.

Worley’s season best — 3:40.00 — came on April 19 at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, California. The time stood up as No. 13 in the nation leading into the NCAA meet.

In high school, he established San Antonio area records in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters.

The records in the 1,600 and 3,200 previously belonged to Reuben Reina, the 1980s-era star at John Jay who ran in the 1992 Olympics.

Worley won the state title twice in the 1,600 meters, as both a junior and a senior. Last spring, in his senior year, he won both the 800 and 1,600.