LA CROSSE, WISC – York College senior Alex Smith had a successful first day at the 2018 NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Thursday afternoon.
Smith competed in the preliminary round of the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Thursday. There were two preliminary races with the top five from each heat plus the next best four times advanced to Saturday's finals.
Smith finished fourth in the second preliminary race and seventh overall. Smith recorded an overall time of 9:19.31, just under one second behind top qualifier Polo Burquete of DePauw.
Spartan head coach Stephen LoBianco was pleased with the performance of his senior standout.
"Alex ran a smart race today," said LoBianco. "With the hot temps and some wind, he stuck in the pack the entire race and finished in the top five in his heat to earn the automatic qualification for the finals. We are excited for him to get to this point after not making the finals last year. We are looking for some big things to happen on Saturday in the finals."
Last year, Smith was leading most of his preliminary race but fell off the pace late and did not qualify for the finals.
Smith will look to close out his Spartan career on a high note on Saturday in the finals. The race is slated for a 12:30 pm eastern start. A video broadcast of the race will be available on the Spartan website.