JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Senior Liam Purdy closed his American University track & field career in style on Friday, earning the highest finish ever for an AU runner at the NCAA Championships East Preliminary Round with an 18th-place finish in the 800-meter run.
Purdy, who entered the meet ranked 36th with his personal record (PR) of 1:49.95, became the first Eagle to advance through into the quarterfinal round at the preliminary meet after finishing 20th in the 800m Thursday night (1:50.58). He improved on that placing on Friday, finishing in 18th with a final time of 1:50.92 to miss a spot at the NCAA Championship meet in Austin, Texas, by six places and just over one second.
Qualification into the NCAA Championship is based on the top three finishers in each heat and the next three fastest times.
This concludes a historic senior season for Purdy, who qualified into the preliminary round with the second-fastest time in program history with his 1:49.95 performance during the George Mason Spring Invitational. He entered the season with a PR of 1:50.93 and bested that time in all but two meets this season.
He finishes his career as a three-time Patriot League Champion and holds marks on six all-time top ten lists for the indoor and outdoor seasons. This was Purdy's first appearance at an NCAA Championship meet, and he is the first 800m qualifier at the east preliminary round in program history.
HEAR FROM COACH GRAHAM...
"I could not be more proud of Liam. While tonight wasn't the exact outcome we were looking for, Liam's preparation and execution were exactly what we asked for. Having never been on a stage this big, the poise and confidence he carried representing AU was phenomenal. Finishing his career on the highest level he has seen is a great way to take the AU jersey off. Again, we could not be more proud!"
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