By Tim Glon
DES MOINES, Iowa — Ohio Northern alum Emily Richards (Delaware/Hayes) finished fourth in her heat and 13th overall in 2:03.35 in the first round of the women's 800-meter run on Thursday afternoon at Drake Stadium.
The top three finishers in each of the four first round heats, plus the next four best times advanced to the second round.
She advanced as the second-fastest of the next four top times and will compete in the second round on Friday at 6:50 pm (7:50 EDT). The top four times in each of the eight-women heats will advance to Sunday's finals, which will be broadcast nationally on NBC.
"Emily got through to the finals and that was the only goal for today," ONU head coach Jason Maus said. "It's now a clean slate for tomorrow. She wanted to stay in the top three, but didn't finish the last 200 meters quite as strong as she would have liked. The last few days have been emotionally draining for her with the decision about which professional team to sign with. Hopefully with that accomplished things will be much better and she can just focus on running."
The 9-time NCAA Division III Champion, 13-time All-American and two-time Academic All-American is making her second appearance at the yearly American championships meet in the 800-meter run.
Richards entered the meet ranked fifth nationally and 48th in the world in the event with a season-best time of 2:00.67, which she ran at the Music City Classic in Nashville in June.
Last season, Richards reached the finals and finished eighth in 2:01.74.
She is the fastest collegian in the event among all divisions this season and owns the NCAA Division III record in the event with a 2:00.62 clocking in 2017.
Richards graduated from Ohio Northern with a degree in chemistry this May.