EUGENE, Ore. – Brandon Doughty and Alex Deir, a pair of steeplechasers from the University of Oklahoma track and field program, have done it again. During day two competition of the NCAA Championships at historic Hayward Field, the duo found a way to top the impressive performances they put on two weeks ago at the NCAA Prelims. As a result, they extended their season to one more race as each runner took care of business in the 3,000-meter steeplechase semifinals to advance to Saturday’s championship.
The steeplechase semifinals featured two heats with the top five from each heat plus the next two fastest times advancing to the final.
Doughty, whose previous race at the prelims resulted in an Oklahoma record, eclipsed that mark with a time of 8:43.87 in the first heat. In a race that consisted of a very tight pack for the majority of its endurance, Doughty was able to maneuver his way to third on the final lap.
“It went out really quick and stayed fast,” Doughty said. “Things were getting packed tight in the middle, so I just slowly moved up into the top five and I cruised the last 50.
“We knew that we could hang with the best of them. It just feels good to prove that.”
Similar to the first, the second heat remained close until the final lap with Deir making a final push to finish fourth (8:49.29), automatically qualifying for the final.
“It feels awesome,” Deir said. “Especially after seeing Brandon qualify for the next round, it just gave me a lot more motivation. I want to go as far as he goes, so it is really good.”
Deir and Doughty hit the track for the final time this season on Saturday at 4:57 p.m. CT to take their best shot at a steeplechase national championship.
“They did a great job today,” head coach Jim VanHootegem praised. “They were focused. At the same time, they were comfortable and poised during their races. They looked like professionals out there. They did what they needed to do to move on to the next round and they looked good doing it. I think they are both ready to do well in the final.”
The third Sooner to compete on Saturday will be sophomore javelin thrower Garrett Snow. A former Oregon state high school champion, Snow is from Eagle Point, Ore., and will be competing in his home state. Snow finished second in the preliminary round with a 227-4 after setting the school record with his runner-up finishing throw of 232-8 at the Big 12. The javelin is slated to get started at 2:35 on Saturday.
After two days of competition, the Sooner women are tied for seventh with eight points. The OU men will have their chance to pick up points in the two finals on Saturday.