CITY of Plymouth athlete Poppy Tank has achieved a rare feat by qualifying for both the 5,000m and 10,000m events at the NCAA Championships within the space of 48 hours.
Fresh from booking her spot for Eugene in the 10,000m on Thursday evening with a 33:39.22 minute run in the soaring Texas heat at the NCAA West Premlinaries, she then ran 16:00.19 to qualify for the 5,000m on Saturday night.
Tank, racing in the second 5,000m semi-final heat, knew she had to finish in the top five to advance to the national final. In another tactical race, she finished third, less than a second behind the winner.
She becomes only the second University of Utah athlete ever to qualify for multiple events at the prestigious NCAA Championships – and the first for 39 years.
“Poppy ran another terrific race,” said Utah head coach Kyle Kepler afterwards. “She was patient, smart and tough throughout. That is a very challenging double that not many try and few get through in both events. To qualify in both is rare and a special opportunity in two weeks.”
Meanwhile, the region’s next crop of middle distance stars impressed at the BMC Millfield PB Classic on Saturday.
Racing against under-20 rivals Alex Parsons and Flynn Jennings, Smart clocked 8:24.84, which is not far off Great Britain’s qualifying standard for the European Under-20 Championships. It was 15 seconds faster than he had run before for that distance and puts him seventh in the UK rankings.
There were also personal bests for City of Plymouth athletes Jed and Barnaby Hutchings, Molly Shorey and Holly Reid.
Jed Hutchings has moved up to second in the UK under-15 1,500m rankings after he ran 4:10.01 on Saturday. That was nearly two seconds quicker than he had previously run at the start of the month at Par.
Shorey is 11th in the UK under-15 girls’ national list after running 4:46.93 at Millfield, while Reid is 28th in the same age group after running a big PB of 4:52.95.
Meanwhile, Barnaby Hutchings also ran under five minutes for the first time, clocking 4:58.98 to move up to 24th in the under-13 boys’ rankings.
2/2 at the big dance. Poppy Tank headed to the big dance in both.
— Utah T&F/XC (@Utah_trackfield) May 30, 2021