May 23 - OSHKOSH, Wisc. – Bethany College sophomore Matt Cruse (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier) needed to reset the school record to do it, but he advanced to the finals in the 110 hurdles Friday during the second day of the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Seeded seventh coming into the event, Cruse maintained his position heading into finals. He would take second in the first heat by crossing with a time of 14.49 seconds to just edge Greenville’s Edgar Townsend (14.50) and Moravian’s Beresford Brown (14.59). The time also shaved .02 off his previous school record time which was set last weekend at the ECAC Championships.
The winner of the heat was Montclair State’s William Brown, who broke the tape in 14.28 seconds.
Although Cruse had broken his school record, it didn’t guarantee a spot in Saturday’s championship heat. Only the three heat winners were assured of a spot in the finals and the next six fastest times advanced. In the second heat, Cruse’s chief PAC rival, Dorran Coley of Thiel, won with a time of 14.40 and Tri-State’s Russell Dill, who recorded the top time in yesterday’s 400 hurdle prelims, moved on in the 110s with a time of 14.48.
With one heat to go, all six of the runners would have needed to record better times than Cruse to keep the Bethany sophomore out of the finals. The final race proved to be the fastest, with three of the top four times being set, but those were the only three who bettered Cruse’s mark. Greenville’s Jarod Renford registered the top time in prelims by coming in at 14.22, with Shaun Olorundami from Buena Vista taking second (14.28). The final qualifier from the third heat was Nathanial Tussey from Moravian with a time of 14.37.
The final of the 110 hurdles is scheduled to go off at 1:55 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Cruse will run from the second lane between a pair of Moravian runners, with Brown in the first lane and Tussey in lane three. Cruse will be after his second All-American honor of the year, as he placed fourth overall in the 55 hurdles at Indoor Championships in March, which made him the first Bison to earn that distinction.
This is Cruse’s second time at the outdoor national championships. Last season in the 110s, he set a new Bethany record but took 11th overall in prelims, missing the finals by two spots. Cruse also competed in the 400 hurdles this year and turned in an 11th place showing in prelims on Thursday.