NCAA Women’s 1500 — Hull Pumps Up The Home Crowd

Jessica Hull ended up as the only Duck winner of the weekend. (MIKE SCOTT)

In her usual style, indoor mile champion Elinor Purrier of New Hampshire led semi I wire-to-wire, pulling 7 to new PRs, including her own 4:10.08, a time that would have won all but 7 finals since the women’s NCAA was first held in ’82.

The most notable non-qualifer was SEC champ Rhianwedd Price-Weimer of Mississippi State, the ’15 champion, who finished 11th. Molly Sughroue of Oklahoma State earned the dubious honor of recording the meet’s fastest-ever non-qualifer, 4:12.26, in 8th.

The second semi saw Arkansas’s Nikki Hiltz—last year’s runner-up—produce impressive homestretch finishing speed despite missing much of the outdoor season to injury. A 63.38 final circuit brought her home in 4:14.09 ahead of the Stanford pair of Christina Aragon and Elise Cranny, herself runner-up in ’16.

The final 2 days later, under threatening skies but no rain, presented the question: could Purrier once again burn off the kickers? She certainly tried, as her opening circuit of 64.9 strung out the field a bit, with Pac-12 champ Jessica Hull of Oregon camping out just off the Wildcat senior’s shoulder. But a second lap of 68.9 (2:13.8 at 800) only whittled down the field a bit, as 6 remained in contention at the bell.

Hull challenged for the lead down the final backstretch, but Purrier held her off heading into the final turn, as Aragon, just a soph, edged into 3rd ahead of ACC champ Rachel Pocratsky of Virginia Tech, Curry and Hiltz.

Purrier edged out toward the outside of lane 1 coming off the turn, causing herself to be passed simultaneously on the inside (Pocratsky) and outside (Hull), with the Duck soph edging a stride ahead into the final straight. Hiltz’s homestretch run brought her past Pocratsky and then the Stanford duo, but Hull was too far gone, and she finished an ecstatic winner in 4:08.75, capped by a 64.54 final circuit.

Behind the Aussie junior, Hiltz (4:09.14) and Cranny (4:09.49) both set PRs, while Aragon (4:09.59) was well ahead of Pocratsky (4:10.84) and the hard-charging Taryn Rawlings of Portland (4:11.37 PR). The favored Purrier faded to 7th in 4:11.56.

Said the winner, Oregon’s only victor of the meet, men or women, “I did want to take it down the backstretch, but Elinor was very tough and very strong. I was like, ‘OK, just wait; it might present itself again. Stay composed.’” Of the partisan crowd in the final straight, Oregon’s first winner since Claudette Groenendaal in ’84 said, “It started to get really loud, and that’s exactly what I needed right then and there. I heard the crowd and glanced at the screen, which [assistant coach Maurica Powell] tells me not to do. But I did take a quick glance. At that point I was like, ‘Let this crowd bring you home.’ That was something special.”


NCAA WOMEN’S 1500 RESULTS

FINAL (June 09)

1. **Jessica Hull’ (Or) 4:08.75 PR (10, x C; 6, 6 NCAA)

(65.1, 68.9 [2:14.0], 66.6 [3:20.6], 48.2) (16.2, 32.6, 48.2, 64.54, 2:12.26, 3:20.81);

2. Nikki Hiltz (Ar) 4:09.14 PR (7, x AmC)

(15.8, 32.4, 48.1, 64.56, 2:12.27, 3:20.81);

3. Elise Cranny (Stan) 4:09.49 PR (10, x AmC)

(16.5, 32.9, 48.6, 64.86, 2:12.76, 3:21.28);

4. **Christina Aragon (Stan) 4:09.59

(16.8, 33.2, 48.8, 64.80, 2:12.67, 3:21.21);

5. *Rachel Pocratsky (VaT) 4:10.84

(18.0, 34.4, 50.0, 66.43, 2:14.25, 3:22.81);

6. *Taryn Rawlings (Port) 4:11.37 PR

(15.6, 32.0, 48.4, 65.25, 2:14.16, 3:22.71);

7. Elinor Purrier (NH) 4:11.56

(18.7, 35.4, 51.0, 67.40, 2:15.20, 3:23.75);

8. **Danae Rivers (PennSt) 4:12.36

(17.7, 34.8, 50.9, 67.46, 2:15.75, 3:24.25);

9. Grace Barnett (Clem) 4:13.01;

10. **Dillon McClintock (MiSt) 4:15.29;

11. *Janelle Noe (Tol) 4:20.37;

12. Martina Rodriguez’ (Mem) 4:22.08.

(best-ever mark-for-NCAA-place: 4–6, 8–10)

SEMIS (June 07)

I–1. Purrier 4:10.08 PR; 2. Hull’ 4:10.09 PR; 3. Pocratsky 4:10.80; 4. Noe 4:10.83 PR; 5. Barnett 4:11.07 PR; 6. Rivers 4:11.72; 7. Rawlings 4:12.08 PR;

8. Molly Sughroue (OkSt) 4:12.26 PR (fastest NCAA non-qualifier ever);

9. *Jessica Harris (NDm) 4:12.96; 10. Sarah Hardie (Col) 4:15.24 PR; 11. Rhianwedd Price-Weimer’ (MsSt) 4:21.72; 12. Jenna Hinkle (UCSB) 4:24.07.

(best-ever mark-for-NCAA-place: 8)

II–1. Hiltz 4:14.09; 2. Aragon 4:15.00; 3. Cranny 4:15.05; 4. McClintock 4:15.16; 5. Rodriguez’ 4:15.35;

6. **Kaili Keefe (WaSt) 4:15.39 PR; 7. *Alexis Fuller (Boise) □

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