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Bilo Advances to NCAA Championship Final in 5,000 Meters for Cal Poly

Bilo Advances to NCAA Championship Final in 5,000 Meters for Cal Poly

AUSTIN, Texas — After running almost her entire race with only one shoe, Cal Poly's Peyton Bilo prevailed in a photo finish by 6-thousandths of a second on Saturday night at Texas to advance to the NCAA National Track & Field Championship final in the 5,000 meters.

The Mustang sophomore from El Dorado Hills finished fifth within her heat (12th overall) at the West Preliminary meet, posting a semifinals time of 16 minutes and 44.27 seconds at Myers Stadium.

The meet featured top-48 student-athletes west of the Mississippi River. Along with 11 others joining her from the West, the top 12 counterparts from the East (simultaneously ongoing at Kentucky) also moved on.

ESPN will televise the final from Oregon, scheduled for 5:25 p.m. Saturday, June 10 at Hayward Field.

The top five from each of two heats qualified for Eugene in automatic fashion, with the last two spots going to the fastest at-large times from either heat.

Bilo lost her right shoe inside the pack early on as runners fought for positioning. She held her ground, however, and stayed ahead of a stumble shortly afterward behind her. As the bunch thinned out, Bilo bided her time on the outside of the top five, before making a move into third place approaching three laps to go.

Stanford's Fiona O'Keeffe pulled away for the win at 16:40.83, while Oregon teammates Samantha Nadel & Lilli Burdon along with Colorado's Erin Clark would lock up the first four automatic berths.

In a battle for the final spot moving on, Bilo was matched up with Wisconsin sophomore Amy Davis down the home stretch. She edged the Badger on a lean over the finish line — 16:44.264 to 16:44.270.

"After getting de-heeled in the first 200 meters," Mustang head coach Mark Conover commented, "true grit and determination."


Also an All-American in cross country this past fall, this will be Bilo's first appearance at the national track & field finals. She came in as the No. 9 seed regionally, owning a career-best 15:52.01 (1.4 seconds off the school record) from the Stanford Invite on March 31. Bilo was also the Big West Conference champion in Fullerton on May 13.

Missouri junior Karissa Schweizer earned the day's top time out of the second heat, 16:24.07, to edge Boise State freshman Allie Ostrander's 16:25.76.

In the next event, two Mustang teammates ran in the Men's 5,000m national semifinal.

Swarnjit Boyal came in 22nd place overall with a time of 14:43.92, while fellow junior Garrett Migliozzi took 32nd, at 14:54.91. The duo were 12th and 17th in Heat 1.

Entered in the same heat, Stanford sophomore Grant Fisher clocked the night's winning performance, 14:12.79, while Illinois freshman Jonathan Davis punched the 12th and final ticket to Oregon out of the next heat at 14:34.45.

Boyal, who also ran in the 10,000-meter national semis Thursday night, will return for his senior season ranked No. 6 in program history for the 5,000m, with a PR of 14:01.48 from the San Francisco State Distance Carnival on March 31.

Meanwhile after making his first NCAA appearance, Migliozzi will bring a top time of 14:01.99 (from April 14 at the Mt. SAC Relays, No. 9 all-time for Cal Poly) into 2018.

Earlier in the evening, Mustang sophomore Kalesi Budei also finished 43rd in the Women's Triple Jump First Round, landing at 38 feet, 7 inches on her first attempt.

Budei, who made the All-Big West Team by earning third place at the recent conference championships, also posted a mark of 37' 4" on her second trip down the runway before fouling her third.

She'll bring a PR of 40' 9" into her junior season, ranking No. 6 in school history.

Oregon's Chaquinn Cook earned the top seed in a return to Eugene, at 44' 4", while Lajarvia Brown of Texas A&M clinched the final qualifying bid at 42' 10.75".

In the Men's Discus First Round, Cal Poly senior Arnie Sambel tied for 44th place after three fouls.

Reno Tuufuli from Iowa won with a throw of 203' 7", and DePaul's Trevor Kintyhtt represented the cutoff for the finals at 181' 7".

Sambel will graduate No. 3 in program history, with a best of 177' 3".