By From staff reports
In Austin, Texas, Liberty senior Alejandro Perlaza Zapata made program history with an impressive performance in the men’s 400-meter preliminary round Wednesday in the NCAA Division I outdoor track & field national championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
Zapata won his heat with a season-best time of 45.12 seconds to advance to Friday’s finals, scheduled for 9:32 p.m. Zapata’s time was the third-fastest in the three preliminary heats, and he became the program’s first finalist in the event.
Two LU athletes garnered second-team All-America honors by finishing in the top 15 of their respective events Wednesday.
Sophomore Felix Kandie finished 13th in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 8:56.20 and missed qualifying for the finals by less than two seconds. He became the program’s first All-American in the event.
Senior Denzel Pratt concluded his collegiate career with a 14th-place finish in the men’s javelin. He became the program’s first javelin All-American with a throw of 221 feet, 1 inch.
Senior Azaria Kirwa ran to an eighth-place finish in the men’s 10K with a 29:30.88, crossing about 14 seconds after first-place finisher Clayton Young, from BYU.
Kirwa, the first Liberty runner to participate in the 10K at NCAAs since Sam Chelanga in 2011, earned first-team All-America honors with his finish Wednesday. It marks his first career All-America recognition on the track; he previously garnered All-America recognition for cross country in 2017.
Kirwa also will participate in the 5K Friday at 10:25 p.m.