TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Sarah Hendrick of Kennesaw State moved up to No. 2 in the women’s 800m on the NCAA top list this season and qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials after clocking 2:01.47 to win the event in her outdoor season opener at the 2021 Crimson Tide Invitational hosted at Sam Bailey Stadium on Saturday, April 10.
Watch Video: Big Personal Best For Hendrick
Hendrick entered the weekend with a personal best of 2:06.80 and the junior middle-distance runner shattered that time when dominating her heat in Tuscaloosa.
Her winning time this weekend improved the Kennesaw State school record, and also set a Sam Bailey Stadium facility record. Additionally, the mark also saw the 21-year-old hitting the needed qualifying standard to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials, which is set for Eugene, Oregon in June.
“Sarah Hendrick is like a woman on fire,” Kennesaw State Director of Track and Field Cale McDaniel said on the athletics website. “She is one of the nation’s best and now she will get a trip to the Olympic trials this summer.”
On Saturday, Hendrick got out fast, clocking 58.82 seconds for the first 400m before closing out at 1:02.65 to win heat 1 by almost six seconds. Gemma Finch of Troy ran 2:07.23 to take second place in the heat and overall, while Alabama senior Esther Gitahi finished third with 2:07.92. Hendrick’s Kennesaw State teammate Rachel Van Amburgh was fourth overall after winning the second heat in 2:08.79.
Eliud Kipsang Shines At 2021 Crimson Tide Invitational
Meanwhile, the men’s race went to Eliud Kipsang of Alabama with a time of 1:47.20.
Kipsang, who clocked an NCAA leading, school record and seventh-fastest time in NCAA history of 3:36.00 to win the 1500m race on Friday, returned with a positive mindset a day later to dominate the 800m field with the fifth-fastest time this season.
Alabama’s head coach Dan Waters was delighted with the overall performance of his team after ending the meeting with several notable marks.
“We broke school and stadium records and posted marks that put us at the top of the national leader board in a number of events,” said Waters. “There’s still a lot of season left, but I’m really happy with the way we’ve gotten outdoors going. Today also gave us a chance to celebrate our seniors, and that is always super special.
“This group has meant so much to our program, helping us continue to build on our tradition of excellence. I also want to thank all the officials, event staff, and coaches who worked so hard to make this weekend a success and to our administration for making it possible.”