Berriatua Set for NCAA West Preliminary Championships on Friday Night

Joey Berriatua became the first Bronco to run the 3,000-meter steeplechase in fewer than nine minutes earlier this year. (Ken Martinez photo)
Joey Berriatua became the first Bronco to run the 3,000-meter steeplechase in fewer than nine minutes earlier this year. (Ken Martinez photo)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara track & field's Joey Berriatua is ready for his appearance in the NCAA West Preliminary Championship. The redshirt senior will run in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday at approximately 8:40 p.m. in Sacramento State's Hornet Stadium. He is slated for the third of three heats; the first heat begins at 8:20 p.m.

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Berriatua enters with the 18th-best time in the field of 48. He set a program record 8:52.04 at the Payton Jordan Invitational on May 3, becoming the first Bronco to complete a steeple in fewer than nine minutes. Runners that post the best 12 times will advance to the NCAA National Championship meet, held June 6-9 in Eugene, Oregon.

The San Mateo, California native is the third Bronco men's runner to reach the postseason and first since Kevin Oliver qualified at 10,000 meters in 2013. Michael Delaurenti was the first Bronco to reach an NCAA preliminary meet when he qualified for the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 2008. Mary Kriege (5,000m, 10,000m) and Grayson Murphy (3,000m steeplechase, 5,000m) each qualified for a pair of events in 2016.

"Joey has put in a lot of time and energy to make this experience a reality," head coach Felipe Montoro said upon Berriatua's qualification. "I'm extremely excited to watch him compete next week. He has as good a shot as most of the field to move on to the finals in Eugene; that's certainly what he has in mind."

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