Women's Outdoor Track & Field - Thu, May 22, 2014 - posted by Seth Mikel
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 Erin Price and Elaine Schmeltz qualified for the finals in their respective events to highlight the Taylor women's track team's opening day of the NAIA Championships.

Price, an All-American in the 400-meter hurdles last season, posted a time of 1:02.15 in the 400-meter hurdles trials to qualify for Saturday's finals. The Heppner, Oregon, native will race in the finals on Saturday at 4:10 pm (CST).

"Erin got off to a great start and then had a stutter on the fifth hurdle," Taylor coach Quinn White explained. "But she is such a competitor and she got back in rhythm to finish strong and advance to the finals."

Schmeltz continued her stellar junior campaign by qualifying for the finals in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11:06.44 in Thursday's trails. The Taylor record-holder in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Schmeltz advances to the finals in the event for the second straight year after finishing 13th at last year's National Championships. Schmeltz will compete in the finals of the event on Saturday at 2:00 pm.

Freshman Anna Meyer also competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase but failed to advance to the finals with a time of 11:34.66.

"Elaine and Anna both got off to great starts through the first mile," White said. "Elaine really finished strong, looked comfortable, and has a great chance to be an All-American on Saturday. Anna, on the other hand, never really looked comfortable or relaxed but she fought and she's had a great year."

Taylor's 4x800-meter relay team of Jane Hawks, Kerigan Riley, Grace Carver, and Sarina Oleson posted a time of 9:28.21 to finish 17th in the preliminaries but fell short of the mark needed to advance to the finals.

"We ran basically what we've been running all season in the relay but at this point in the year we should run a little better than that," White said. "To have a great relay every member has to have an excellent race and we didn't quite do that today but these ladies have had a great season and I'm very proud of them."

The Taylor women's track team won't feature any competitors in Friday's events at the 34th NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships while Price and Schmeltz will both compete in the finals of their events on Saturday. Schmeltz will compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase finals at 2:00 pm (CST) while Price will race in the 400-meter hurdles finals at 4:10 pm.