All eyes will be on America for the next few days as the NCAA Division One Track and Field Championships take place in Austin, Texas.
After a hectic season which got underway in April, ten of Ireland’s top athletes who are based Stateside will have their eye’s set on impressing at one of the sport’s most prestigious events.
The action gets underway at the Mike A. Myers Stadium in the early hours of tomorrow (Thursday) and concludes on Sunday morning.
The star attraction from an Irish perspective will undoubtedly be University of Texas student Rhasidat Adeleke (Tallaght A.C.) who is widely expected to challenge for a medal in the Women’s 400m. The 20-year-old has had an incredible 2023 so far winning silver at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, before breaking her Irish outdoor 400m record on a couple of occasions, most recently clocking 49.54 in Sacramento at the NCAA Prelims West.
Adeleke, who is the European leader for the event this season, is likely to go head-to-head with American Britton Wilson (Arkansas) who has ran 49.13 this year and won a World Championship gold medal in the 4x400m relay in Oregon last year.
Adeleke’s semi-final gets underway at 3am Irish Time on Friday morning, with a final should she advance scheduled for 3:02am Irish Time on Sunday morning.
Adeleke also races in the 4x100m and 4x400m relay races.
Two University of Washington athletes will also be hoping to contest in Austin. Brian Fay (Raheny Shamrocks A.C.) and Sophie O’Sullivan (Ballymore Cobh A.C.) have both produced strong performances so far this season.
Fay runs over 5000m and has a season’s best of 13:21.99 set in April. The former DCU student races in the final at 3:55am on Saturday.
Sophie O’Sullivan has progressed rapidly this season. The former European U18 800m silver medallist had a 1500m personal best of 4.17.54 from last year going into this season. She has since bettered that on four occasions, running below 4.15 (4.12.19) for the first time a month ago.
At the recent NCAA Prelims West she ran a superb personal best of 4.08.06 to move to eighth on the Irish All-Time list for the event and eleventh on the NCAA All-Time list.
O’Sullivan will go in the heats at 1:46am Irish Time on Friday morning, with a final should she advance pencilled in for Sunday morning at 2:12am.
Two Irish men also go over 1500m. Sean Donoghue (Dublin City Harriers A.C.) who represents the University of Villanova, has previously won gold at the National U20 Championships in the event.
Meanwhile Cathal Doyle (Clonliffe Harriers A.C.) is currently based at the University of Portland. The 2022 national senior champion over the distance has broken 3.40 twice this season and has a PB of 3.37.57 set last summer.
The semi-finals get underway in the early hours of tomorrow morning (Thursday) at 1:46am, with the final down for decision at 2:12am on Saturday morning.
In the 800m Conor Murphy (University of Virginia) will be hoping for a strong performance. Having recently switched eligibility from the USA to Ireland, Murphy has had a good year running a personal best recently of 1.47.27.
His semi-finals also take place in the early hours of Thursday, commencing at 2:14am, with the final scheduled for 3:14am on Saturday.
Stepping up in distance talented young athlete Jane Buckley (Leevale A.C.) has had a breakthrough year since moving to University of Providence. Still only 19, the Cork woman has run 15.41 for 5000m recently and is inside the top 20 for the event on the Irish All-Time list.
Buckley will take to the Austin track at 3:55am Irish Time on Sunday for the final individual race of the championships.
The Irish will be well represented in the gruelling 25-lap 10,000m with three athletes expected to toe-the-line at 3:08am Irish Time on Thursday.
Cormac Dalton (Mullingar Harriers A.C.) is the fastest of the trio so far this year. The University of Tulsa student clocked 28.04.29 in April to finish just ahead of fellow Irish man Brian Keane (Waterford A.C.) at the Clay Invitational. Keane studies at Butler University, Indiana.
Paul O’Donnell (Dundrum South Dublin A.C.) is also in action in the same race. O’Donnell has clocked a personal best of 28:42.54 this season.
Irish athletes in action: NCAA Division One Championships – Austin, Texas
Note: All times are Irish
*Subject to qualification
Thursday June 8th
- C. Doyle and S. Donoghue – Men’s 1500m SF – 1:46am
- C. Murphy – Men’s 800m SF – 2:12am
- C. Dalton, B. Keane, P. O’Donnell – Men’s 10,000m Final – 3:08am
Friday June 9th
- R. Adeleke – Women’s 4x100m Relay SF – 1:32am
- S. O’Sullivan – Women’s 1500m SF – 1:46am
- R. Adeleke – Women’s 400m SF – 3:00am
- R. Adeleke – Women’s 4x400m Relay SF – 4:48am
Saturday June 10th
- B. Fay – Men’s 5000m Final – 3:55am
- *C. Doyle and S. Donoghue – Men’s 1500m Final – 2:12am
- *C. Murphy – Men’s 800m Final – 3:14am
Sunday June 11th
- *R. Adeleke – Women’s 4x100m Relay Final – 2:02am
- *S. O’Sullivan – Women’s 1500m Final – 2:12am
- *R. Adeleke – Women’s 400m Final – 3:02am
- J. Buckley – Women’s 5000m Final – 3:55am
- *R. Adeleke – Women’s 4x400m Relay Final – 4:21am