K-State's Krais leads heptathlon at NCAA meet
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Kansas State's Ryann Krais, one of four heptathletes to crack the 5,800 mark this season, took the lead at the NCAA Outdoor championships Thursday with 3,585 points through four events.
Krais, a junior, transferred from UCLA back to her home state last summer. She's just 34 points ahead of Arizona State's Chelsea Carrier, who also has topped 5,800 this season, and Texas A&M's Daphne Fitzpatrick looms in fifth place at 3,371.
Asked what it'll take to win the national title Friday, Krais said she's honestly didn't know. She wasn't exactly sweating it either.
"I can't tell you. And right now, I'm not even worried about that. A lot of times, I let myself get very anxious and I've been working recently to let things be," Krais said. "If I'm meant to win it, it's meant to happen. And if not, somebody else will (win) and I'll just continue working hard."
BOUNCE BACK LUCY: Stony Brook's Lucy Van Dalen had one of the day's more impressive performances in the 1,500. Van Dalen was tripped up early in her preliminary heat, but she dusted herself off and finished second in 4:18.50.
Van Dalen, who hails from New Zealand, was the first athlete from Stony Brook to compete in the NCAA's national indoor meet during the 2008-09 season. She proved her toughness but gutting out a strong run despite an early stumble.
"Someone went down and I thought it was clear, but I just went down straight after. I just got myself together, stayed at pace and prayed," Van Dalen said. "I was really stoked to get out there and I just kind of went out slowly and didn't panic."
Van Dalen will compete in the finals on Saturday.
FAMILIAR TERRITORY: Arkansas's Dorian Ulrey knows Drake Stadium quite well from his days at Northern Iowa. Ulrey, who transferred to Arkansas when former Panthers coach Chris Bucknam left for the Razorbacks in 2008, was the fastest qualifier in the 1,500 meters with a time of 3 minutes and 42.44 seconds.
The run was part of a late seasons surge for Ulrey, who won the Southeastern Conference meet in 3:46.70.
"It's fun to be here. I know where to go to eat," Ulrey said about returning to Iowa. "It's been a very easy transition and it's good to be back in Iowa."
QUICK STARTS: Thursday's decathlon and heptathlon events got off to a delayed start after heavy rains and hail pelted Des Moines Thursday morning. Des Moines received over two inches of rain, and at one point on Thursday morning it hailed so hard downtown that it briefly appeared as snow had fallen in June. ... Texas Tech senior Omo Osaghae topped qualifying in the men's 110 hurdles at 13.32 and will be a favorite for Saturday's final. Osaghae said he'll spend Friday relaxing and watching his fellow Red Raiders perform. ... Virginia senior Stephanie Garcia had run a personal best in every race this season until Thursday, but her time of 10:00.27 in the 3,000 steeplechase still topped her heat.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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