WESTFIELD, Mass. – Westfield State senior Lexi Popp (Westford, Mass.) qualified for the finals in the women's 400 hurdles, and junior William Canty (S. Grafton, Mass.) sits in 12th place in the men's decathlon after Day 1 of the event at the NCAA Division III National Championship meet at the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
Popp qualified with the eighth-fastest time in the 400 hurdles, and will advance to Saturday's nine-competitor finals, slated for a 2:15 p.m. start.
Popp, running in lane nine, was second in her heat and advanced on time, as the three heat winners and the competitors with the next six fastest times move on to the final. Popp ran 1:02.38 on a day that featured swirling winds after early storms delayed the start of the meet, and had to avoid a competitor that fell in the lane next to her early in the race.
Popp will have a chance to earn All-America honors for the second time this year with a top-eight finish, as she was an indoor track All-American with a seventh-place finish in the 400 meters earlier this spring.
Canty won the final event of the day, the 400 meters, with a time of 49.56, earning 835 points in the event. He started his day with a fourth-place mark in the 100 meter dash, with a personal-best time of 10.98 seconds.
Will Daniels of Central College (Iowa) leads the decathlon with 3,990 points. Canty totaled 3,512 on day one, and will need to move up 70 points and four places to get on the podium in Geneva. His day one point total has him close to the pace he set on his school-record mark of 6,765 set a few weeks ago at the All-New England meet, and he will have a chance to get out of the blocks well on Friday in the first event, the 110 hurdles, one of his strengths. The competition will wrap up with the discus, pole vault, javelin and the 1500 meters all on Friday.
Friday's decathlon events begin at 10 am with the 110 hurdles, and will conclude with the 1500 at 4:40 p.m.
The NCAA's live video feed of the meet, and results are available at WestfieldStateOwls.com.