EUGENE, Ore. – Anna Willard stayed on pace Friday in her bid to qualify for the U.S. national team in two events.
The Telstar High School graduate from Greenwood eased her way to win her heat in the women’s 3,000 steeplechase at the U.S. Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field.
Willard, who also advanced to the finals Thursday in the 1,500, strolled ahead of her rivals to cross the finish line in first with a time of 9 minute, 52.98 seconds, more than 30 seconds slower than her seed time.
“Today, I was going out and trying to be as easy as possible,” Willard said. “I wanted to stay in my rhythm because the steeple is all about rhythm. If that means running up front, or running in behind, you just do what you have to.”
The top three finishers will represent the U.S. in the world championships in Berlin in August. 
With American record holder Jennifer Barringer winning the other heat, Friday’s results set up the expected showdown in the final between Willard and Barringer. The two rivals entered the championships separated by less than a second. Barring a slow, tactical race, Willard’s track record at Hayward Field of 9:27.59 is likely to get broken Sunday afternoon.
Willard competes next in the 1,500 final Saturday
Bates College graduate Liz Wanless failed in her attempt to qualify for the U.S. team in the shot put for the second time. The former Divison III All-American finished sixth Friday night with a toss fo 57 feet, 7 inches, nearly three feet shy of her season best. Wanless entered the meet as the No. 2 seed. Michelle Carter won the event at 59-2, while the third-place distance was 58-8.


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