JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Belmont University Track and Field junior Aidan Thompson (Dunfermline, Scotland) made his collegiate debut Friday evening on the NCAA stage, racing in the hotly contested 3000m Steeplechase at the NCAA Division I East Regional Preliminary in Jacksonville, Fla., hosted by the University of North Florida.
Thompson was the first Bruin to punch his ticket to the East Preliminary round, qualifying in March at the Raleigh Relays. Despite battling through illness for much of the outdoor season, the native of Scotland was able to find the strength to compete this weekend.
The junior raced in the third heat of the event, one of the fastest of the evening. He placed 15th in his heat and finished 42nd overall with a time of 9:27.75.
"Obviously, Aidan is disappointed in his race," said Jeff Langdon, Belmont's Director of Cross Country and Track & Field. "Unfortunately, he was in the third heat which went out really fast and he was unable to sustain the early pace. We were very realistic going in since he was recovering from mono.
"It was a learning experience for him, which I honestly believe will help him next year. He is good enough in this event to take it to the next level."
Thompson joined seniors Stephen Gibson (Tuscola, Ill.) and Karly Hibbard (Edmunds, Wash.) plus sophomore Jessica Mattsson (Tierp, Sweden) as the representatives of Belmont Track and Field at this year's East Preliminary Round.
"I am super proud of all our athletes who made it this far," Langdon said. "Karly is a four-time qualifier. Stephen qualified on one of his last throws at the OVC Championship and the same with Jessica. Overall, these are great accomplishments by this group and for our program."