The steeplechase was originially supposed to start at 8:30 PM, but there was a long rain delay. First there was rain, then thunder, then lightning, and finally a tornado sighting (not near us, but near enough to move everyone inside). Eventually, after a three-hour wait, the meet resumed. Rich's race didn't take place until 11:30 PM.
There were two heats of the steeplechase. Rich ran in the second one. He needed to be in the top 5 of his heat to qualify for the finals, or have one of the top 4 times overall after the top 5 of each heat (sorry if that's confusing). Rich knew he could qualify for finals somehow, but he didn't know just how well he would do.
He was around 5th and 6th place for most of the race. Then, he started to pick it up in the last few laps. He pulled into first, backed off a little, then pulled back again around the last lap and a half. He stayed up there and finished first in his heat, with a new PR of 8:41.85, about 3 seconds ahead of the guy behind him. This means that he is advancing onto finals on Friday, and he has also qualified for USA Nationals in a couple of weeks (which is where you try out for the world team). Way to go, Nelly!
Rich's mom and I were yelling so loud for him, and I probably looked a little ridiculous with how excited I was. But I don't care! I was so nervous, and he was running so fast! The home stretch was amazing. Rich turned to look at his mom and me and gave us a thumbs up! I started to cry when he crossed the finish line. He was so nervous for this race, and it all paid off!
Rich's teammate Kyle won the first heat of the steeplechase, so BYU definitely stood out in this race! It will be a good race at finals with Rich and Kyle running together.
If anyone wants to watch the finals, they take place at 6:40 PM CT. They will be broadcast on the CBS College Sports Channel and online, too. This website has a link to the video feed if you can't get the race on TV:
Hopefully there won't be a three-hour delay this time.