WAVERLY, IOWA.--Connecticut College junior Bella Franz of Water Mill, N.Y. advanced to the finals in the 1500 meter run at the 2016 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championship today.
Franz posted a time of 4:34.49 to place fifth in her heat and eighth in the field of 22 competitors at Wartburg College this afternoon. She will compete in Saturday's final that will get underway at 2:35 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Connecticut College Head Track & Field Coach Ned Bishop was pleased with Franz's performance and is looking forward to Saturday's final in the Hawkeye State.
"Bella ran an excellent race strategically and she and I are both excited for her first time advancing to the final," Bishop said.
Franz earned the #12 seed in the 1500 meter run with her performance at the ECAC Championship May 19. She bested her own school record with a time of 4:31.96 to place second for the Camels.
"Bella has had a terrific series of meets this spring," Bishop said in advance of today's run. "She has been alternating between the 800 meters and the 1500 meters, and she has scored big points for the team in each of our championship meets. This will be the first time she has run the longer event at the NCAA's, as her previous three trips to nationals have been for the distance medley relay (2014 indoors) and the 800 meters (2014 outdoors and 2016 indoors). Her improvement in the 1500 meters has been truly significant, as she has run almost eight seconds faster this year than what she ran in 2015."
Connecticut College's cross country and track & field teams have enjoyed tremendous success this year. In the fall, Ashley Curran of Franklin, Mass., qualified for the NCAA Women's Cross Country Championship. This past March, Connecticut College equaled a program record with the most qualifiers for an NCAA Championship (five). Bishop and Associate Head Track & Field Coach Jim Butler traveled to Grinnell, Iowa with Bella Franz and the men's distance medley relay team comprised of senior Niall Williams of Scotia, N.Y, sophomores Christian Whitaker of Dolton, Ill. and Connor Trapp of Wilmette, Ill. along with junior Ben Bosworth of Dorchester, Mass.