Louisville, Ky. - Youngstown State junior distance runner Eric Rupe posted a personal-best time of 8:57.62 in the steeplechase on Friday night at the Cardinal Twilight at Louisville's Cardinal Track Stadium. Rupe's time moves him into the top 30 in the country in the event and more than likely lands him a spot in the NCAA East Preliminary Round later this month in Jacksonville, Fla.
Rupe entered Friday evening's meet with a best time of 9:05.41 which was last weekend and lowered the mark by nearly eight seconds in his last chance to reach the NCAA Preliminary meet. He joins teammate Austin McLean who is just under Rupe's effort at 8:57.59 as Penguins who should advance to the NCAA competition in the steeplechase.
Rupe has had a tremendous year in 2013-14. In November, he finished first at the Horizon League Cross Country Championships. At the Indoor Horizon League Championships in March, he won the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter runs and was second in the mile. At the Outdoor Horizon League Championships he won the 5,000-meter run, was second in the steeplechase and second in the 1,500 meters.
The Penguins expect to qualify Bobby Grace (shot put), John Seaver (shot put), McLean and Rupe (steeplechase), Jay Jakovina and Arnaldo Morales (high jump), Conner New (hammer) and Jessica Parham (javelin).
YSU senior Samantha Hamilton is in contention to advance in the 10,000-meter run following a career-best and school-record effort last night.
The field for both NCAA East and West Preliminary Rounds will be announced early next week.