Scheetz, Sullivan Wrap Up Competition at NCAA Championships

DELAWARE, OH – Amherst juniors Ben Scheetz (Lancaster, PA) and Melissa Sullivan (Dallas, TX) wrapped up competition at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a pair of strong performances in the men's 800 and women's 1500-meter runs.

Scheetz, who earlier this year captured the NCAA's Indoor 800-meter crown to become the second Jeff in program history to claim a national title, fell just short of his quest for the men's outdoor  800 championship, placing second with a time of 1:50.79.

Separating themselves from the pack late and nearly neck and neck coming around the final turn, Scheetz looked to pass Fredonia's Nick Guarino on the outside lane, but the Blue Devils senior, who also captured the 1500-meter title earlier in the day, had just enough down the stretch, holding off the charging Amherst junior to take the 800 with a mark of 1:49.89.

The University of Chicago's Andrew Wells-Qu rounded out the top three, crossing the tape in 1:51.93, followed by St. John's (MN) Tom Hoffman (1:52.27), Wisconsin-Stevens Point's David Litsheim (1:52.72) and Wabash's Jake Waterman (1:53.25). Messiah's Tyler Newhook and Wheaton's (IL) Luke Vance (1:54.72) wrapped up the field of eight with times of 1:54.18 and 1:54.72, respectively. 

The program's lone All-America at this year's Outdoor Championships, Scheetz, who qualified for this afternoon's final with a time of 1:51.02 in yesterday's preliminary heats, has already distinguished himself as one of the Purple and White's most decorated student-athletes, holding the school's indoor records in the 400, 500, 600 and 800, while also setting the Amherst outdoor 800 mark earlier this season with a time of 1:48.71.

Sullivan opened the day by turning in the ninth-fastest time in the women's 1500, clocking in at 4:35.41, improving upon last year's 12th-place showing. Wisconsin Oshkosh's Christy Cazzola paced the pack with a Selby Field and George Gauthier Track record mark of 4:22.11, while Middlebury's Margo Cramer (4:23.15) and Wellesley's Randelle Boots (4:23.34) rounded out the top three. 

Wisconsin-Stevens Point's Claire Roberts also posted a track record time of 4:25.12 to finish fourth, followed by Brandeis' Grayce Selig (4:28.53), Washington's Liz Phillips (4:28.92), Franklin & Marshall's Sheena Crawley (4:29.46) and Ithaca's Kate Leugers (4:30.97).

Sullivan, who qualified for today's finals with a time of 4:31.04 in the second heat of Friday night's prelims, placed ninth with Whitworth's Tonya Turner (4:39.40), Keene State's Amy Knoblock (4:40.58) and Tufts' Amy Wilfert (4:42.45) rounding out the field of 12.