UW Health Sports Medicine 

Groce, Rucks advance at NCAAs

Groce_James_BT_Out_10_Blog.jpgSenior James Groce advanced to the quarterfinals of the men's 400 meters and junior Luke Rucks moved through to the quarters of the men's 800 meters for the Wisconsin men's track and field team Thursday at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas.

Both were forced to anxiously watch the scoreboard after their races, as neither was an automatic qualifier based on finishing position. Both earned the right to advance based on time.

Groce clocked in at 46.87 -- his second-best effort of the season -- to advance in the 400 meters. Sophomore teammate Kyle Jefferson's time of 47.10 did not hold up, however.

Groce was among the 20 athletes in the 48-man field that cracked the 47-second barrier, with the top four finishers each clocking in under 46 seconds. Texas A&M junior Demetrius Pinder was fastest overall at 45.39.

In the 800 meters, Rucks used a personal-best time of 1:49.07 to race his way into the quarterfinals. The performance dropped two tenths of a second off Rucks' month-old best of 1:49.27 and ranked him 12th-fastest in the field.

It also placed the first-time NCAA qualifier a step away from a trip to June's NCAA outdoor championships in Eugene, Ore. The top 12 finishers in Friday's quarterfinals will advance.

Rucks' teammate, junior Zach Beth, did not fare as well and missed out on a quarterfinals berth by finishing 28th overall in 1:50.00.