A-State's Pascoe makes NCAA steeplechase final

Arkansas State’s Bennett Pascoe (front, second from left) competes in the 3,000 steeplechase semifinals Wednesday at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore. Pascoe turned in the fastest qualifying time for tonight’s final and also met the automatic qualifying standard for the U.S. Olympic Trials by running the race in 8:31.79.

EUGENE, Ore. — A routine Oregon rain shower couldn’t stop Arkansas State’s Bennett Pascoe in Wednesday evening’s 3,000 steeplechase semifinal at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

It actually went well with the seven water jumps, which the Conway native conquered en route to a Sun Belt-record time of 8:31.79 that was good enough to win his heat and automatically qualify for Friday’s final. The time, which shattered his own school record by nearly six seconds, was the fastest in the semifinals.

The Sun Belt Conference champion now looks to add a national title to his résumé, racing in the final at 7:24 (Central) tonight on ESPN2. Tonight will mark the first time since 2017 (Jaylen Bacon) for ASU to have a men’s finalist on the track.

The championship final was not the only thing Pascoe qualified for, as his time met the automatic-qualifier benchmark for the U.S. Olympic Trials, held at the same venue later this month.

Pascoe cruised in the bottom half of the pack early on in the race before making his move in the third lap, posting the fastest third-lap 400 split of 1:06.99.

He remained in the middle of the pack before making another big move before the bell lap, taking the lead and closing with a split of 1:03.12 to edge Middle Tennessee’s Kigen Chemadi and take the heat.

In addition to Pascoe’s championship race, Eron Carter will step into the circle vying for a national title tonight as well, throwing the discus. Carter is slated to begin at 6:35 (Central) on ESPN3.