DELAWARE, Ohio – With a second-place heat finish and a school-record 53.16, York College senior men's track & field standout Ben Edwards qualified for Saturday's 400-meter hurdle finals at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Edwards, who entered the Championships owning the 17th-best time of the 19 participants, ran his qualifying race in the third heat. The talented Spartan senior raced out from lane three and held good position through the first turn. Edwards pushed down the backstretch before heading into the second turn on the tight Ohio Wesleyan track. Coming down the final straightaway, Edwards proved in good position to snag second but was neck-and-neck with Chris Lipke from Wisconsin-Oshkosh. That race for the qualifying second-place spot went down to the wire as Edwards crossed the line just .06 ahead of Lipke.

"He ran a near-perfect race," said Spartan head coach Erick Camodeca. "He did everything he needed to do to get into the finals. It was just determination, especially coming off that final turn. You can give up or give it everything you have. Ben definitely gave it everything he had."

Edwards, York's first NCAA-qualifier under Camodeca, will now prepare for Saturday's finals of his signature event. The 400-meter hurdle finals are slated to start at 3:55 pm.



PHOTO: Ben Edwards competes in heat three of the 400-meter hurdle preliminaries at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Courtesy of Noah Becker - Frostburg State University Sports Information Director.