JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A mispronunciation of his name during the starting line announcements was not about to ruin Harry McFann’s race. The Columbia sophomore was locked in Friday night at Hodges Stadium in the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships East Preliminary Rounds. McFann kicked into high gear in the second half of his 800m NCAA quarterfinal to punch his ticket to the 2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championship final meet.

McFann took second in Heat 2 of the 800m quarterfinals, clocking a 1:48.78 to earn a spot in the NCAA semifinals June 6-9 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. His time was the ninth-fastest time of the quarterfinals.

”I was really nervous on the line and they mispronounced my name,” McFann said. “So that made me realize that some people thought it was funny that I was just standing there as they were putting people in their lanes. That’s when I was like, ‘Okay, let’s just do this.’“

McFann’s breakout sophomore year has been a work in progress and he is thrilled to see his hard work pay off with spot competing on the NCAA’s grandest stage.

”It’s pretty awesome,” McFann said. “It’s crazy thinking about where I was last year and where I am this year. Last year I didn’t even make the finals at Heps, and all of this is happening this year. Just making it to regionals, it was cool. As the season went on, I realized I actually have a shot at making it to nationals. Making it a reality is just so awesome.”

Teammate Brendon Fish took fifth place in Heat 3 of the 800m quarterfinals. Fish’s time of 1:49.72 ranked 17th overall and first among all of the first-years competing in the quarterfinal races.

In the men’s 3,000m steeplechase, sophomore John Gregorek placed 33rd overall and 12th in Heat 3 with a time of 9:08.77. Junior Ben Veilleux ran in Heat 1 but did not finish the race.

In the women's 3,000m steeplechase, junior Mallory Anderson ran in Heat 3 but did not finish the race. Anderson was making her second career appearance at the NCAA East Prelims after debuting as a rookie in 2010.

Below is a schedule for Saturday’s events:

Saturday, May 26        
Time Event Round Columbia Entries Qualifying Mark/Rank
4:30 p.m. Women's Triple Jump 1st Nadia Eke 12.81m (20th)
      Queen Okeke 12.60m (42nd)
6:30 p.m. Men's 1,500m Quarterfinal  Kyle Merber, Mark Feigen
8:45 p.m. Women's 5,000m Quarterfinal Clare Buck 16:37.30 (45th)