Track & Field: Mahamed Sharif punches ticket to NCAA Championships 


Just a day after securing a silver medal at the Big East Conference championships in Chicago, Illinois, Mahamed Sharif made the trip to Cambridge, Massachusetts for the Last Chance Indoor National Qualifier at Boston University. As the name suggests, this would be his last chance of qualifying for the 800m at the NCAA Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico next weekend.  

Sharif has been steadily improving his times after a 1:52.09 season opener at the Dr. Sander Invitational Colombia Challenge back in January. This built up to the Big East Championships, as he ran a 1:48.83 clocking, losing out by just over a second to Villanova’s Sean Dolan. This was a vast improvement on his 1:51.31 effort at the same Championships last year, however.  

Normally after a championship weekend, athletes will rest for around a week, the reason why the track and field squad has withdrawn from their meet this weekend. However, Sharif traveled back from Illinois to Boston in order to take part in the final meet at Boston University before the close of the NCAA qualifying period.  

Despite huge amounts of pressure on this run and the fatigue of a weekend of racing in his legs, Sharif ran a massive personal record of 1:46.96. This two second personal record shot Sharif up to No. 13 on the national rankings. As the top 16 athletes are eligible to compete in Albuquerque, this was enough for Sharif to punch his ticket to the championships. His previous time would not have broken into the top 50 athletes in the country, highlighting the jump he made at the Last Chance Indoor National Qualifier.  

Now, Sharif’s attention will have to turn to the competition next weekend. Despite being on the slower side of the qualifiers, the gap between him and the top athletes is reasonably small. No athlete in the country has broken the 1:46 barrier, meaning that Sharif is less than a second behind Yusuf Bizimana of Texas, who will go into the NCAA Championships as the highest ranked athlete in the 800m. This event will therefore be incredibly difficult to call, meaning that he could easily surpass expectations by running close to his personal record.  

The fact that Sharif was not fresh for the meet at Boston University last week also suggests that he could go even faster without the previous days of racing. Sharif ran the heats and the final of the 800m, as well as a 48.34 split in the 4x400m relay. Running three races in one weekend is very taxing, especially at the speed that Sharif was running, which makes his mark in Boston all the more impressive.  

Sharif will be in action at 7:45 p.m. MDT on Friday, March 10 in the 800m semi-finals at the NCAA Championships, with the final taking place on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. MDT. 

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