Matt Molinaro finishes second in heat, advances to finals in the 800-meter run prelims on the second day of the NCAA III Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championships

Matt Molinaro finishes second in heat, advances to finals in the 800-meter run prelims on the second day of the NCAA III Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championships

By Tim Glon

| NCAA III Championships Site |

LACROSSE, Wis. — Senior national champion and 4-time All-American Matt Molinaro (Sterling Heights, Mich./DeLaSalle) finished second in his heat and fifth overall in the prelims of the 800-meter run at the NCAA III Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Friday evening at Roger Harring Stadium.

Molinaro finished in 1:50.99 to advance to the finals, which will be held on Saturday at 1:50 pm (2:50 pm EST).

He went to the front at the start of the race and stayed there until the final 10 meters or so, automatically advancing to the finals by virtue of his second place finish.

"I didn't plan to go to the front," Molinaro said. "I went out and it just happened to be in front. My first lap of 55 (seconds) wasn't particularly fast, but it put me in good position. The big goal was to finish in the top two and we got that done."

The race was delayed three hours due to a thunderstorm that rolled through the area just 30 minutes before the race was scheduled to begin.

Molinaro won the 800-meter run at the 2018 Indoor Championships and was an All-American in the 800 indoors in 2016 and 17 and at the outdoor championships in 2017.

On Thursday, Molinaro was second in his heat and second overall in the prelims of the 1,500-meter run in 3:54.03. He advanced to the finals, which will be held on Saturday at 12:25 pm (1:25 pm EST).