Shaye Maurer is majoring in finance at Southern Utah, so it seems only appropriate she started to crunch numbers when asked about her chances to advance through the NCAA West Regional.
“Fifty percent of the people don’t do as good as their qualifying time, 20 percent do better than their qualifying time, and 30 percent will stay exactly the same,” Maurer said.
The junior and Cedar High alum hopes to fall into the 20 percent who get better as the regional begins Thursday in Austin, Texas. Maurer stands 28th in the national rankings in the 100-meter hurdles with a qualifying time of 13.56 seconds.
While Maurer is close to the middle of the pack, she won’t have to do much out of the gate to advance to the quarterfinals, where the top 24 times advance after Friday’s first round. As long as she gets to that point, Maurer will need to be in the top 12 to advance to the NCAA Nationals in Eugene, Ore.
The qualifying time that sits 24th on the list is 13.42, but the 12th-place time is 13.33, held by UTEP’s Brianna McGee. The top three from six opening-round heats plus the next six best times advance to the quarterfinals Saturday.
“It’ll have to be a good day,” Maurer said. “I’ll have to PR for sure to get to nationals.”
SUU head coach Eric Houle said Maurer’s redshirt year in 2012 has made a difference in her approach.
“The time off is always used to develop strength and overall conditioning and to give them another year that we believe will allow them to qualify regionally, and then nationally,” Houle said. “Her hurdles have really taken off and she’s improved dramatically in that.”
While Maurer is qualified for the 100 hurdles, she just missed moving directly to nationals in the heptathlon after finishing second in the Big Sky Championship meet.
Maurer also has additional help from former teammate and now graduate assistant coach Brent Springall.
“What Brent has done in developing her, especially on the confidence side, has been huge,” Houle said.
“That’s why she’s there, and that’s why each year she gets a better and better opportunity to make it.”
Not only is Springall Maurer’s coach, he has the dual role of husband as the couple got married in December. Maurer said they don’t mind that work on the track follows them home on a daily basis.
“We both love talking about track and we enjoy it so much,” Maurer said. “We have a good balance.”
Among the other women’s qualifiers for the West Regional, Jamie Smith and Kirsten Bradford will compete in the 5,000-meter run Saturday. Smith ranks No. 17 nationally at 16 minutes, 8.94 seconds, while Bradford is down the list in 46th at 16:31.70.
“If they come out with a faster time, we could see Jamie be our first girl under 16 minutes in the 5,000,” Houle said. “It’s a crazy performance.
“Sometimes there’s success achieved in the effort, not so much the wins and losses. (Jamie and Kirsten are) the two fastest girls in the state of Utah who got in to the 5,000. Where are all the other girls who were more heavily recruited?
“They may not win the national title, you can’t tell me there isn’t success in the effort. That’s the exact same attitude that Cam (Levins) was raised on here.”
While both set personal bests in the event, Houle said the Cam Levins effect will not be a carryover to this year’s group of regional qualifiers.
“For most schools, this is how life is,” Houle said. “You work, get a number of people (to regionals), then you start all over again. Just because you get in the house doesn’t mean you’re going to stay there.”