Northern Arizona University’s track and field team continued competition at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship Finals, and Caleb Hoover posted a strong showing in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase for the Lumberjacks.

Hoover came into this weekend with the 19th-best time in the field. The junior was a clear underdog but thrived under pressure. Hoover ran a personal-best time of 8:44.22 on the way to a sixth-place finish in his heat and sixth-best time overall to advance to Saturday’s finals.

“It’s really exciting to be able to make it through to the finals,” Hoover said after the race. “I wasn’t expecting it; I didn’t even bring extra running clothes for the rest of the week. I pretty much just treat every race like it’s my last.”

Hoover was strategic during the long-distance race. Knowing he was in the same heat as top-ranked Anthony Rotich of University of Texas El Paso, Hoover did enough to stick around the lead pack throughout the race.

In the final 300 meters of the race, the Missouri product turned up the intensity, moving from ninth to sixth place.

“I didn’t think I would be here,” Hoover said. “It will be fun to see what I can do. I’ll definitely give it everything I’ve got, so you’ll see me grimacing the entire way.”

Hoover will get today off to recover before competing Saturday at 2:57 p.m. in the finals of the 3,000m steeplechase.

Northern Arizona will be back in action today. Deante Kemper is slated to compete in the men’s high jump beginning at 1:20 p.m.

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