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SOU's Avila qualifies for spot in 1,500 final

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Eric Avila proved himself again Thursday at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships. The Southern Oregon University graduate's reward is a spot in Saturday's national 1,500-meter finals.

Racing in the faster of two semifinals at Sacramento State's Hornet Stadium, Avila placed eighth in his heat and eighth of 28 overall with a time of 3 minutes, 43.58 seconds. The top four in each heat, along with the next four fastest times, got through to Saturday's title race, which will take place at 2:14 p.m.

Leonel Manzano, representing Hoka One One, finished in 3:42.01 to win the heat with the top qualifying mark.

Avila beat out Oklahoma State's Chad Noelle (3:44.27) for the last at-large spot in the final.

Avila's personal best in the 1,500-meter race stands at 3:42.18, which he established at this year's Cascade Conference Championships.