Racing against some of the world’s best runners, UC San Diego graduate Christine Merrill placed sixth in the first heat of the 400 meter hurdle preliminaries in a time of 57.05 seconds, the second fastest time of her career. She will not advance to the semi-final on Tuesday.
Merrill, competing for Sri Lanka, drew lane four in between 2011 world leader Kailese Spencer of Jamaica and American Queen Harrison, the 2010 Bowerman Award winner for the top NCAA track and field athlete.
In her first full post-collegiate season, Merrill won a bronze medal earlier in the summer at the Asian Athletics Championships and set a personal best time of 56.83 seconds, a Sri Lankan national record.
As a Triton, Merrill was the 2009 NCAA Division II champion in the 400 meter hurdles. The Bakersfield, Calif. native also holds school records in the 400 meter hurdles (58.04 seconds) and 400 meter dash (54.76 seconds).
Merrill is a member of the recently formed Movin Shoes Elite Athlete Development Program that provides support to post-collegiate track and field athletes in the San Diego area.