Eastern Kentucky University senior Jamaine Coleman will race for a national title on Friday.

Coleman automatically advanced to the finals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Track and Field Championships on Wednesday night at Historic Hayward Field, finishing third in his heat with a season-best time of 8:40.06.

The top-five finishers in each heat, plus the next two fastest times, advanced to Friday’s finals.

Coleman led for much of the second half of the race, before cruising down the home stretch to take third. He defeated runners from Texas, Syracuse, Houston, Arizona and Kansas to earn a coveted spot in the finals.

Minnesota’s Obsa Ali won the first heat with a time of 8:39.1.

It is the fifth time in the last six years EKU has sent a runner to the NCAA men’s steeplechase finals. Ole Hesselbjerg reached the finals three-consecutive years (2013 to 2015), while Jakob Abrahamsen achieved the feat in 2016.

Coleman was the last man out of the finals at the 2017 NCAA Championships, finishing 13th overall and earning Second-Team All-America honors.

The steeplechase finals will air on ESPN at 8:54 p.m. Friday.

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