SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Faith Makau led the way for UC Riverside Track & Field on the first day of the 2018 NCAA West Prelims, hosted at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium. The senior from Modesto would open things up by running a 4:24.27 in the 1500m, earning her a spot in the quarterfinals this Saturday at 6:45 p.m.”Faith qualified on time and just ran an inspired race,” Head Coach Nate Browne said. “She got up near the front and ran with experience. Being here the past 3-4 years has been very beneficial in just making her feel comfortable, so we’re very pleased she has a chance to run for Eugene on Saturday.”Makau’s 4:24.27 in the 1500m was fastest mark of the year for UCR and the sixth-fastest time in heat three, which proved to be one of the more tightly contested heats of the event.”I felt pretty good. I just went out with the pack and I tried to race smart and patient,” Makau said. “Finishing strong, staying strong and staying close to the pack gave me the last second qualifier.”Senior Tayler Fleming would be the second Highlander to see action on Thursday, posting a long jump of 5.77m (18-11.25). That was good for 31st overall.Heinrich Van Niekerk would run a 1:53.64 in the men’s 800m, the 43rd-fastest mark of the day.Several hours after her qualifying run in the 1500m, Makau also ran in the 800m, the Highlanders’ final event of the day. Her time of 2:09.67 was good for fourth in her heat and 29th overall.On Friday, UCR will be back in action as Michael Kojin runs in the 200m at 7:30 p.m. and two-time defending Big West champion Weslie Pearce battles the field in the 3000m steeplechase at 9:00 p.m.