NCAA Division I Championships, Day Three Notes
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Men’s 100 Meters
Ngoni Makusha of Florida State, a junior from Zimbabwe, won the 100 meters in a collegiate- and meet-record of 9.89, outsprinting Oklahoma’s Mookie Salaam (9.97). Makusha joins Carl Lewis, Jesse Owens, and Michigan’s DeHart Hubbard to win the 100 meters and long jump in the same championship.
“My coach (Ken Hardnen) preaches to me every day to run my own race and never look to the side,” Makusha said.” He tells me to just stay patient and drive and kick towards the end. I did that and it paid off. I owe that to my coach.”
“It certainly was a historic day with Ngoni doing what he did,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “The last few days I have been asked, ‘Is he a long jumper or a sprinter?’ And I always say long jumper. Well, that’s an awfully fast long jumper. Three years ago with Walter Dix we weren’t sure if we would see another decorated athlete like that. Well, here we are and he is just amazing in his first year doing both of these events together. It’s just a great thing for FSU. He won it and he doesn’t do the chest thump or is out there running around flaunting. He’s doing it for his team.”
Added Makusha: “This is just out of my imagination. To win both of these, I am just so blessed and thankful for my coaches and for Florida State. FSU has such a strong program and I want to always give back to FSU because it has given me so much.”
Men’s 400 Meters
Alabama’s Kirani James successfully repeated as the NCAA 400-meter champion in a thrilling race Friday night at Drake Stadium.
The sophomore standout claimed his second outdoor 400-meter title at first by just three one-thousandths of a second with a time of 45.10 from the outside lane to edge out Texas Tech’s Gil Roberts for the title. However, upon review judges ruled that Roberts stepped out of his lane on the final turn and disqualified him. Florida’s Tony McQuay was awarded second place with a time of 45.14
“It was a very close finish and there were a lot of question marks and tense moments as we waited for the results,” James said. “When they flashed the final results on the board, I was ecstatic and happy that I could pull off such a feat. It’s always great to accomplish something like this. I ran and competed with a great group of guys and I’m so happy to repeat as the NCAA Champion.”
James’ time was slightly off from his personal best time in a field that featured eight sub-45 second times . However, due to weather delays he also participated in this morning’s 4×400-meter relay and then had to face cool, rainy conditions in the championship heat of the 400 meters in addition to a less than desirable lane assignment.
“It happens and you can’t control things like that,” James said of those adversities. “I’m glad I was ready and prepared to deal with that and control what I could control. I was running blind and just trying to control my race and finish strong.”
UA head coach Harvey Glance echoed his pupil’s thoughts in the strategy heading into the championship heat.
“Out in lane eight he was running blind the whole race and couldn’t see the field, but he found a way to win,” Glance said. “My advice to him was to protect his first 200 meters and he did that to keep the rest of the field from catching up to him and then he battled the last 100 meters to find the tape. He’s a winner and a finisher and that’s what you need to be successful in this sport.”
Men’s 800 Meters
Sophomore Robby Andrews claimed his second NCAA title in the 800m Friday night at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Drake University. Andrews, the 2010 NCAA Indoor Champion in the 800m, won the title in a personal-best time of 1:44.71, edging UC Irvine’s Charles Jock by four-tenths of a second for top honors (1:44.75).
“This is probably the biggest win of my career so far,” Andrews said. “With the indoor win in 2010, the way I look at it is anyone can win one, but can you win two? I didn’t even come close last year; Andy [Wheating] won by over a second. So for me to come back from an injury and win here against such a tremendous field, nothing can top that.”
Andrews’ finish set a new Drake Stadium record, replacing Duane Solomon’s time of 1:45.23 from June 25, 2010. It was also one-tenth of a second shy of Mark Everett’s (Florida) meet record of 1:44.70 from June 1, 1990.
“It was all guts,” Andrews said. “I just ran my heart out. I didn’t come here to lose. I have so much respect for these athletes in the final, but I did not come here to lose.”
Jock took the lead from the beginning and pushed the pace through the first 600 meters. With about 200 meters left, Andrews turned to his trademark kick to push past the field and earn the individual victory.
“I was very nervous about swinging so wide on the last 150 meters,” Andrews said. “I was trying to be third or fourth with 200 meters to go, but I found myself dead last and trying to jockey for seventh. I did not want to be in lane three around the whole curve, but I was trying to catch guys that were 20 meters ahead of me. I just tried to stay calm and believe that it would come.
“Luckily for me, the last couple of steps I looked over and knew that I had it. It was wild and in total slow motion. I tried to play off the crowd; they pushed me through to the finish. Nothing could compare to that.”
With the victory, Andrews becomes the second Cavalier to ever win an NCAA title during the outdoor season, as former Olympic gold medalist Paul Ereng won the 800m in 1988 and 1989. He also joins Ereng as the only two-time All-Americans in the event, while he is the sixth Cavalier to earn multiple All-America honors during the outdoor season.
His new personal-best time of 1:44.71 stands second on Virginia’s all-time records. Ereng holds the record at 1:43.16 from 1989.
Men’s 10,000 Meters
Leonard Korir of Iona won the men’s 10,000 meters in 28:07.63, just shy of the stadium record of 28:07.40. Korir, according to Track & Field News, clocked a 56.3 final lap and a 29.8 last 200 meters to take the race from defending champion Sam Chelanga of Liberty. Korir was the NCAA’s indoor 5000-meter champion earlier in the year.
Korir won Iona’s first-ever outdoor NCAA crown in any event and it was the first outdoor crown for the MAAC since Thomas Freeman won the men’s hammer throw title for Manhattan in 2004.
Around the seventh lap, Korir, Chelanga and Arizona’s Stephen Sambu began to break away from the field of 24 in the 10k final. The trio jockeyed for first place position as they traded leads in a game of cat-and-mouse at the front of the pack. With about 1,200-meters remaining, Chelanga made a move to try and breakaway. Korir was up to the challenge as the two separated themselves from Sambu. As the two continued to lead the pack, it was Korir’s turn to try and separate himself from his competitor with about 800-meters left. Chelanga held tough though and kept up with Korir until the back stretch when the Iona harrier positioned himself for his second national championship. Korir’s final 400-meter split was an incredible 56.18.
Korir’s time of 28:07.63 was the second fastest time in Iona history with only his own NCAA qualifying time of 27:29.40 at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational being better. He was just .23 off the Drake Stadium record set in 1980 and just over six seconds off the NCAA Championship record set 32 years ago by UTEP’s Suleiman Nyambui.
Chelanga finished the event in 28:12.18 while Sambu was third in 28:19.61. Iona junior Alexander Soderberg finished in 30:04.95, his third fastest 10k time in his career in New Rochelle.
After becoming Iona’s first-ever national champion in the 5k indoor event in March, Korir has won Iona’s first-ever outdoor NCAA crown.
Men’s 400 Hurdles
Jeshua Anderson of Washington State, a senior from Woodland Hills, Calif., won the 400 hurdles in 48.56, finishing strong with a wide margin ahead of second-place Amaechi Morton (49.08).
Anderson, from Woodland Hills, Calif., came into the competition with the national-leading and fifth-best intermediate hurdles time in the world this year of 48.13 seconds with only one man, South Africa’s L.J. vanZyl having run faster.
In the NCAA final race Friday evening, the soft-spoken Cougar senior took the lead from the starting gun and motored through the ten hurdles with his trademarked smooth and consistent pace, easily out-distancing Morton in the final sprint to the line. The four-time Pacific-10 Conference 400m hurdles champion, Anderson won his first NCAA title in 2008 as a freshman and repeated in 2009 but was the NCAA runner-up in 2010.
Anderson spoke with former Cougar volunteer assistant coach, decathlon world champion and Olympian Dan O’Brien immediately after the race for the television broadcast and said, “The big thing was to stay focused. Last year we did a little different training. I came here focused. The track was wet and there was the delay, but I’m blessed with the time and thankful for another title. I wanted to run faster but within the conditions, I’m thankful.”
“Jeshua wasn’t bothered by the rain delay probably because the same thing happened to him at the US Junior Championships (in 2008 at Columbus, Ohio) his freshman year,” Cougar hurdles coach Mark Macdonald said. “He isn’t really fazed by this kind of thing probably because he knows he’s better at recovering and warming up faster than anybody else. He was not rattled at all, just confident the whole time. The entire week he was very professional in how he handled the wind of the qualifying round and then the wet conditions today. The past few weeks he’s had the added pressure of agents telling him that another NCAA win would mean so much money for his professional career. And he did a great job of managing that factor too.”
Only four men have won four NCAA titles in the same event and now 44 men have won an NCAA Championships event three times. Anderson joins former Washington State greats and three-time winners Gerry Lindgren (three-mile run 1966-67-68, and six-mile run 1966-67-68), John van Reenan (discus 1968-69-70), and John Ngeno (six-mile run 1974-75-76). Two men have won the NCAA intermediate hurdles three times: Ralph Mann of BYU (1969-70-71) and Danny Harris of Iowa State (1984-85-86). Mann was a double Cougar: at BYU as an undergraduate and he received his doctorate degree in biomechanics at Washington State in 1976, later authoring instructional books about sprinting, hurdling and golf.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to have Jeshua Anderson on our track and field team for the past four years,” WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. “He exemplifies everything we want from a student-athlete. I’m happy for Mark Macdonald and the work that he’s put in with Jesh to get him to this point. I look forward to watching Jesh in the Olympic Games hopefully.”
Hughes, the 2010 national titlist in the event, entered the meet as the No. 1 seed with a season-best time of 8:35.74, a mark he used to win the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds. After winning the semifinal race on June 8, Hughes kept form, bolting out of the gate and taking a lead that he would never relinquish. The Oshawa, Ontario, native crossed the finish line in a personal best and stadium-record time of 8:24.87, also shattering the school mark that he used to win last year’s national title by nearly 10 seconds.
With the win, he becomes the school’s second repeat national champion – first on the men’s side and first in an outdoor event – after D’Ana McCarty achieved the feat by capturing back-to-back indoor weight throw national titles.
“I had two goals going into this race: win again and try to get the Canadian ‘B’ Standard to make the World Team for Canada. I got the ‘B’ Standard, and this is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I tried not to think about defending my title, but it’s kind of hard not to do that. It’s just a great feeling.”
In order to run for the Canadian World Team, Hughes must hit the ‘B’ Standard again (8:32) or reach the ‘A’ Standard (8:24). He will attempt the feat from June 22-25 at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Men’s High Jump
Kanas State’s Erik Kynard flew higher than any of his competition to win the fourth outdoor men’s high jump NCAA title in school history.
Kynard shined even in the steady rain that felt throughout most of the high jump competition. Following a brief weather delay, the field quickly began to fall before it was only Kynard and Ricky Robertson of Ole Miss. The pair came into the meet ranked first and second, respectively, and put on a good show for the fans.
The two were the only jumpers to clear 7-3.75, each doing so on their first attempts. Then, Kynard jumped 7-5.00 on his first leap. Robertson struggled but was able to get over the bar on his third and final chance. After Kynard cleared 7-6.00 on his second attempt, Robertson failed to get over the bar and Kynard became the latest Wildcat to bring a title back to High Jump U.
“I finished sixth last year, so that in itself was a lot of motivation coming into this meet,” Kynard said. “I worked hard, but I wasn’t very happy with how I jumped today. I’ve been very consistent throughout the season, but it was very slick out there today and that made it a bit more difficult. I told coach I was going to blow up every bar today, and I did that until I got to 2.29 meters. That was my first miss of the day, but I blew it up after that.”
Men’s Long Jump
Final Result (3:05 p.m.)
After an almost 19-hour delay, only four jumps remained to conclude the men’s long jump. Ngoni Makusha (Florida State) and Damar Forbes (LSU) passed their final attempts, while Marquise Goodwin (Texas) recorded a non-improving mark and Will Claye (Florida) fouled. Unfortunately, it was an anti-climatic, four-minute finish to what was a thrilling competition.
Makusha’s winning mark of 27-6¾ (8.40m) is the best jump in meet history since Walder’s 1993 meet record of 28-0 (8.53m).
Ngoni Makusha won the NCAA outdoor crown in the men’s long jump for the third time in his career (also 2008 and 2009). Arkansas’ Erick Walder (1992-93-94) and Iowa’s Edward Gordon (1929-30-31) are the only others in NCAA history to win three outdoor crowns in the event.
Men’s Shot Put
Arizona State’s Jordan Clarke was the victor.
Clarke, the most steady and consistent competitor in the event on the day, had five throws measured with two being good enough to win his first national title and give ASU the men’s outdoor shot put crown for the third year in a row after Ryan Whiting won the last two. In a dry ring, Clarke hit a mark of 19.53m (64-01.00) to take the lead through the first of two flights of action. Following a weather delay, the second flight competed and Clarke was still the overall leader. With the throwing circle wet, Clarke continued to improved and hit a mark of 19.75m (64-09.75) in the fifth round and claim the title with the fifth-best mark in school history. A three-time All-American in the shot put, Clarke gave ASU its sixth men’s shot put title in the past eight NCAA meets as Whiting won five times prior.
Final Result (11:45 a.m)
Michael Morrison is the first in California history to win the men’s decathlon. For the Pac-10, it extends their conference stranglehold on the event as the league has now captured the past six NCAA crowns, an all-time best streak. California has now captured four total titles in the event (last was Bevan Hart in 2000) and is now tied for second-most among all schools in the category (BYU, 6).
Duke’s Curtis Beach clocked 3:59.13 in the event’s final discipline, the 1500 meters, to shatter the previous collegiate and meet record (4:04.11, Joe Detmer, Wisconsin, 2004). Beach’s run was also the second-fastest in world history for a decathlon 1500 meters (3:58.7h, Robert Baker, 1980).
Morrison broke the Cal mark of 8,007 set by Chris Huffins during his run to the NCAA title in 1993. The other Bears to finish first in the grueling 10-event competition are Ed Miller, now Morrison’s decathlon coach at Cal, in 1976 and Bevan Hart in 2000. In fact, starting with Miller’s championship, four of the past seven Golden Bear men to win an NCAA outdoor title have done so in the decathlon.
“Mike came to Cal to win an NCAA title,” director of track & field Tony Sandoval said of Morrison, who transferred to Cal from Florida before his junior year. “He and coach Miller dedicated everything to win. It all came to fruition today. One thing I know about Mike is that he is a pressure person. He set a series of PRs, knowing he had to do it to win. He responded when the pressure was on.”
After having Thursday’s events halted due to severe storms, action in resumed on Friday morning with the completion of the javelin. Morrison set a PR in his first attempt Thursday with a mark of 198-4 before the rains came. On Friday, he threw over 190 feet twice more, but did not improve. Still. Morrison placed third in the field with 745 points in the event, and he surged past Clemson’s Miller Moss into first place with 7,408 points to Moss’s 7,345 with just the 1500 meters left.
In the 1500 meters, Morrison again established a lifetime best, finishing in 4:35.35. He held off Duke freshman Curtis Beach, who completed the 1500 in 3:59.13 and finished with 8,084 points.
Morrison is the 36th NCAA track & field champion in school history.
Women’s 100 Meters
Candyce McGrone of Oklahoma, a sophomore from Indianapolis, Ind., won the 100-meter dash in 11.08, nudging out LSU sophomore Kimberlyn Duncan (11.09).
For Oklahoma, it was their second women’s title of the weekend as Brittany Borman took the javelin title. The Big 12 has now won two-straight and seven-overall titles in the 100 meters, tied for second-most among leagues.
Using a strong start and an even stronger finish, McGrone raced away from the field and finished with a time of 11.08, shattering her own Oklahoma record of 11.17 in the process. McGrone entered the meet ranked No. 14 nationally and was the lowest-ranked athlete in the final. LSU’s Kimberlyn Duncan was second at 11.09 as TCU’s Jessica Young took third with 11.14.
Despite the ranking, the Indianapolis native had experience against the field, entering the final with a 6-0 head-to-head record against other athletes in the field. McGrone credited the ranking and the fact some score projections did not have the junior projected to score any team points for motivation.
“I had a chip on my shoulder coming into the race and I felt like I was going to win when I was warming up. I like being the underdog, it feels great to shock everyone,” said McGrone. “I just wanted to execute my race and I knew that I had to get a great start. I really just blanked out when I got into the blocks. I came out well and finished strong. I don’t even feel like I’ve won yet.”
The win by McGrone is just the eighth women’s national title in OU history, four each during indoor and outdoor, and the first ever sprints national title by an Oklahoma athlete. With McGrone and Borman’s wins, the Oklahoma women’s program won two NCAA titles at the same meet for the first time in program history.
Women’s 800 Meters
Oregon’s Anne Kesselring won the title in 2:02.15.
Kesselring made a bold move with 100 meters remaining and had just enough left at the line to win the women’s 800 meters by the narrowest of margins over Oklahoma State’s Natalja Piliusina.
Sitting in third around the final turn, Kesselring went all out with 100 meters remaining to escape being trapped on the rail and barreled past Tennessee’s Chanelle Price. Kesselring then had just enough left to hold off a hard charge from Piliusina at the line. The Nurnberg, Germany, native finished in 2:02.15, with Piliusina second at 2:02.16.
“I’m just so happy,” said Kesselring. “Coming off the turn, I was a little boxed in, but I knew I had to make a move and it worked out.”
Kesselring joins Rebekah Noble as the only 800 meter NCAA champions in school history. Kesselring’s time was a personal best and the fifth fastest in school history.
Women’s 5000 Meters
In a star-studded field full of familiar faces senior Sheila Reid (Newmarket, Ont.) left the leading pack of runners in her wake with less than 200 meters left and raced across the finish line as the national champion in the 5000 meters at Drake Stadium in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Friday night. This is the third national title for Reid and goes along with her crowns in cross country and in the indoor distance medley relay. Reid is not done yet at the national championship meet, either, as she is one of 12 competitors in the finals of the 1500 meters on Saturday afternoon.
The winning time for Reid was 15:37.57 in just her third collegiate 5000 meters race. She is the third Villanova athlete to win the outdoor 5000 meters national title, joining three-time champion Jennifer Rhines (1994, 1995, 1996) and 1999 national championCarrie Tollefson. Mimic crossed the finish line in 15:55.09.
“The Villanova tradition is so enormous and, at times, daunting,” Reid said. “I am constantly striving to make Villanova proud and to do right by the name. There have been so many wonderful women that came before me and they have gone on to do such amazing things. I am just trying to pace myself, train smartly and get up for the big races.”
The race went out with a fast pace and the leading pack remained tight throughout. With 3000 meters gone by Reid moved from her middle-of-the-pack position on the rail to the outside and jostled for position among the leaders. She moved up to second place with three laps remaining and at that point was trailing Jordan Hasay of Oregon while holding a slim lead on Stanford’s Kathy Kroeger as well as Emily Infeld of Georgetown.
When the leaders started the final lap Hasay remained in front with Reid in second and Infeld third. That was how they stayed until the final 200 meters when Reid exploded into her final kick and pulled away for a clear shot at the national title.
“I was just sidling up on Jordan (with 200 meters to go) and kind of testing her to see what she had,” Reid said. “She wasn’t quite responding so I just decided to go for it. It was kind of dangerous and I had some apprehensions doing it because she has caught me on the curve before but it worked out. I also had Emily on my shoulder which was a very familiar feeling. I feel awesome now that it is over.”
Infeld wound up in second place and was 0.66 seconds behind Reid with a time of 15:38.23, while Abbey D’Agostino of Dartmouth was third (15:40.69) and Hasay fourth (15:41.00). Rounding out the top eight scorers in the race were Kroeger (15:45.55), Megan Goethals of Washington (15:47.79), Emily MacLeod of Michigan State (15:48.20) and Aliphine Tuliamuk of Wichita State (15:51.37).
“When you get into these big races Sheila needs to be so relaxed and calm to allow herself to have that final kick at the end,” Villanova head coach Gina Procaccio said. “Sheila did her job in tonight’s race and she did it perfectly. She didn’t panic when she was towards the back at the beginning of the race and she slowly worked her way up to the front. I told her that she needed to be up in the front with three laps to go and she executed the plan perfectly.”
Reid and Hasay are the only athletes at this weekend’s national championship that are doubling up in the finals of both the 1500 meters and the 5000 meters. In the semifinals on Thursday evening Reid had the fourth fastest time overall, less than one second behind Hasay in third place.
“I am looking forward to tomorrow now (that the 5000 meters race is over),” Reid said. “I can check this off my list and tomorrow is the third and final day. I am looking forward to it.”
While Reid was making her move towards the front of the pack during the second half of the race Mimic was making a similar and equally impressive surge not far behind her. Mimic was near the very back of the race for almost all of the first 3000 meters and was in 18th place with 2000 meters remaining. Her push through the middle of the pack was calm, steady and no surprise from a runner that owned the third-fastest time in the nation in the 5000 meters entering the national championships.
The trio of outdoor 5000 meters champions from Villanova in Reid, Rhines and Tollefson is a special group in that they have all been coached by Procaccio, who was an assistant coach for the Wildcats when Rhines and Tollefson won their outdoor crowns. In her more than 15 years as a head coach and assistant coach at Villanova, Procaccio has guided Wildcat athletes to 12 individual national titles.
“Over the years we have been very lucky to have such terrific athletes consistently be a part of our program,” Procaccio said.
Women’s 400 Hurdles
Ti’erra Brown of Miami (Fla.), a senior from Hampton, Va., took the 400-meter hurdle title in 55.65 (55.642), holding off a late charge by UCLA sophomore Turquoise Thompson (55.646).
Brown captured Miami’s first national crown in the event and the ACC’s second title in-a-row (Queen Harrison, Virginia Tech).
In 2010, Brown won the U.S. championship in the 400m hurdles and was the runner-up in the NCAA National Championships.
“I’m very proud of Ti’erra’s performance tonight,” said Director of Track and Field Amy Deem. “She has worked very hard for this moment.
“Now it’s time to re-focus for tomorrow’s 100m hurdle final.”
Women’s Pole Vault
Oregon’s Melissa Gergel was crowned as champion.
Geregel tied the NCAA meet record by clearing 14-7.25/4.45m to win. Tina Sutej of Arkansas also cleared that height, but Gergel took the crown based on fewer misses. In her vault series, Gergel had first attempt clearances at 13-1.5, 13-5.5 and 13-9.25, before needing a clutch third attempt clearance at 14-1.25 to stay in the competition she then took one attempt to clear 14-3.25, two jumps to get over 14-5.25 and then had her winning clearance on her first attempt.
“After I made 4.40 meters, I told myself, ‘I’m going to win’,” said the Glenwood, Ill., native. “It’s really just the perfect ending.
“Thinking of those team points was huge. I’m so happy I could deliver when it counted.”
Gergel joins Becky Holliday from 2003 as Oregon’s only pole vault champions. She also set an outdoor personal best in the vault with the second-best clearance in school history.
Women’s Triple Jump
Patricia Mamona successfully defended her national championship in the triple jump on Friday in front of 7,423 fans at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at rain-soaked Drake Stadium. She became just the second female in Clemson track & field history to win two individual national titles, joining Ring of Honor member Tina Krebs who won three in the 1980s. Mamona’s performance elevated the Tiger women’s team to a tie for ninth place after the third day of the national meet.
“Our kids fought hard in adverse conditions today, and they have throughout the meet,” said Lawrence Johnson, Clemson’s Director of Track & Field. “Kids were going back and forth between warmups and competition due to all the rain, but what they accomplished today was simply amazing.”
Mamona, who graduated from Clemson in May, had the top mark the entire way through the triple jump competition. On her second jump of the prelims, she hit a mark of 45’2.5″ that would have been enough to win the event. However, on her first jump of the finals following an hour-long rain delay, she was even better with a leap of 46’1.25″ to run away with the championship. It was the 10th NCAA track & field event championship won by a Clemson female.
“Winning meant a lot to me because I finally got to focus on the triple jump after competing in so many different events at the ACC Championships,” Mamona said. “When I hit the finals I was loose; it takes a while to warm up. It was my last competition as a collegiate athlete and I just wanted to finish well. I was looking forward to an NCAA meet record (14.07m). I was two centimeters off, but I’m still happy with my second NCAA title.”
“Patricia was amazing,” Johnson said. “We had a plan, and she executed beautifully. You couldn’t have asked for a better ending for her career, as she was able to defeat her nemesis Kimberly Williams of Florida State. Those two have gone at each other for years, and she was fortunate to get the best of her today.”
Women’s Hammer Throw
Final Results (5:30 p.m.)
Dorotea Habazin won the women’s hammer throw with a third-round throw of 223-7 (68.15m). Habazin is the first female in Virginia Tech history to win a hammer throw NCAA crown. For the ACC, Habazin captured the league’s second title of all time in the event (Jamine Morton, Clemson, 2002).
Habazin became the second Hokie this weekend to win an NCAA title, winning the women’s hammer throw with a toss of 223-7 (68.15m).This is now the second year in a row that Tech has taken home two NCAA titles at the outdoor meet.
Habazin’s victory, like Alexander Ziegler’s yesterday, was a close one, as second-place Jeneva McCall from Southern Illinois threw very close to Habazin’s best mark on her final attempt, falling only four inches shy. Habazin earned All-America honors in the hammer throw the last two seasons, finishing second last year, making this victory a stellar finish to the senior’s career at Virginia Tech. The Zagreb, Croatia native is now the fifth individual, the second woman, to earn an NCAA title at Virginia Tech. This brings Tech’s all-time total to ten titles, with half of them coming in the hammer throw. She is a four-time ACC Champion, three times in the hammer throw, and holds the school and all-time ACC record in the hammer throw at 224-3 (68.36m).
“It’s a great day to be a Hokie,” said Tech throws coach Greg Jack, who has coached all four of Tech’s NCAA hammer throw champions. “Dorotea set a goal this year to be a national champion. Mission accomplished!”
Ryann Krais of Kansas State dominated the women’s heptathlon claiming the lead after the second event on Thursday and never relinquishing it.
“What Ryann did was remarkable. She is such a competitor,” Rovelto said. “I was impressed with how Erik competed and handled himself. Honestly, I don’t think he jumped as well as I thought he was ready to jump, which says a lot, I guess, for how far he has come.”
Krais entered the day with the challenging task of doubling up in two of the most grueling events in track and field as she had the final three events of the heptathlon to go along with running the final in the womens’ 400 meter hurdles. The hurdles final came after the javelin and just an hour before running the 800 meters to close the heptathlon.
After posting the third-fastest time in the semifinals Wednesday, Krais bolted out to the early lead in the hurdles and led until the final straight-away. She was passed by Miami’s Ti’erra Brown and then UCLA’s Turquoise Thompson caught her at the finish line to give Krais the third-place finish in 55.89 seconds.
Krais then left the field behind her in the heptathlon 800 meters right out of the gates blazing through the first 200 meters. She clocked in at an impressive 2:12.63 to just miss out on her goal of scoring 6,000 points in the heptathlon. Krais claimed the third NCAA women’s heptathlon title in K-State history with the dominant victory with 5,961 points.
“I feel so good right now,” Krais said after earning her team 16 points with her performances. “The trainers have been doing everything for me. I feel bad because I think I’m making them do more running than myself. It’s just been awesome – an awesome experience.
“Again, my biggest goal here was to come and break 6,000. I didn’t do that and I’m going to say probably because of the javelin, but you’re never going to have seven great events. If you do, you are one lucky kid.”