Seven More Collegians Qualify For IAAF World Championships at USATF Outdoors
How good were collegians today on Day Three at the USATF Championships in Eugene, Oregon?
Here’s the Cliffs Notes version:
— USTFCCCA (@USTFCCCA) June 27, 2015
A whopping seven collegians in individual events booked their trips to Beijing on August 22-30 for the IAAF World Championships, with two more joining the relay pools for the 4×100 or 4×400.
NCAA Division I outdoor women’s 100-meter hurdles champion Kendra Harrison of Kentucky was a narrow runner-up in the short-sprint hurdles, while DI women’s hammer throw champion DeAnna Price of Southern Illinois was narrowly edged out of the top spot on the second-to-last throw of the day in her event.
Finishing third in their respective events were two-time DI women’s discus champion Shelbi Vaughan of Texas A&M, DI women’s steeplechase champion Colleen Quigley of Florida State, DI men’s 400-meter champ Vernon Norwood of LSU and DI men’s indoor pole vault runner-up Jake Blankenship of Tennessee.
Already a qualifier at 100 meters, Oregon’s Jasmine Todd took fourth in the long jump to also punch her ticket to China later this summer. The United States was allotted four World Championships berths in that event, thanks to reigning Olympic and World Champion Brittany Reese earning a bye as the reigning champ.
Should Todd ultimately decide to focus exclusively on the 100, that would open up a spot for fifth-place Sha’Keela Saunders of Kentucky.
While they didn’t qualify individually on Saturday, three-time NCAA Division II women’s outdoor 400-meter champ Quanera Hayes of Livingstone and 2015 NCAA DI outdoor men’s 400-meter runner-up Marcus Chambers both joined the 4×400 relay pool by virtue of top-six in their 400-meter events.
Women’s 100-Meter Hurdles – Kendra Harrison, Kentucky
The Wildcat senior won both the NCAA indoor 60-meter hurdles and outdoor 100-meter hurdles titles this year, and came within .01 of adding a USATF Outdoor title to that 2015 resume. She ran 12.56 (-0.m/s wind), losing out to Dawn Harper-Nelson – the 2008 Olympic gold medalist and 2012 silver medalist – in 12.55 at the head of a blanket finish.
She may have been just .01 away from the national title, she was also just .04 from missing Team USA altogether, a fate shared by 2010 Bowerman Trophy winner Queen Harrison (no relation) and 2015 world No. 2 Jasmin Stowers.
She ran neck-and-neck with Harper-Nelson, world-leader Sharika Nelvis (third-place, 12.59), Queen Harrison and Stowers throughout the entire race.
Kendra Harrison, who ran a 12.59 for the third-fastest time in the semifinals earlier in the day – did not contest the 400-meter hurdles prelims that kicked off in between the 100H semifinals and finals. She was ranked No. 2 in the world in that event.
Women’s Hammer Throw – DeAnna Price, Southern Illinois
Price was the surprise winner at the NCAA Championships two weeks ago, so it should have been no surprise that she was in contention in Eugene once again on the national stage. What was surprising was how quickly and decisively she took the lead.
The junior heaved 237-2 (72.30m) on her second attempt to set the tone early, laying claim to the fourth-best throw ever by a collegian, in or out of the collegiate season. That mark withstood assault for the next three rounds, before 2012 USATF champ Amber Campbell just barely topped it in the sixth round with a mark of 237-5 (72.36m).
Price was forced to immediately mount a response on her final attempt, but could only muster a throw of 228-1 (69.53m).
Women’s Steeplechase – Colleen Quigley, Florida State
With 400 meters to go in the final, it was déjà vu all over again: 2015 NCAA Champ Quigley was shoulder-to-shoulder with 2014 NCAA Champion Leah O’Connor of Michigan State. This time, though, it wasn’t the NCAA title at stake; the two were running third and fourth and battling for that third Team USA berth to the World Championships.
Both simultaneously leapt for the final water jump, but O’Connor’s heel slipped on the barrier and sent her tumbling into the water pit. Free of the former champ and her potent NCAA indoor-mile-title speed, Quigley went on to finish third in a career-best 9:24.92 and secure her berth to Beijing; O’Connor was fourth in a career-best 9:31.03 despite the fall.
Men’s 400 Meters – Vernon Norwood, LSU
The 2015 NCAA indoor and outdoor 400-meter champ Norwood showed that he’s a force to be reckoned with not only at the collegiate level, but also on the national stage, finishing third in 44.80.
Coming onto the homestretch as part of a cluster of runners all separated by fractions of a second, winner David Verburg and reigning world champion LaShawn Merritt began to pull away from the group. Norwood was the lone runner able to shift gears in response to the big move, and the LSU senior actually looked to be closing on the two leaders in the final meters of what was his last race in an LSU uniform.
After dipping below 45 seconds for the first time in the semifinals yesterday, Oregon sophomore Marcus Chambers finished sixth in 45.38 to add himself to the World Championships 4×400 relay pool.
Women’s Discus – Shelbi Vaughan, Texas A&M
The two-time NCAA Division I discus champ will make her senior Team USA debut this August after finishing third in her signature event on Saturday with a second-attempt heave of 199-4 (60.76m).
She toped 190 feet on three of her four throws and faced little drama throughout the afternoon following that second-round effort. The closest anyone would get was another collegian in Kelsey Card of Wisconsin, who went – in reverse order – 197-4 (60.16m) and 197-0 (60.06m) on her final two throws – both of which were career-bests.
Both Vaughan and Card – the NCAA discus (and shot put) runner-up – will be back as seniors in 2016.
Men’s Pole Vault – Jake Blankenship, Tennessee
After finishing runner-up at the NCAA Indoor championships this winter with a career-best vault of 19-¼ (5.80m), Blankenship had a disappointing NCAA Outdoors in Eugene, taking sixth with a height 40 centimeters inferior.
He turned things around on Saturday in a big way, clearing 18-4½ (5.60m) on his first attempt to secure third-place honors at the USATF Championships. He made each of his first two heights (5.40m and 5.50m) on second attempts before that one-try make 10 centimeters higher. He, eventual winner Sam Kendricks and former World Champion Brad Walker all passed to 18-8¼ (5.70m), where he suffered two misses before passing on his final attempt to 18-10¼ (5.75m). He would miss that, as well.
Women’s Long Jump – Jasmine Todd, Oregon
Still riding high from her third-place finish at 100 meters the night before – she for Beijing in a new career-best 10.92 to tie Jenna Prandini’s school record – the Oregon sophomore decided to have a career day in the long jump, as well.
She came in with a wind-legal career-best of 21-4 (6.50m). By the end of the afternoon, it was nearly outside of her career top-five.
After leaping 21-11¾ (6.70m) on her first attempt and 21-9 (6.63m) on her third to conclude her first-flight attempts, she kicked off the final with an enormous 22-5¼ (6.84m) to move to into fourth place.
In this particular event, fourth place was just as crucial as third in most others. Reigning world champion Brittney Reese – also the reigning Olympic Champ – received an automatic bye to Beijing, expanding the USA long jump team to four entries. Reese finished second, meaning that anyone in the top four was going to go to Beijing.
Kentucky’s Sha’Keela Saunders made a run at that fourth spot in the final round, notching a 22-1¾ (6.75m) leap to match her third-place leap of the same distance at NCAAs two weeks ago. NCAA champ Quanesha Burks of Alabama was sixth at 22-1 (6.73m).
All three are back next year.
Those seven join five more collegians – four, actually, since Todd double-qualified – who already secured spots on Team USA over the previous two days: Marquis Dendy of Florida (men’s long jump), Conor McCullough of Southern California (men’s hammer throw), and JaCorian Duffield (Texas Tech).
Three more from the previous two days will be chasing IAAF qualifying standards to make the team after finishing top-three in Sam Crouser of Oregon (men’s javelin), Keturah Orji of Georgia (women’s triple jump), and Hannah Carson of Texas Tech (women’s javelin). Rodney Brown of LSU (men’s discus) will be hoping his competitors won’t achieve their IAAF standards by the August 10 deadline, as he’s one of just two Americans who currently have it and would make the team that way after finishing fourth.
From Friday, both Jenna Prandini of Oregon (women’s 4×100 relay) and Beejay Lee of Southern California (men’s 4×100 relay) joined their respective genders’ relay pools.