March 11, 2005
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - One word comes to mind when describing Aarik Wilson's 2005 NCAA Indoor Long Jump title: FINALLY. After several runner-up finishes over the years, the Fallon, Nev., product captured his first NCAA title ever, posting an impressive personal best mark of 8.17 meters (26-09.75), which he reached on his last attempt. Wilson's win awarded the Hoosiers 10 points, which put the them tied for 10th-place after the first day of competition.
The redshirt junior showed no signs of emotion after his last jump, but deep down inside he knew it would push him into first place.
"I felt really good coming in," said Wilson. "It is just an amazing feeling. I have worked so hard and I would not have been satisfied with another second-place finish, like I am used to. I am just very happy right now."
Wilson, who came into the meet as the No. 1 ranked long jumper in the nation, followed in Sean Jefferson's footsteps, as Jefferson won the NCAA title in the mile just last year.
Associate head coach Wayne Pate shared Wilson's excitement and was glad to see the hard work paid off.
"We have been aiming for this since the day Aarik got to Indiana," said Pate. "It is so nice to see him finally win after all the hard work he has put in. He has trained hard all year long and I expected nothing less than an NCAA title from him. Everyone is very happy for him, but we also know he has another job to do tomorrow."
In the prelims of the men's mile, the dynamic duo of Sean and John Jefferson both advanced to tomorrow's finals. Running in the second heat, the Jefferson's knew all they had to do was run a 4:07 or less to get in. They both kept pace with each other during the race and stayed in the middle of the pack with the other competitors. In the final 200-meters, the tandem emerged into fourth and fifth with times of 4:04.21 for John, and 4:04.43, for Sean.
In other action on the track, sophomore David Neville barely missed the cut of the 200m, placing 12th overall with a time of 21.02. Only the top eight advanced to the finals. Neville raced in a very tough field that included Wallace Spearmon of Arkansas, who ran an Indoor World Record time of 20.10.
Jessica Gall was the lone IU female to participate in the meet, as she gutted out a 14th-place finish in the 5,000m. The West Lafayette, Ind., native, who came in as the No. 7 seed, posted a time of 16:37.42.
In the final event of the evening, junior Stephen Haas ran a solid race in the 5,000m, placing ninth overall with a time of 13:51.11. His performance earned him All-American accolades. The race went out at a slow pace and really came down to the final two laps, with Haas just missing out on scoring in the event.