NCAA Regional - Day 2 Recap
Columbus, Ohio - If Indiana senior javelin thrower Pat Miller had any doubt that patience is a virtue, that skepticism was erased Saturday afternoon at the NCAA Mideast Regional at Jesse Owens Stadium.
"My first two throws in the trials were terrible, and in my third throw, I barely squeaked into the finals," Miller said of the javelin preliminaries. "But every throw from there on out got better, and (the encouragement of) my teammates and coaches put me over the top on the last throw."
Fueled by the boisterous cheering of Indiana track and field athletes and coaches, Miller's final throw of 68.37m/223-4.5 not only set a new school record but also advanced him to the NCAA Track and Field Championships June 11-14. Miller became the fifth Hoosier field athlete to qualify for the nationals, joining Aarik Wilson (long jump), Rose Richmond (long jump), Ira Kharun (javelin) and Adam Judge (hammer throw).
The virtue of patience was not the only adage to which Miller adhered. The Bloomington native also proved that timing could be everything.
"Coming in, I thought it would take a 66 or 67-meter throw (to qualify)," Miller said. "I ended up throwing 68. It's amazing. This whole year, I knew I had it in me, so this was big. Hopefully, I've got one more in me in a couple of weeks."
Overall, the Indiana men's team finished eighth with 33 points, while the women were third with 60 points. Most importantly, according to both coaches, each team got some valuable big-meet experience.
"We had our ups and downs," men's coach Marshall Goss said. "Miller and Judge had great meets, and Aarik Wilson had the type of meet we knew he would."
"It was a very, very good meet for both the men and women," women's coach Randy Heisler said. "Rachelle Boone, Danielle Carruthers were tremendous, and Ara Towns stepped up big time as well. Audrey Giesler qualified in the steeplechase. That's great."
Two weeks ago, Indiana won the Big Ten women's 4x100 meter relay fore the fourth year in a row. After the quartet of Rose Richmond, Rachelle Boone, Ara Towns and Danielle Carruthers finished third in 44.31, the Hoosiers now have the chance to earn All-America honors in that event for the fourth straight spring.
Richmond now heads to Sacramento to compete in two events - the long jump and the 4x100. She is looking to capitalize upon the 11-day break between meets.
"Everyone ran well in the 4x100. I'm happy to move on, but I wasn't happy with my long jump," she said. "I have almost two weeks to get ready."
Carruthers placed second in the 100m hurdles with a time of 12.97. This marks the second time this season that she has broken 13 seconds in this event.
Indiana qualified two athletes in the women's 100m. Rachelle Boone entered the final with the top qualifying time (11.22), and she finished second in the final with 11.24. Towns also moves on in this event, placing fifth in 11.50.
Towns, a sophomore from Hampton, Va., is making her first NCAA outdoor individual championships appearance, and she is quick to credit the mentoring of older teammates like Boone and Carruthers.
"It's more mental than anything," Towns said of Saturday's windy, rainy conditions. "You have to compete regardless of the weather conditions. "Rachelle and Danielle have been a magnificent influence, always being there for me. Seeing how much they have improved throughout their careers helps motivate me."
Boone completed her Sacramento itinerary with a spot in the 200m. She won the regional with a stadium record time of 22.93. After a leg injury at the 2002 Big Ten meet sidelined her for nationals, she is relieved just to qualify.
"I look at it as a blessing after last year's injury," she said. "(In the 200), everyone got out well on the curve, and I just tried to stay with them. After the 4x100 and 100, my goal was just to get top five in the 200."
Aarik Wilson is a multiple qualifier as well. After advancing in the long jump on Friday night, the defending national runner-up in the triple jump finished third in the region at 16.28m/53-5. While Wilson was pleased with his performance, he was already looking ahead to June 11-14.
"I just wanted to come out and make sure that I was in the top five," Wilson said. "This was a fun meet, but I am ready for the really fun meet in a few weeks. I just need to work on some details right now - maintaining my rhythm and staying on top of my feet."
Audrey Giesler, the Big Ten's 3000m steeplechase champion finished fourth in the regional and moves onto nationals with a time of 10:27.54.
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