Action Wraps up at Regionals
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Seniors Aarik Wilson and Tom Burns, along with juniors Stephen Haas and Sean Jefferson punched their tickets to the 2005 NCAA Championships in Sacramento, Calif., on June 8-11. The IU women advanced three to today's finals with the trio of junior Larra Overton and sophomores Lorian Price and Stacey Clausing just missing out on qualifying for Nationals.
For the men, Arkansas took home the Mideast Regional team title with 94.50 points and three individual accolades. Auburn was second with 58 points, followed by LSU (50), Wisconsin (49) and Tennessee (45). Indiana concluded the two-day regional in sixth with 40 points.
On the women's side, Tennessee won the team crown with a score of 82 points. LSU was second with a total of 61, followed by Michigan (42.50), Ohio State (41.33), and Arkansas (40). The Cream and Crimson placed 22nd with a total of nine.
The second day of competition got off to an exciting start with the women's 5,000m final. A pack of four runners came through at the bell lap, sophomore Rebecca Walter of Michigan surged past the pack on the back stretch and held off Samford sophomore Lauren Blankenship and senior Casey Owens of SW Missouri State to claim the title with a 16:15.68. Blankenship was second in 16:16.43 and Owens third with a 16:17.03.
Indiana junior Stephen Haas was the first Hoosier to earn a spot at the national championships. The Huntersville, N.C., product finished second in the 5,000m with a personal best time of 13:57.92. He topped his previous total of 14:12.73 at the Mt. Sac Relays last spring.
"I felt good. After the cancellation last night, we looked at the other region results, and I knew I just needed to be in the top eight," Haas said. "I wanted to put myself up in that position. I started bumping up to second. I felt good the whole time."
Michigan junior Nick Willis garnered the top spot with a Mideast Region record time of 13:54.14. He bettered the mark of 13:45.12 by Eastern Michigan's Boaz Cheboiywo set May 30, 2003.
Wilson was the second Hoosier to earn spot at Nationals with a fourth-place showing in the long jump after a leap of 7.52m (24-08.25). Sophomore Scott Mayle of Ohio claimed the event with a bound of 7.92m (26-00.0).
Senior Krista Miller of Southern Mississippi won the high jump with a Mideast record clearance of 1.81m (5-11.25). Miller bettered the height of 1.79m (5-10.50) established by three other competitors over the initial two regionals.
In the discus, junior Beth Mallory won her second event title of the weekend with a Mideast record toss of 57.80m (189-07.0). She topped the throw of Michigan's Melissa Bickett, 56.78m (186-03.0), set at last year's meet on May 28.
Akron junior John Russell captured the pole vault with a height if 5.51m (18-01.0). In the women's javelin, freshman Kara Patterson of Purdue won with a toss of 51.92m (170-04.0). Senior Garland Porter of Tennessee earned the top honor in the hammer with a chuck of 66.05m (216-08.0).
In the 4x100m relay, Arkansas claimed the men's title with a meet record time of 38.75, while the Tennessee women took the top honor with a 43.75. The Razorback men bested the mark of 39.18 set by LSU in 2004.
Overton finished just out the automatic qualifying spot with a sixth place finish in the 1500m after posting a 4:26.33. Senior Lindsey Gallo of Michigan won the event with a 4:18.40.
Jefferson became the third Hoosier to earn a spot at Nationals with a second place finish in the 1500m after running a 3:45.73. Arkansas sophomore Adam Perkins won the event with a 3:44.53, bettering the meet record of 3:45.45.
"I was hoping the guy from Alabama would take it out again, I figured he would, like he did yesterday," said Jefferson. "So I was going to settle into the pack and just relax for the first 800 (meters) and then try and move up within the next 600 (meters). The Arkansas guy (Adam Perkins) was just too far ahead. I really hammered the last quarter (mile)."
In the 100m hurdles, junior Raquel Washington of Southern Mississippi captured the title with a 13.34, while Price was seventh after she posted a 13.71. On the men's side, Tennessee sophomore Aries Merritt earned the 110m hurdle title with a time of 13.64.
Tennessee junior Patricia Hall won the 400m crown with a 52.79, while Clausing was seventh in a time of 53.63. Sophomore Miles Smith of SE Missouri was the men's winner in 45.16.
Freshman Kelly Baptiste of LSU posted an 11.16 and junior Steve Mullings of Mississippi State ran a 10.13 en route to their 100m dash titles.
Arkansas senior Aneita Denton was the 800m champion with a 2:04.75, while junior Andrew Ellerton of Michigan garnered the men's laurels in 1:48.79.
In the 400m hurdles, Illinois' sophomore Camile Robinson (57.44) and sophomore Michael Tinsley (49.05) of Jackson State were individual winners. Tinsley bested the meet record time of 50.01 set in 2003 by Victor Okorie of Middle Tennessee.
Tennessee grabbed another individual crown as freshman Cleo Tyson captured the 200m dash in 22.91. For the men, freshman Xavier Carter of LSU blazed to a meet and track record of 20.02.
In the penultimate running event of the evening, Michigan sophomore Arianne Field took home the 3000m steeplechase certificate with a 10:40.26 and sophomore Peter Kosgei of Arkansas grabbed the men's title in 8:38.55. Burns became the four Hoosier to earn a spot in Nationals with a second place showing in a personal best time of 8:41.44.
"The race, as expected went out fast," said Burns. 𠇋ing on our home track, it was kind of easy to know where I was during the race. I had family out here from Memphis, Tenn., and Northwest Indiana, and they were all cheering me on. I kind of had a lot to run for today."
Southern Illinois earned its first individual accolade when junior Amarachi Ukabam won the women's shot put with a toss of 15.52m (57-05.75).
Wilson earned his second berth to the NCAAs after he won the triple jump with a leap of 16.86m (55-03.75).
"I am happy with my performance. The whole goal of today was to go out and get a jump in early not really have to strain myself too much with this injury," said Wilson "It was good to come out and get one off on my first jump so I could sit down and get myself together for the next two weeks."
Tennessee will send its 4x400m relay team (3:31.47), while LSU will send its men's squad (3:03.30). Both team's claimed Mideast crowns.