NCAA Track Championships Feature Two Equally Tight Team Races

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May 28, 2001

EUGENE - Two weekends ago, the Pac-10 title came down to a 4x400 battle between UCLA and USC as the Trojans lost the baton on the third leg en route to a two-point loss in the team race. The two LA school return for a rematch but must contend with a talented South Carolina squad that stands out in the longer sprints, hurdles and relays.

On the men's side, LSU won a wild and woolly NCAA indoor race in March by one point over TCU, and things should be just as exciting on the outdoor oval. Only once in the past 20 years has a men's team won the team championship with fewer than 50 points (LSU, 44, 1990), but this year the winner is projected to barely scratch the half century mark (50 points). Another darkhorse is distance-heavy Stanford, last year's champion at Duke with 72 points, with Arkansas, Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Baylor and Texas-El Paso also in the hunt for top-five finishes.




Men's Team Preview

Favorites: Louisiana State, Stanford, Tennessee and Texas Christian. LSU won a wild and woolly NCAA indoor race in March by one point over TCU, and things should be just as exciting on the outdoor oval. Only once in the past 20 years has a men's team won the team championship with fewer than 50 points (LSU, 44, 1990), but this year the winner is projected to barely scratch the half century mark (50 points). Another darkhorse is distance-heavy Stanford, last year's champion at Duke with 72 points, with Arkansas, Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Baylor and Texas-El Paso also in the hunt for top-five finishes.

LSU: The Bayou Bengals will rely heavily on scoring from the nation's fastest 4x400 relay (3:01.73), sixth-fastest 4x100 relay (39.34c), and a trio of nationally-ranked individuals - Walter Davis (long jump, third, 26-9 1/4w, triple jump, first, 55-11 1/2), Claston Bernard (decathlon, first, 8,024) and Alleyne Fracique (400, fourth, 44.99) - with other qualifiers in Robert Parham (400, 15th, 45.74), Peter Cooley (400, 16th, 45.84), Javier Nieto (hammer, 17th, 207-2)

Stanford: The defending outdoor NCAA champion Cardinal will again be a title threat and are forecast to score virtually all their points in the distances. Olympian and junior Gabe Jennings won the 1,500 (3:37.76) and mile indoors (3:59.46) last year, and this year he'll double in the 800 (third-ranked, 1:46.83) and 1,500 (fifth, 3:41.18). Don't be fooled by his rankings, he's capable of winning either and has aimed his training to peak more towards the championship season. Another pair of Stanford athletes are likely to improve on their pre-meet rankings -- Olympian and senior Michael Stember (800, fifth, 1:47.17, 1,500, eighth, 3:41.80), and junior Jonathon Riley (5,000, sixth, 13:46.06, 10,000, second, 28:33.71). The deciding factor, however, will be whether several promising youngsters can add the final scoring blow -- freshmen Donald Sage (1,500, fourth, 3:39.99), Seth Hejny (5,000, seventh, 13:46.81) and Grant Robison (5,000, ninth, 13:49.82) and sophomore Michael Ponikvar (high jump, five-way tie in third, 7-4 1/2). Other surprise points from the following quartet could add insurance to the Cardinal cause -- sophomores Milton Little (long jump, 19th, 25-7 1/4), Omer Inan (discus, 16th, 190-10) and Jay Goff (decathlon, 13th, 7428) and junior Chad Wassink (javelin, 10th, 234-0).

TCU: In March, Texas Christian let the NCAA indoor team title slip away, almost literally, because of a dropped baton in the 4x400. Because of the miscue, the second-seeded Horned Frogs quartet failed to score with their 12th-place finish, while LSU claimed the 4x400 title en route to a one-point team win (34-33). Outdoors this season, TCU sports a host of top-10 ranked sprinters in the 100 (Kim Collins, first, 9.99w, Lindel Frater, third, 10.11, and Davis Patton, ninth, 10.14w), 200 (Collins, second, 20.34, Patton, fifth, 20.42w) and 4x100 relay (first, 38.68). Other qualifiers include Eliud Njubi (800, fourth, 1:47.17, 1,500, third, 3:39.14), Jason Howard (triple jump, ninth, 53-5 3/4, long jump, 17th, 25-8 1/4), Abdul Rasheed (triple jump, 11th, 53-1 1/2), Reggie Harrell (110 hurdles, 14th, 13.73), and Kendrick Campbell (200, 18th, 20.69). Patton also ranks fourth in the long jump (26-7 3/4).

Tennessee: The Volunteers' sprint corps is equally talented - 100 (Justin Gatlin, fourth, 10.12w, Leonard Scott, fifth, 10.13, Sean Lambert, sixth, 10.13w), 200 (Gatlin, first, 20.29, Scott, second, 20.34) and 4x100 (second, 39.00). The Volunteers also will lean heavily on decathlete Stephen Harris (second, 7,804), with Jebreh Harris (800, eighth, 1:47.30), Leigh Smith (javelin, 11th, 232-10), the 4x400 relay (10th, 3:04.89), Camron Howard (long jump, 18th, 25-7 1/2), other potential scorers.

Note: Team scoring is based points awarded to the top eight individual finishers in each event (1st-10 points, 2nd-8, 3rd-6, 4th-5, 5th-4, 6th-3, 7th-2, 8th-1). Individually, athletes also receive All-America honors if they are among top eight overall finishers (regardless of citizenship) and any remaining finishers that are among the top eight American finishers (sometimes dipping into the qualifying semifinal round if there aren't eight Americans in the final.)


Women's Team Preview

Favorites: UCLA, Southern California, South Carolina: Two weekends ago, another heated 4x400 relay saw USC drop the baton and a two-point loss in the team race to UCLA for the Pacific-10 Conference title. The Trojans also seek revenge from last year's narrow four-point NCAA defeat to LSU (58-54, while UCLA was third at 47). The key to all three top contenders lies at least partly in the sprints and relays. UCLA is powered by a juggernaut field event corps blended with top-caliber sprinters. USC sports nice balance between the middle distances and field events, and South Carolina stands out in the longer sprints, hurdles and relays. Other schools in the hunt for top-five honors include last year's champ LSU, Arkansas, Georgia, BYU, Colorado, Clemson and Arizona.

UCLA: It's likely the Bruins' title to lose, who boast national leaders in the 400 hurdles (Sheena Johnson, 56.02), pole vault (Tracy O'Hara, 14-6) and shot put (Christina Tolson, 58-3 3/4). Other entries to watch with scoring potential include Shakedia Jones (100, second, 11.13), Tolson (hammer, second, 214-6), Chaniqua Ross (discus, third, 183-9, shot put, fifth, 54-3 3/4), Michelle Perry (heptathlon, fifth, 5,657, 100 hurdles, 10th, 13.17w, 400 hurdles, fourth, 56.23), Erica Hoernig (pole vault, fifth, 13-5 1/4), Ysanne Williams (800, ninth, 2:05.51), and the 4x100 (fourth, 43.64), and 4x400 (fifth, 3:32.76) relays. The Bruin army of entries also includes Adia McKinnon (400, ninth, 52.69), Lena Nilsson (800, 16th, 2:06.08), Tiffany Burgess (800, 17th, 2:06.13), Hasani Roseby (100 hurdles, 22nd, 13.40), Darnesha Griffith (19th, 5-10 3/4), and Heather Sickler (pole vault, 13th, 13-3 1/2).

USC: The Trojans feature both quality and quantity and return most of last year's talent, including top-ranked collegians Angela Williams (100, 11.09w, 200, 24th, 23.27) and Brigita Langerholc (800, 2:02.03). Other point contributors that are ranked nationally include Inga Stasiulionyte (javelin, third, 173-11), Aleksandra Deren (800, fourth, 2:04.18), the 4x100 relay (fourth, 43.64), the 4x400 relay (sixth, 3:33.17), Cynthia Ademiluyi (shot put, fourth, 54-10 1/4, discus, 19th, 170-2), Julianna Tudja (hammer, fourth, 206-9), Candace Young (100, fifth, 11.22), Kinsasha Davis (200, sixth, 22.98), Natasha Neal (100 hurdles, 11th, 13.19, 400 hurdles, eighth, 57.16), Tatyana Obukhova (triple jump, 10th, 43-2 1/4). Women of Troy that could boost the team's scoring hopes include L'Orangeril Crawford (shot put, 11th, 52-11 1/2, discus, 21st, 191-2) and Lucyna Ligaj (1,500, 20th, 4:22.77).

South Carolina: Ready to capitalize on a mistake by either LA powerhouse, South Carolina owns the fastest entry in the 4x400 (3:28.34), and three of the top eight seeds in the 400 thanks to twins Miki (first, 50.63) and Me'Lisa Barber (eighth, 52.57), and Demetria Washington (second, 51.28). In the 200, Miki (eighth, 22.99w) and Me'Lisa (10th, 23.07) could also add points, with Washington not far behind (14th, 23.18). The 4x00 relay (third 43.48) looms as another key contributor for head coach Curtis Frye and his Gamecocks, who were second as a team in the indoor NCAA's in March. Other Gamecocks to watch include Tacita Bass (heptathlon, seventh, 5,631, 400 hurdles, 12th, 57.31) and Jackie Madison (100 hurdles, 17th, 13.33).

Note: Team scoring is based points awarded to the top eight individual finishers in each event (1st-10 points, 2nd-8, 3rd-6, 4th-5, 5th-4, 6th-3, 7th-2, 8th-1). Individually, athletes also receive All-America honors if they are among top eight overall finishers (regardless of citizenship) and any remaining finishers that are among the top eight American finishers (sometimes dipping into the qualifying semifinal round if there aren't eight Americans in the final.)




Final Event Previews - Wednesday, May 30

1-7:30 p.m. - Men's Decathlon - Day 1

  • Events: 1 p.m. - 100, 2 p.m. - Long Jump, 3:15 - Shot Put, 4:30 - High Jump, 7:30 - 400Current world leader Claston Bernard, a junior from LSU, enters as the favorite (8,024) with his other score from earlier in the year (7,872) also topping all collegians. Tennessee sophomore Stephen Harris was fourth as a freshman at the NCAA Championships in 2000 (7,651), and this season scored 7,804 in April. Georgia junior David Lemen, a former Clackamas College product and the Washington native, is ranked third nationally (7,772 points) but had to withdraw halfway through the SEC Conference Championship in May due to a minor injury. Oregon junior Santiago Lorenzo trails in fourth nationally this season after taking fifth last year in his NCAA debut in 2000 (7,543). Clemson senior Andy Giesler (sixth-ranked, 7,619 in 2001) was 12th in the NCAA Championships last year. Among the potential leaders, Bernard is the likely first day leader with strong decathlon marks in the shot put (48-8 3/4) and high jump (7-0 1/4).

    3 p.m. - Women's Discus
    Preview: For much of the season, German national champion and Idaho senior Katja Schreiber led the collegiate list by more than 10 feet (192-6), that was until Illinois junior Gia Lewis closed within three feet two weeks ago at home (second, 189-6). Last year Schreiber finished fourth in the NCAA Championships (177-3), with the remainder of last year's top five placers now graduated. Colorado State senior and Canadian Liz Toman (11th-ranked this season, 174-4) also was top-eight last year in the NCAA finale (sixth, 169-3), as was Oregon sophomore Mary Etter (eighth and the top freshman, 166-11) who ranks 10th nationally this season (175-9). On a roll recently, Oklahoma senior Bambi Carson climbed to sixth last week with an automatic qualifying mark of 179-7 in the Big 12 Conference Championships.

    4 p.m. - Men's Pole Vault
    Preview: Texas junior Brian Hunter hovers above the nation with his 18-8 personal best from the Penn Relays in April. He looks to end an NCAA skid after no-heighting in the NCAA indoor finale almost three months ago, and also in the 2000 outdoor finale last year competing for Virginia Tech. Northern Iowa's Jake Pauli, a former pupil of Oregon coach Bill Lawson, ranks second outdoors (18-6 1/2), and won the NCAA indoor crown in March (PR 18-7 1/2). USC senior Dennis Kholev (third, 18-4 1/2) and Stephen F. Austin senior Adam Keul (fourth,18-4) were 12th and 15th last year outdoors at 16-10 3/4, and Keul moving to NCAA runner-up indoors (18-7 1/2) in 2001. Closer to home, Oregon freshman Trevor Woods, is tied for top freshman honors nationally with UCLA's Yoo Kim. A Coos Bay, Ore., native Woods owns a season best and NCAA provisional mark of 17-4 1/2 and is in a seven-way tie for 17th nationally. The NCAA pole vault winner can be tricky to predict as only once in the past four outdoor NCAA meets (Jacob Davis, Texas, 1999) has the top seed won (especially, since windy or off-weather conditions can greatly affect the outcome).

    5:30 p.m. - Women's Long Jump
    Preview: Seton Hall senior and Jamaican Nolle Graham paces the field with her windy best from three weeks ago (21-10 3/4w). Close behind, a pair of Mississippi rivals, Mississippi State senior Elisha Williams (second, 21-6 3/4) and Ole Miss senior Tisha Parker (third, 21-5 1/2) jumped their season bests in early April. Others to watch include Rice sophomore and Canadian Alice Falaiye (fourth, 21-4 3/4), Washington State senior and Swede Agneta Rosenblad (fifth, 21-4 3/4), and South Florida senior and Jamaican Kerine Black (sixth, 21-4). Among the aforementioned leaders, Black is the highest returnee from last year's NCAA finale (seventh, 20-7 3/4), five inches ahead of Falaiye (13th, 20-2 1/4). Williams was the highest placer in the 2001 NCAA indoor meeting (second, 21-7 1/2), followed by Falaiye (third, 21-4 1/4), Arizona's Brianna Glenn (fourth-ranked, 21-1 1/4, and 21-1 1/2w outdoors this year), Florida's Keyon Soley (fifth, 20-10 1/2), and Black (sixth, 20-10 1/2). Gator junior Soley initially made her name indoors in 2000 at UCLA as a surprise NCAA champ (21-4 3/4) and has jumped 20-9w this season.

    6 p.m. - Men's Javelin
    Preview: With a handful of elite collegians redshirting this season, Oregon redshirt sophomore John Stiegeler enters the favorite with four +240-foot meets on the season, including a national-leading 245-9 from the Texas Relays. The Ducks have won six national titles in the event, the most recent by Art Skipper in 1992 (248-7). Eastern Washington senior Ryan Cole ranks second nationally after a huge personal best in his last stop in Eugene at the end of April (244-7), narrowly edging Stiegeler (241-11). Northwestern State (La.) junior Latrell Frederick (245-0), Virginia junior Brian Kollar (243-6) and Harvard senior Chris Clever (242-1) round out an all-U.S. top-five - an uncommon occurrence in the event that often features Scandinavians atop the collegiate list, including wins by international athletes the past five years.

    7:50 pm - Men's 10,000 Meters
    Preview: Providence senior Keith Kelly enters the favorite when the national leader, William & Mary senior Matt Lane (28:28.97) withdrew to focus on his 5K match-up with Alabama's David Kimani. Kelly renews the Friars' Irish distance tradition and ranks second nationally (28:32.55) and was last fall's surprise NCAA cross country champion, thanks to a strong final kilometer surge. Stanford junior Jonathon Riley (third, 28:33.71) and Washington senior Dave Bazzi (fourth, 28:34.54) were a few ticks back of Lane in Palo Alto, Calif., in March. However, none of the leading quartet have raced the 25-lap event at the NCAA level, leaving Notre Dame senior Ryan Shay (fifth, 28:40.03) the highest NCAA returnee (seventh in both 2000 (30:54.65) and 1999 (29:55.78)). Oregon redshirt freshman Jason Hartmann ranks seventh nationally and tops among American freshmen, and seventh on the hallowed Oregon all-time list with his debut from March (28:56.06).

    Other Wednesday Events

  • 5:00 W 4x100 Relay - Semifinals
  • 5:10 M 4x100 Relay - Semifinals
  • 5:25 W 400 Hurdles - Semifinals
  • 5:40 M 400 Hurdles - Semifinals
  • 5:55 W 800 Meters - Semifinals
  • 6:10 M 800 Meters - Semifinals
  • 6:25 W 3,000 Steeplechase - Semifinals
  • 6:55 W 200 Meters - Semifinals
  • 7:10 M 200 Meters - Semifinals




    Final Event Previews - Thursday, May 31

    Noon - 6:30 p.m. - Decathlon - Day 2

  • Noon - 110 Hurdles, 1:15 p.m. - Discus, 2:30 - Pole Vault, 5 p.m. - Javelin, 6:30 p.m. - 1,500Preview: Current world leader Claston Bernard, a junior from LSU, enters the favorite (8,024) with his other score from earlier in the year (7,872) also leading all collegians. Tennessee sophomore Stephen Harris was fourth as a freshman in the NCAA Championships in 2000 (7,651), and this season scored 7,804 in April. Georgia junior David Lemen, a former Clackamas College product and Washington native, is ranked third nationally (7,772 points) but had to withdraw halfway through the SEC Conference Championship in May due to a minor injury. Oregon junior Santiago Lorenzo trails in fourth nationally this season after taking fifth last year in his NCAA debut in 2000 (7,543). Clemson senior Andy Giesler (sixth-ranked, 7,619 in 2001) was 12th in the NCAA Championships last year. The drama hits a climax on Day 2 as Bernard is apt to open strong in two of his finest events, the 110 hurdles and discus. But on the third event, the pole vault, the field will finally find Bernard's Achilles heel - the hulking Jamaican has a personal best of only 13-5 1/4, compared to Georgia's Lemen who qualified in the pole vault for nationals (but had to decline) with his 17-9 season best from April. Lemen could continue his stretch run with a javelin best of 214-4, and Harris a threat in the final event with his 1,500 best of 4:26.57. The three-time South American champ and Duck Lorenzo is steady in all events (the first-day 400, and the second-day pole vault and javelin are his best events) and will need mistakes from others to improve on his fourth-place seeding.

    3 p.m. - Men's Hammer
    Preview: The Eugene event favorite boasts an all-star field filled with top returnees from last year. Georgia senior Andras Haklits from Croatia won the 1999 title for Northeast Louisiana (243-1) and the indoor weight throw crown in 2001 for the Bulldogs (80-2). This season he leads the internationally-flavored ball and chain field by 19 feet with his personal best (254-9) from May and is ranked 20th in the world on May 18's weekly rankings. Utah State senior James Parker stands as the second seed (235-9) with his personal best from his recent conference championship, and was seventh in the 2000 Olympic Trials (221-2). Other event headliners include UTEP junior Janne Vartia from Finland (third-ranked, 232-6), USC senior Norbert Horvath from Hungary (fourth, 228-5) and Texas freshman Dylan Armstrong from Canada (fifth, 227-4). Going back to last year's NCAA finale, Haklits earned runner-up honors and is the top returnee (250-3), ahead of Vartia (third, 224-8), Parker (fourth, 235-7) and Horvath (fifth, 231-11).

    4:45 pm - Men's High Jump
    Preview: A mere glimpse at 6-9, 220-pound Weber State senior Charles Clinger confirms his status as the favorite, but so do the stats - the world leader in 2001 (7-8 1/2) and 3 1/4 inches ahead of of the next collegian. His resume doesn't stop there, either, after taking third in March's 2001 NCAA indoor champs (7-5) and fourth in the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials (7-5 1/4). Arkansas senior and Olympian Kenny Evans isn't ready to concede the title quite yet and claimed 13th for the U.S. in the 2000 Olympics (7-2 1/2). Head-to-head he bettered the Wildcat senior in Sacramento in last July's Olympic Trials (7-5 1/4) and the NCAA indoor meeting in March (second, 7-7). Outdoors in 2001, Evans is in a seven-way tie for third nationally, while Princeton junior Tora Harris ranks second collegiately at 7-5 1/4. Hayward Field faithful will turn up the applause meter for Oregon junior and three-time All-American Jason Boness, who roused the homefield crowd last year in the Pac-10 Championships with a school record and personal best (7-5). This year, he is on a late-season run, jumped a season best of 7-3 in the Pac-10 Championships last meet, losing in a jump-off to Stanford sophomore and Canadian Michael Ponikvar (season best 7-4 1/2).

    5 p.m. - Men's Long Jump
    Preview: Ole Miss senior Savante Stringfellow leads the field with his 27-6 3/4 best from the Texas Relays in April, and in his last trip to Eugene qualified for the 1999 World Championships with his USA Champs third-place finish (26-0 3/4w). Alabama senior Miguel Pate (second-ranked, 27-1 1/4w), LSU's Walter Davis (third, 26-9 1/4) and TCU senior Darvis Patton (fourth, 26-7 3/4) are other top contenders with Davis' and Patton's points critical to LSU's and TCU's team title chances, respectively. Davis is the top collegiate returnee from last year's Olympic Trials (third, 26-7), although Stringfellow was less than three inches back (fifth, 26-4 1/2). Outdoors on the college circuit last year, Stringfellow won the NCAA title by two inches (26-9 3/4), over ASU's now-graduated Olympian Dwight Phillips (26-7 3/4). Pate followed in fifth in Durham last year, (25-6) and Patton was eighth (24-11) - the only other top-eight returnees from 2000. Indoors in 2001, SEC Conference rivals Stringfellow claimed NCAA gold (26-6 1/4) narrowly over Davis (second, 26-3 1/2).

    6 p.m. - Women's Shot Put
    Preview: UCLA senior Christina Tolson is tied for the national lead Clemson junior Jamie Morton (58-2 1/2). Kansas State sophomore Rebekah Green leads the chase peloton but is more than two feet away on the national seasonal list (third, 56-0) she's probably the only legitimate challenger barring a surprise. Last year Tolson took fifth for the Bruins outdoors (53-7 3/4), with Minnesota senior Aubrey Schmitt (sixth, 51-7 1/4, and 51-9 1/4 in 2001) also top-eight. Indoors at the NCAA showdown in 2001, Tolson won handily by two feet (55-8 1/2), while second through fifth places were separated by 3 1/2 inches - Morton (second, 53-8 1/2), California's Dana Lawson (third, 53-7 1/2), Colorado State's Liz Toman (fourth, 53-6 1/4) and UCLA teammate Jessica Crosby (fifth, 53-5).

    7:50 p.m. - Women's 10,000 Meters
    Preview: Colorado junior Jodie Hughes has turned into one of the biggest collegiate surprises in 2001, leading the nation in the 10K (33:25.14) after an NCAA indoor crown in the 5,000 in March (16:08.61). BYU senior Tara Northcutt (Rohatinsky) is a close second in this year's national rankings (33:27.59) and won last year's NCAA crown (33:49.24). The list of three other top contenders within 10 seconds of Hughes includes Wake Forest senior Sara Day (third, 33:30.23), Texas Tech Leigh Daniel (fourth, 33:32.22) and Washington sophomore Kate Bradshaw (fifth, 33:35.51). Daniel was the 1999 NCAA champion in one of the meet's most memorable turn of events. Early on in her NCAA debut, a runner clipped the back of her shoe, enough so that in the following lap of the 25-lap contest, she stopped, removed her shoe then retied it and leaving a 100-meter gap on the event's other entrants. Never fear, Daniel smoothly reeled the field back in and rejoined the leaders shortly after the halfway mark, en route to a 2 1/2-second win over Northcutt (then Rohatinsky).

    Other Thursday Events

  • 4:30 W 100 Hurdles - Trials
  • 4:50 M 110 Hurdles - Trials
  • 5:10 W 400 Meters - Semifinals
  • 5:20 M 400 Meters - Semifinals
  • 5:30 W 100 Meters - Trials
  • 5:45 M 100 Meters - Trials
  • 6:00 W 1,500 Meters - Semifinals
  • 6:15 M 1,500 Meters - Semifinals
  • 6:45 W 4x400 Relay - Semifinals
  • 7:00 M 4x400 Relay - Semifinals
  • 7:15 M 3,000 Steeplechase - Semifinals




    Final Event Previews - Friday, June 1

    2-7:40 p.m. - Women's Heptathlon - Day 1

  • Events: 2 p.m. - 100 Hurdles, 3 p.m. - High Jump, 6:15 - Shot Put, 7:40 - 200Preview: A heated Big 12 Conference Championships battle two weeks ago in Texas produced the top two national leaders - Kansas junior and Lithuanian Austra Skujyte and Iowa State junior and Slovakian Barbara Szlendakova (5,727). The week before, the Arkansas duo of senior Gi-Gi Miller and junior Dee Brown had ascended to the national lead with scores of 5,704 and 5,700 points from the Southeastern Conference Championships. Miller was last year's NCAA runner-up (5,777) and is the top NCAA returnee from last year, with Brown fifth (5,490), and Dzlendakova ninth (5,382). UCLA senior Michelle Perry, a four-time combined All-American in the 400 hurdles and 4x100 relay, is fewer than 50 points back of the Hog duo but makes her NCAA heptathlon debut. Washington State sophomores Ellannee Richardson and Whitney Evans study under combined-events guru Rick Sloan and rank ninth and 11th, respectively, at 5,578 and 5,546 points. Skujyte relies on big marks in the field events, and is steady in the sprints and hurdles, so her 5-10 high jump best and 50-2 1/2 shot put best makes her the odds-on first-day leader.

    3 p.m. - Men's Discus
    Preview: Auburn junior and Hungarian Gabor Mate (first-ranked, 207-6) is the two-time defending champion (215-8 in 2000 and 202-1 in 1999) and was 25th overall in the qualifying round of the Olympics. Trying to stop him from becoming the fifth three-time champ since the event's debut in 1921, Texas A&M senior and German Tolga Koseoglu (second, 207-4) is nipping at his heels and UCLA junior Scott Moser (third, 206-8) also in sight. SMU junior and South African Jannus Roberts (sixth, 197-0) was the collegiate runner-up last year (198-11) behind Mate, and Mustang teammate Mark Simmons (13th-ranked, 193-11) was also top-eight in Duke last year (seventh, 193-8).

    5 p.m. - Women's Pole Vault
    Preview: UCLA sophomore Tracy O'Hara (14-6) faces a stiff challenge from the 2001 NCAA indoor champ (14-9 1/2), Georgia's Thorey Elisdottir. The Icelandic import has gone 14-3 1/2 outdoors this spring after ranking 33rd in the world last year (14-1 1/4). A pair of Arizona vaulters, senior Andrea Dutoit (third, 13-7 1/4) and freshman Amy Linnen (13-5 1/4), lead the rest of the field that features a six-way tie at 13-5 1/4, including Oregon's Niki Reed (fifth as a frosh in `99, 12-9 1/2) and Duke senior Jillian Schwartz, third at home at outdoor NCAA's in 2000 (13-5 1/4).

    5 p.m. - Women's 4x100-meter Relay
    Preview: From 1989 through 1999, LSU (8) and Texas (3) cornered the market on 11 straight 4x100 crowns, until USC edged LSU by only .02 seconds last year (43.14, 43.16). This year, however, this contest is more open with LSU and Florida tied for the national lead (43.43). To make matters even more interesting, Southeastern Conference rival South Carolina topped both of them in the recent conference finale and claims the nation's third-fastest clocking (43.48). USC and Texas follow in fourth (43.70) and fifth (43.82), respectively.

    5:10 p.m. - Men's 4x100-meter Relay
    Preview: The team race heats up in a hurry with a likely head-to-head-to-head meeting between three top-eight ranked squads - TCU (first, 38.68), Tennessee (second, 39.00) and LSU (sixth, 39.34c). Last year's outdoor runner-up South Carolina (fourth, 39.19aa) and UTEP (39.10aa) knocking out their season bests in El Paso's wind-friendly confines in April.

    5:20 p.m. - Women's 400-meter Hurdles
    Preview: The NCAA 400 hurdles title could go through LA once again after now-graduated Natasha Danvers of USC captured wins in 1999 (55.75) and 2000 (55.26). This year UCLA freshman Sheena Johnson (first, 56.02) ran her personal best in the recent Pac-10 Championships. Second-ranked Angel Patterson from Texas also comes off a season best in her last outing (second-ranked, 56.09) and top eight in NCAA's in 2000 (fifth, 56.73) and 1999 (eighth, 58.70). Harvard's Brenda Taylor is equally in the hunt up front (56.11), and was seventh last year in the NCAA Championships (57.77). Rice freshman Allison Beckford from Jamaica (56.31) and Texas senior Angel Patterson (56.40) could also surprise the field.

    5:30 p.m. - Men's 400-meter Hurdles
    Preview: Experience vs. youth - Baylor senior Bayano Kamani leads the nation at 49.30 over touted Florida freshman Rickey Harris (second, 49.65), last year's male prep performer of the year. Kamani took second in the NCAA final in 2000 (48.43), losing the title by only .02 seconds after winning in 1999 (48.68). The only other returning scorers from last year is Kamani's teammate Michael Smith, fifth-ranked in 2001 (50.20) and an All-American in 2001 (eighth, 51.14) and 2000 (sixth, 50.51). Also watch for a pair of top-five ranked entries from this season - Georgia's Ken Garrett (third, 49.76) and an All-American in 1999 (seventh, 50.69) and Penn State's Brian Derby (fourth-ranked, 49.77). Utah State's Brett Guymon (seventh, 50.02) ranked 19th in the U.S. last year with a season best of 49.79.

    5:45 - Women's Triple Jump
    Preview: UTEP junior Anna Tarasova from Kazakastan is the obvious favorite with a season best (first, 44-9) nearly a foot better than Auburn sophomore Shelly-Ann Gallimore from Jamaica (second, 43-10 1/2w), Tulane sophomore and Swede Marie Ahlander (third, 43-9 1/4), and Jamaican and Miami senior Kareen Clark (fourth, 43-8 3/4). Gi-Gi Miller from Arkansas (fifth, 43-5), a favorite in the heptathlon, is seeded fourth nationally and will compete in two of the heptathlon's opening events earlier Friday. Indoors in 2001, Miller won the NCAA title (44-4), with Tarasova (third, 43-8), Ahlander (sixth, 42-8 3/4), Clarke (seventh, 42-8 1/2) and Florida's Yolanda Thompson (eighth, 42-6 3/4). Top returnees from last year include South Florida senior Kerine Black (44-3 1/4) - sixth-ranked outdoors this year at 43-4 1/4 - and Gallimore (fourth, 44-2 3/4).

    6 p.m. - Women's Javelin
    Preview: In a battle of youth, a trio of freshmen - Virginia's Inge Jorgensen (first, 175-3), Oregon's Sarah Malone (second, 174-0) and USC's Inga Stasiulionyte from Lithuania (third, 173-9) - are barely a foot apart in the national rankings and the only automatic qualifiers. All of last year's top eight finishers are gone, with the top returnee, Indiana's Trina Kharun from the Ukraine (fourth-ranked, 167-3) taking ninth last year in the NCAA finale. SMU's always-efficient throws corps enters Liza Randjelovic from Slovakia (fourth, 170-6), ninth in the 1999 NCAA meet (166-8).

    6:05 p.m. - Women's 800 meters
    Preview: Slovakian and USC senior Brigita Langerholc climbed back out of the Twilight Zone last September in the Olympics (fourth, 1:58.51), barely three months after an eighth-place finish in the 2000 NCAA Champs. This season she ranks first collegiately (2:03.03) ahead of UTEP senior Svetlana Badrankova from Kazhakistan (second, 2:02.99), the 2001 NCAA indoor champ in March (2:06.58). Other title contenders include North Carolina sophomore Bobbie Jo Munson (third, 2:04.06) and freshman Alice Schmidt (sixth, 2:04.75), USC junior Aleksandra Deren from Poland (fourth, 2:04.18) and Appalachian State senior Mary Jane Harrelson (fifth, 2:04.34). Harrelson was the NCAA 1,500 champion outdoors in 1999 (4:21.06), but redshirted last year to train for the Olympic Trials (sixth, 2:02.35).

    6:10 p.m. - Men's 800 meters
    Preview: South Carolina sophomore Otukile Lekote from Botswana holds an almost two-second lead, almost two seconds, over the rest of the field with his 1:44.76 season best from early April. Lekote proved it was no fluke either two weeks ago, winning the Southeastern Conference Championships (1:45.36) and leading Florida freshman Moise Joseph to the second seed nationally (1:46.58). Close behind, the Stanford duo of junior Gabe Jennings (third, 1:46.83) and senior Michael Stember (fourth, 1:47.17) made Olympic appearances in the 1,500 for the U.S. last September and raced sparingly this outdoor season to focus on the championship run. Stember is the top NCAA returnee from last year and was the surprise of the outdoor 2000 NCAA field, finishing fourth (PR 1:46.20) two weeks after taking the exact same place in the conference championships. TCU's Eliud Njubi (1:47.17) carries heavy scoring aspirations for his squad and is tied for fourth in the field with Stember but is doubling back in Saturday' 1,500 final as is Jennings and Stember.

    6:55 p.m. - Women's 3,000-meter Steeplechase
    Preview: Making its official collegiate debut, the steeplechase has quickly positioned itself as one of the meet's more exciting battles. BYU senior Elizabeth Jackson won the U.S. title in Sacramento in 2000 (9:57.20) and in Eugene in 1999 (10:07.23). This season she has broken the 10:00 barrier twice, including an American record of 9:55.63 in her conference finale in San Diego that is also the world's fastest so far in 2001. Number two, three and fourth in the world aren't too shabby either thanks to German and Arkansas junior Lilli Kleinman (10:01.52) and a top-five NCAA cross country finisher in 1999 (third), Arizona State senior Kelly MacDonald, a native of Tualatin, 90 miles north of Eugene, (10:03.20), and Arkansas-Little Rock freshman and Swede Ida Nilsson (10:03.98). Weber State's Rebecca Bennion ran her fifth-seeded best of 10:08.69 solo on a rainy, windy day in Eugene at the end of April. Darkhorses to watch could be MacDonald's teammate Lisa Aguilera (seventh, 10:08.85) and BYU senior Courtney (Pugmire) Meldrum (10th, 10:13.81aa), the first-ever U.S. champion as a freshman in Atlanta in 1996 and a multiple harrier All-American.

    8:00 - Men's 5,000 meters
    Preview: Hayward Field faithful may remember the historic battles between Kenyan-reliant Washington State and Oregon, and this year's 5K could harken back to those dramas. This time around it's Alabama junior and Kenyan David Kimani, ready to trade surges with William and Mary senior Matt Lane from tiny Yarmouth, Maine. Kimani ran his second-ranked season best of 13:29.14 in March in Palo Alto. Lane has run a national-leading 13:25.28 this season, and last year finished fourth in the 2000 Olympic Trials (13:37.03) - far removed from his modest high school bests of 4:22 (1,600) and 9:42 (3,200) for tiny Yarmouth High School (350 students). Cal senior Bolota Asmerorm - third-ranked in 2001 in 13:31.88 - was a 2000 Olympian for Eritrea (16th-h, 14:15.26) and the recent Pac-10 champion thanks to a punishing final-lap surge. Entrants should also note Asmerom's speed in the final lap, based on his provisional qualifying mark of 3:42.73 in the 1,500. Darkhorses include Washington senior Dave Bazzi (fourth, 13:40.61), Colorado sophomore Jorge Torres (13:45.13) and Stanford junior Jonathon Riley (sixth, 13:46.05) who owns a 13:38 PR. Duck faithful will cheer on senior Michael Kasahun (17-ranked, 13:56.04) who ran 13:56 clockings on consecutive weekends a month ago and makes his final appearance in the yellow and gold.

    Other Friday Events

  • 5:45 W 100 Meters - Semifinals
  • 5:55 M 100 Meters - Semifinals
  • 6:25 W 100 Hurdles - Semifinals
  • 6:40 M 110 Hurdles - Semifinals
  • 7:10 W 200 Meters - Semifinals
  • 7:25 M 200 Meters - Semifinals




    Final Event Previews - Saturday, June 2

    2-5 p.m. - Heptathlon - Day 2

  • Events: 2 p.m. - Long Jump, 3:15 p.m. - Javelin, 5 p.m. - 800
    Preview: A heated Big 12 Conference Championships battle two weeks ago in Texas produced the top two national leaders - Kansas junior and Lithuanian Austra Skujyte and Iowa State junior and Slovakian Barbara Szlendakova (5,727) - and two other automatic scorers in Texas A&M senior Desi Hudson (12th, 5,543) and sophomore Kendra Reimer (13th, 5,539). The week before, the Arkansas duo of senior Gi-Gi Miller and junior Dee Brown had ascended to the national lead with scores of 5,704 and 5,700 points from the Southeastern Conference Championships. Miller was last year's NCAA runner-up (5,777) and is the top NCAA returnee from last year, with Brown fifth (5,490), and Dzlendakova ninth (5,382). UCLA senior Michelle Perry, a four-time combined All-American in the 400 hurdles and 4x100 relay, is less than 50 points back of the Hog duo but makes her NCAA heptathlon debut. Washington State sophomores Ellannee Richardson and Whitney Evans study under combined events guru Rick Sloan and rank ninth and 11th at 5,578 and 5,546 points. The final day features two more field events making the event Skujyte's to lose.

    3 p.m. - Women's Hammer
    Preview: SMU senior and French citizen Florence Ezeh owns an almost four-foot lead on the collegiate list (218-5), ranks 11th in the world, and is the two-time defending NCAA champion (2000 - 211-10, 1999 - 207-2). But don't count out UCLA senior Christina Tolson quite yet, as the Bruin stands second nationally this season (214-6) and was fifth in the NCAA contest in 2000 (203-6). California junior and Canadian Jennifer Joyce is the only other top-eight NCAA finisher back from 2000 (fourth, 204-1), and ranks seventh outdoors this season (203-8). Also watch for Arizona junior Angela Foster (third-ranked, 207-3), USC sophomore and Hungarian Julianna Tudja (fourth, 206-9) and Idaho State sophomore Maureen Griffin (fourth, 206-2), with Griffin eighth in last summer's Olympic Trials (201-0).

    4 p.m. - Men's Triple Jump
    Preview: LSU junior Walter Davis is one of the obvious favorite with a nearly one-foot, and eight-inch advantage over second ranked Josh Rollins (54-4 3/4), a senior from Georgetown. The race for second is tight with four others within four inches of Rollins - USC's Djeke Mambo from Belgium (third, 54-4), George Mason freshman Allen Simms (fourth, 54-3 3/4w), Southwestern Missouri junior Greg Hughes (fifth, 54-1 3/4) and Alabama senior Miguel Pate (sixth, 54-1). Indoors this year, Davis avenged a narrow loss in the long jump with a seven-inch win (55-5). Fans looking for a safe underdog should keep an eye out for Chris Hercules. Never mind his outdoor season best of 53-2 3/4w that ranks 10th - the senior Texan took second both outdoors in 2000 (54-3 3/4) and indoors in 2001 (54-9 1/4). Wisconsin senior Len Herring (eighth, 53-6 1/2) was less than two inches behind Hercules indoors at the Arkansas-hosted meet (third, 54-8).

    4:30 p.m. - Women's High Jump
    Preview: Harvard senior and Hungarian Dora Gyorffy (pron. ghee-OR-fee) leads a short list of automatic qualifiers with her 6-5 season best, comfortably ahead of Long Beach State senior Tayyiba Haneef (second, 6-2) and BYU senior Jeana Bingham (third, 6-0 3/4). Gyorffy is the top outdoor returnee from Durham last year (second, 6-1 1/2), just ahead of Nebraska's Carrie Braness (third, 6-1 1/2) who is tied for sixth this year at 6-0. Washington State sophomore and Canadian Whitney Evans redshirted last year after taking fourth as a freshman (6-0 1/2) in 1999. This season she enters the competition in a tie for fourth at 6-0 1/2, but will split action Saturday with the heptathlon's three final-day events. Akron junior Mary Varga claimed NCAA indoor runner-up distinctions (6-0), but ranks 14th so far this season (5-11).

    5:00 p.m. - Men's Shot Put
    Preview: Question for Janus Roberts from SMU (first-ranked, 70-10 1/2) - you have a four-foot lead on the national list and are a two-time NCAA champion - feeling pretty confident? Well, not really, because the junior from South Africa still has to contend with Idaho junior Joachim Olsen from Denmark who narrowly edged him last year outdoors at NCAA's (66-5 3/4 to 66-3). Roberts turned the table indoors this year with the win (70-1), with Olsen second at 65-10 1/2. Roberts still holds a 2-1 lead in NCAA titles, thanks to his first NCAA crown outdoors in 1999 (65-11 1/2). To make matters more interesting the other top four finishers from last year's NCAA competition - BYU senior Jim Roberts (third, 65-11) and Georgia senior Reese Hoffa (fourth, 64-11 1/4). Hoffa stands third on the outdoor list this year (66-4 1/4), but Roberts is seeded 10th this year (63-1 1/4). Looking into the future, watch for a pair of talented freshmen - Kentucky's Jeff Chakouian (fourth, 66-0 1/2) and UCLA's Danny Ames (eighth, 63-10 1/4).

    5:10 p.m. - Women's 100-meter Hurdles
    Preview: Maybe it's time the federal government step in and deregulate the Big Ten Conference, who owns the top four seeds in the 100 hurdles - Illinois sophomore and Canadian Perida Felicien (first, 12.73) and freshman and Swede Susanna Kallur (second, 12.81w), Ohio State senior Donica Merriman (third, 12.82) and Indiana sophomore Danielle Carruthers (fourth, 12.95). In the recent conference closer, Felicien (first, 12.75), Kallur (second, 12.90) and Boone (third, 12.98) were just off their season bests. Early this season, Merriman won the NCAA indoor 60-meter hurdle title (7.95), and is the top returnee from last year's NCAA outdoor finale (12.92). Felicien was second in the same indoor race (8.00).

    5:20 p.m. - Men's 110-meter Hurdles
    Preview: The future of American hurdling continues to shine, led this year by Indiana State senior Aubrey Herring. Outdoors he has progressively climbed the NCAA ladder (sixth in 1999, 13.83, second in 2000, 13.49), after scoring indoor NCAA runner-up honors in 1998 and 1999. Perseverance paid off indoors this year with NCAA gold in the 60 hurdles (7.61), and now outdoors he leads the NCAA scene (13.42). Washington State senior Arend Watkins (second-ranked, 13.47) trails closely and is one of five collegians within .10 seconds of Herring. The chase pack includes Wisconsin senior T.J. Nelson (third-ranked, 13.49), Alabama senior Ron Bramlett (fourth, 13.51), Texas A&M senior Jermaine Cooper (fifth, 13.52w) and Texas sophomore Jermaine Cooper (fifth, 13.52). Bramlett was only .01 seconds back in the NCAA indoor finale behind Aubrey.

    5:30 p.m. - Women's 400 meters
    Preview: A case of deja vu? South Carolina's top-ranked juniors Miki Barber and Demetria Washington (50.63 and 51.28), try to repeat last year's NCAA outdoor finishes (51.14 / 51.82). Indoors this year, they got out fast, with Washington taking the 400-meter indoor crown (52.37) and Barber close behind (third, 52.87). Baylor junior and Hungarian Barbara Petrahn (third-ranked this year at 51.85) could also be in the mix up front and was fourth in the NCAA finale outdoors last year. Fourth-ranked LSU junior and Jamaican Ronetta Smith (51.92) took fourth indoors in 2001 (53.04), and is one of the few that could stymie the Gamecocks' scoring push.

    5:35 p.m. - Men's 400 meters
    Preview: Auburn senior and Bahamian Avard Moncur (first-ranked 44.78) leads a quartet of sub-45 entrants from this season -- Clemson junior and Trinidad native Ato Modibo (second-ranked, 44.87), Ohio State senior Andrew Pierce (third, 44.94) and junior Alleyne Francique from Grenada (fourth, 44.99). Among NCAA returnees from 2000, Moncur and Pierce captured first (44.72) and sixth (45.29) outdoors, while Modibo was fifth in 1999 (45.37). Indoors, Pierce claimed second with the same exact time as Florida frosh Rickey Harris (45.78) who opted out of the quarter to concentrate on the 400 hurdles (second-ranked, 49.65) and 4x400 (sixth, 3:04.22). Gator teammate Geno White ranks next on the NCAA qualifier list (fifxth, 45.29) and was second last year outdoors in the collegiate finale (45.02). Baylor's Brandon Counts is the darkhorse special (17th-seeded, 45.86) after taking fourth outdoors last year in Duke (45.09).

    5:45 p.m. - Women's 100 meters
    Preview: USC junior Angela Williams deserves respect as the favorite and is the two-time defending champion (11.04 in 1999, 11.12 in 2000). This season she again leads the collegiate list (11.09w), ahead of UCLA senior Shakedia Jones (second, 11.13) and LSU freshman Muna Lee (11.13). Jones initially staked her name with a runner-up finish in 1998 (11.15) and was fifth indoors in the 60 meters (7.40) this season. Junior Brianna Glenn from Arizona is the top entrant from the NCAA indoor 60-meter finale this year (third, 7.35) and rates fourth this season on the outdoor circuit (11.16w). USC could get extra scoring help in the team race from senior and fifth-rated Candace Young (11.22).

    5:50 p.m. - Men's 100 meters
    Preview: If you're wearing a TCU or Tennessee jersey, it's just not fair - having to run such a critical race, then coming back a half-hour later again in the 200, but that's the beauty of this year's NCAA team race. The head-to-head battle is brutally tight, and TCU and Tennessee own an amazing six of the top eight seeds. TCU boasts the national leader, senior Kim Collins - the 2001 indoor 60-meter champ and an 2000 Olympic finalist (100, seventh, 10.17) - senior Lindel Frater (third, 10.11) and senior Darvis Patton (eighth, 10.14w). Tennessee counters with the fourth-, sixth- and seventh-fastest seeds in freshman Justin Gatlin (10.12w), Leonard Scott (10.13) and Sean Lambert from Grenada (10.13). Frater was fourth outdoors last year in Duke, while Scott was the NCAA indoor champ in 1999 in the 60 meters. The key is to not get too excited and forget Marcus Brunson from Arizona State, second-ranked this season in a wind-legal mark of 10.06, and the NCAA indoor 60-meter record holder back from 1999 (6.46).

    6 p.m. - Women's 1,500 meters
    Preview: Appalachian State Mary Jane Harrelson returns from a redshirt to defend her 1999 title. Last year, she stepped temporarily away from the collegiate circuit to focus on the Olympic Trials and was rewarded with a fifth-place finish (4:08.76) in Sacramento. The Stanford trio of seniors Sally Glynn and Ashley Couper and sophomore Malindi Elmore follow at second (4:16.98), fourth (4:17.73) and sixth (4:18.69) respectively, with their times from their recent Pac-10 Conference 1-4 sweep. North Carolina freshman Shalane Flanagan (third-ranked, 4:18.12) was the fastest regular-season qualifier indoors in 2001 in the mile (4:37.41). Also watch for Arkansas senior and Canadian Tracy Robertson (ninth, 4:19.00) who won the 2001 NCAA indoor mile crown at home in Fayetteville (4:39.10).

    6:15 p.m. - Men's 1,500 meters
    Preview: Former Oregon prep champion and Central Point native Bryan Berryhill returns to the Pioneer State as the tentative favorite in the 1,500. Indoors he won the 2001 NCAA crown (3:56.84) and was third last season in the NCAA outdoor 1,500 finale (3:40.37). Stanford junior Gabe Jennings returns as the defending NCAA champion from last year (3:37.76), and also competed in the 2000 Olympics (ninth-semifinal, 3:40.10) last year after winning the U.S. Olympic Trials (3:35.90). Alabama junior and Kenyan David Kimani, is the other contender to keep an eye on, ranked second (3:38.99). He scratched from last year's NCAA outdoor showdown meet because of injury but was the 1999 NCAA cross country champion for South Alabama, and is also a four-time NCAA indoor champion in the 3,000 and 5,000 the past two seasons. He'll have a busy meet, competing in the qualifying round on Thursday and is the second seed in the 5,000 final on Friday.

    6:30 p.m. - Women's 200 meters
    Preview: Clemson senior and Cayman Island import Cydonie Mothersill owns top billing with a wind-legal mark of 22.57, a few ticks ahead of LSU frosh Muna Lee (22.74w). Among the seven others that have broken 23 seconds this year include Indiana sophomore Rachelle Boone (third, 22.94), the NCAA indoor runner-up (23.33), LSU senior Myra Combs (third, 22.94), USC's Kinshasha Davis, the top returnee from last year's NCAA finale (second, 22.79 and sixth-ranked this year at 22.98), and South Carolina junior Miki Barber (eighth, 22.92w), the national leader in the 400 (50.63). LSU's sprint machine also boasts freshman Stephanie Durst (ninth, 23.05w).

    6:35 p.m. - Men's 200 meters
    Preview: The team title picture really shakes out as Tennessee and TCU go head-to-head once more, each with a pair of top-five ranked qualifiers. Volunteer freshman Justin Gatlin (first-ranked, 20.29) and senior Leonard Scott (second, 20.34) took the national top spots outdoors with clockings from May's SEC Conference Championships. Although neither has appeared in an NCAA outdoor 200 final, Scott was the NCAA indoor champ in 1999 in the 60 meters (6.58), and indoors this year Gatlin and Scott were third and fourth, respectively, in the NCAA deuce (20.61 / 20.65). Texas Christian seniors Kim Collins (second-ranked, 20.34) and Darvis Patton (fifth-ranked, 20.42w) are equally accomplished on the NCAA front. Collins took 2001 NCAA indoor titles in the 60 meters (6.58) and 200 meters (20.55), and was second in 2000 in the 60 meters (6.61). Patton was fifth in the 2001 NCAA indoor 200-meter finale (22.73) and fourth outdoors last year in NCAA's (20.59). Four-time All-American and senior Marcus Brunson from Arizona State stands fourth overall (20.37), and Kent senior Bobby Cruse (sixth, 20.46) comes off a third-place finish indoors at NCAA's (20.89). Washington senior Ja'Warren Hooker, an alternate on the gold-medal U.S. Olympic 4x400 relay last year, is tied in ninth so far outdoors (20.57). The Husky initially made his name with the NCAA indoor crown in the 55 meters in 1998 (6.13), and indoors in 2001 followed with top-three efforts in the 60 (third, 6.64) and 200 (second, 20.56). Last summer he won his Olympic Trials semifinal in the 400 (44.78) and then added seventh in the final.

    6:45 p.m. - Men's Steeplechase
    Preview: Wisconsin senior Jared Cordes popped a national leader three weeks ago in Stanford (8:36.45) and was fifth in last year's NCAA finale. But lying in the grass, UTEP's Carlos Suarez is only .06 seconds back (8:36.51) and was the NCAA runner-up in 1999 (8:45.13). A pair of Big 12 Conference automatic qualifiers - Colorado's Steve Slattery (third-ranked, 8:37.69) and Kansas' Andy Tate (fourth, 8:38.01) - could be in the hunt with Slattery's speed (3:42.36 in the 1,500 this year) a dangerous trump card in the finishing kick. Arkansas sophomore Daniel Lincoln (seventh-ranked, 8:39.19) could be another to watch with season bests of 3:43.66 (1,500) and 13:58.37 (5K). N.C. State's Chris Dugan may be a darkhorse (eighth, 8:40.83) but the talented Wolfpack runner ran 8:38.66 as a freshman back in 1998, but has been limited training-wise occasionally since then.

    7 p.m. - Women's 5,000 meters
    Preview: After pulling off wins last year in the 3,000 and 5,000, Colorado senior Kara Grgas-Wheeler lightens her load with duty just in the 5,000 this year. The NCAA cross country champ last fall, she leads the nation by more than eight seconds (15:41.78) and was also eighth (15:34.47) in the Olympic Trials last year. Stanford sophomore Lauren Fleshman follows in second (15:49.85), while third-ranked BYU senior Elizabeth Jackson (15:50.56) will face a busy schedule since she's the top-ranked collegiate steeplechaser (9:55.63). Virginia Tech's Kristin Price follows in fourth (15:56.68), ahead of Texas A&M's Melissa Gulli (fifth, 15:57.67) and Stanford senior Sally Glynn (15:58.29) who is also qualified in the 1,500 with both finals less than an hour apart on Saturday.

    7:30 p.m. - Women's 4x400-meter Relay
    Preview: If the form chart stays true to form, the NCAA title will may be decided between a trio of the nation's top 4x400 relays - South Carolina (first-ranked, 3:28.34), UCLA (fifth, 3:32.76) and USC (sixth, 3:33.17). Two weekends ago, UCLA and USC met up with the Trojans dropping the baton on the Kinsasha's third leg although they protested to no avail that the Bruin entrant knocked the stick out their hand. Last year, the 4x400 was one of the meet's most exciting as USC needed to win the 4x400 to claim the team race but finished third (3:30.89), while South Carolina won (3:28.64) and team champion LSU was seventh (3:35.98).

    7:40 p.m. - Men's 4x400-meter Relay
    Preview: LSU looks to defend its indoor title from March and ranks first nationally (3:01.73) by less than a quarter-second over Auburn (3:01.92). The Tigers could turn to the nation's 400 leader (Avard Moncur, 44.78) at anchor, and two years ago missed the top spot on the awards stand by .07 seconds. Baylor (third-ranked, 3:02.16) has won three of the last six NCAA titles outdoors, including last year (3:01.46), and Arizona State (fourth, 3:03.10) round out the event's four automatic qualifiers. If the NCAA team race is as tight as projected, Tennessee (10th, 3:04.89) could take advantage of any points it could get.

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