Tiffany Greer, Fasil Bizuneh Earn All-America Honors in First Day of NCAA Track Championships
May 30, 2001
EUGENE, Ore. - Sophomore Tiffany Greer placed third in the women's long jump and sophomore Fasil Bizuneh took fifth in the men's 10,000m, earning All-America honors and leading the Arizona State track and field team in the opening day of the NCAA Track and Field Championships at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field Wednesday evening.
After the first day of competition, ASU's women are tied with UCLA for fifth place with six points and the men are in 16th with 4 points. Idaho and Arizona lead the women's team race (10 pts.) and Oregon leads the men (16 points).
With one attempt left in the finals of the women's long jump, Greer sky-rocketed from seventh to third place with her final jump of 21 feet, 0.75 inches. Greer is now a three-time All-American in the long jump, having done so during both the outdoor and indoor seasons as a freshman last year.
'You don't know how happy I am, I was struggling all year long,' Greer said. 'I just put it together on my last jump. I just told myself, `put it together, put it together, and you'll be happy.' I went down the runway and popped a good one and ended up in third place and that's what I needed. I was fourth last year in this competition, so I'm very, very happy.'
Bizuneh was in a pack of four runners vying shoulder to shoulder for third place with just over one to lap to go and hung on for his fifth place finish and first All-America honors in the event. Bizuneh, the school-record holder in the men's 10,000m, crossed the finish line in 29:33.18.
'I felt pretty good throughout the race,' Bizuneh said. 'The first three guys were so far ahead of the pack so it was pretty much a race for third between the four of us. I tried to get away from that group with a mile to go, and that didn't work, so I settled back in and tried to go with a lap to go. I didn't close that well and all three of those guys beat me so it's kind of disappointing but I got 12th last year so it's an improvement.'
MacDonald took one step closer to winning double events in her home state of Oregon, qualifying for the women's 3000m steeplechase final with a second-place finish in her preliminary heat this afternoon.
'I feel pretty confident (going in the final) but at the same time it is a final and I have to be more prepared than I was today,' MacDonald said. 'There are a lot of great athletes and I know the race Friday is going to go differently than it did today.'
The Tualatin, Ore. native stayed neck-and-neck with leader Nan Evans of BYU throughout almost the entire race and crossed the finish line just behind Evans in 10:12.50. MacDonald has the fourth-fastest time heading into Friday's steeplechase final. She will also compete in the women's 5000m Saturday.
'I was glad that she (Evans) took it out and led,' MacDonald said. 'It was a prelim so I just wanted to stay focused and not exert as much energy as I would in a final. I was patient and trying to go through it without a lot of stress.'
A Sun Devil face not seen in Friday's steeplechase final will be sophomore Lisa Aguilera who finished just two places shy of a qualifying bid. Running in the same heat at MacDonald, Aguilera placed sixth in 10:23.63, a good 15 seconds slower than her personal best (10:08.85). Aguilera has battled a knee injury for the last month of the season.
Also qualifying for a final today was senior Marcus Brunson, placing second in his prelim heat in the men's 200m. Brunson recorded a time of 20.38, a hundredth of a second behind his personal-best. Brunson, also competing in the men's 100m and as a member of the men's 4x400-meter relay team, will run in the 200m finals Saturday.
In addition to Greer, ASU had two other women competing in the long jump but seniors Valerie Williams and Sharesa Turner failed to make it past the qualifying round. Turner finished 12th (19-10.25) and Williams took 21st (18-11.25). Junior Candida Coulson placed fifth in her heat of the women's 400m hurdles in 58.88, but did not qualify for finals.
'Every day is huge in the four-day format and obviously on the track you just try to qualify people through,' ASU head coach Greg Kraft said. 'Fasil's performance was a huge kick-off for us and Marcus showed great composure getting through the rounds of the 200m. Tiffany saved the day on her last jump in the long jump. Overall, the first day, we have a lot to be pleased with, but we have a lot of things to do over the next three days.'
The four-day NCAA Track and Field Championships continue tomorrow, with senior Adrienne Jude competing in the shot put final at 6 p.m. Also competing for ASU will be seniors Tony Berrian and Michael Campbell in the men's 400m semifinals (5:20 p.m.), Brunson in the 100m trials (5:45 p.m.), junior Brandon Strong in the men's 1500m semis (6:15 p.m.), senior Mary Duerbeck in the women's 10,000m final (7:50 p.m.), and both men's (7 p.m.) and women's (6:45 p.m.) 4x400-meter relay team in the semis.