Kasahun and Harris Wrap Up Duck Duty at NCAA Champs

June 1, 2001 Overall in the team races, the Duck men still lead with 27 points, while the Duck women are tied for 48th with two points, with one day of action remaining.

For the women, freshman Sarah Malone added her name to the Ducks' storied javelin list of All- Americans with a seventh-place finish in her NCAA debut (164-9, 50.21 meters). Malone, the second seed entering the competition, ended up ranking third overall among freshmen Friday in the underclass- heavy field which featured only two seniors and four juniors among the 21 entrants.

Malone's best throw Saturday was her first, followed by a 163-5 second toss, and 152-10 on her fourth effort, while fouling the other three attempts.

USC freshman and Lithuanian Inga Stasiulionyte bested the field by a four-foot margin (172-4), ahead of Kansas junior Andrea Bulat (second, 168-4) and SMU senior Liza Randjelovic (third, 168-4).

Saturday's effort capped one of Oregon's most decorated freshman seasons in recent memory. The Newburg, Ore., native improved the school record twice during the year (169-3, 51.60 meters, 174-0, 53.04 meters), finished second at the Pac-10 Championships (167-1) behind the eventual NCAA champion, and topped the 155-foot mark in all seven meets this season.

Sophomore teammate Charyl Weingarten rounded out the Ducks' two entries in the event with a 19th-place finish in her NCAA debut (136-7, 41.66m). The Grand Forks, North Dakota native entered the meet seeded 21st overall. Her season best of 155-6 from the Pac-10 Championships two weeks ago was a 3-foot, 3-inch personal best, and all-time for Oregon she now ranks third behind Malone and two- time All-AMerican Karis Howell (168-1).

Nearby on the infield, junior pole vaulter and two-time All-American Niki Reed faced disappointment in her fourth NCAA appearance for the Ducks -- no-heighting at her opening height of 12- 9 1/2 (3.90 meters), The Newport, Ore., native entered the competition in a tie for fifth nationally thanks to her season best of 13-5 1/4 which tied her school record from the 2000 indoor and outdoor seasons. During the season, Reed had also cleared 13 feet at the Mt. SAC Relays, while most recently took seventh (12-11, 3.94m) at the Pac-10 Championships against a field featuring nine of the nation's top 16 vaulters based on prior season bests.

Arizona senior Andrea Dutoit won the tightly-contested outcome with a winning clearance of 13-9 1/4 (4.20 meters), the same height but with fewer misses than Duke senior Jillian Schwartz and UCLA junior Tracy O'Hara, who tied for second place at 13-9 1/4.

Other women's winners from Saturday's finals included USC's Brigita Langerholc (800, 2:01.61), Harvard's Brenda Taylor (400 hurdles, 55.88), BYU's Elizabeth Jackson (steeplechase, 9:49.73), LSU's 4x100 relay (43.54) and Auburn's Shelly-Ann Gallimore (43-7 1/4, 13.29m).

Semifinal winners included USC's Angela Williams and UCLA's Shakedia Jones in the 100 (11.19 / 11.49), and Illinois' Susanna Kallur and Perdita Felicien in the 100 hurdles (12.95 / 13.03). Kansas State heptathlete Austra Kujyte leads the combined events competition after four events (3,494), ahead of UCLA's Michelle Perry (second, 3,430) and San Diego State's Aja Frary (third, 3,429).

On the men's side, senior Michael Kasahun closed his Duck career with a 16th-place finish in the 5,000 meters - one position better than his pre-meet seeding. Kasahun had qualified for the meet based on his season best of 13:56.04 from April's Oregon Invitational - a mark he nearly matched a week later at the Cardinal Invitational (13:56.44).

Stanford's Jonathon Riley won Saturday's competition in a thrilling final 100-meter kick (13:42.51), over Pac-10 rival and California senior Bolota Asmerom (second, 13:43.13), Alabama sophomore David Kimani (third, 13:44.42), and William and Mary senior Matt Lane (fourth, 13:44.99). The Fresno, Calif., native Kasahun ran much of the first eight laps of the race in the lead pack, before the leaders started to trade surges with a mile remaining.

Kasahun's effort wrapped up a short but impressive career for the Ducks. Over the course of two years, the former transfer from Fresno City College lowered his personal bests in the 5,000 meters by one minute and 10 seconds (15:06.51 / 13:56.04), and in the 10,000 meters by 44 seconds (30:35.07 / 29:51.62). At the conference level, he scored in the 10,000 in both 2001 (sixth, 29:51.62) and 2000 (seventh, 30:11.43), while in cross country he was a two-time NCAA participant (65th in 2000 and 10th in 1999). As a senior he qualified individually for the national finale based on his fourth-place regional finish, and added a best-ever 10th-place Pac-10 effort two weeks prior.

This season for the Ducks, he ranked first in the 1,500 (3:54.34) and 5,000 (13:56.04), and second in the 3,000 (8:26.52) and 10,000 (29:51.62).

In the 110 hurdles, junior Micah Harris closed his first debut season for the Ducks with a sixth- place finish in his second semifinal heat (13.99), missing a top-four and final-qualifying finish by only .16 seconds. Overall on the day, his time ranked 11th-fastest among the two semifinals' 16 entrants. Washington State's Arend Watkins and Indiana State's Aubrey Herring led the first semifinal (13.65 / 13.73), and Alabama's Ron Bramlett and USC's Ryan Wilson (13.63 / 13.81) captured similar places in the second semifinal.

The Tempe, Ariz., native Harris had qualified for Friday's semifinal after a school record clocking of 13.73 Thursday - one of seven sub-14.0 performances out of 10 races total this season. Harris entered the campaign with a personal best of 13.96 from his sophomore season at Central Arizona in 2000, and ran faster than that mark six times this season. He also finished the year with Oregon's mark this season in the 200 (21.78w).

Looking back at Friday's finals, winners included South Carolina's Otukile Lekote (800, 1:46.68), Baylor's Bayano Kamani (400 hurdles, 48.99), TCU's 4x100 relay (38.80), and Texas A&M's Tolga Koseoglu (discus, 240-10).

Winners from Friday's semifinals advancing to Saturday's finals included Tennessee's Justin Gatlin (10.16) and TCU's Lindel Frater (10.26) in the 100, and Washington State's Arend Watkins (13.65) and Alabama's Ron Bramlett (13.63) in the 110 hurdles.

Overall in the team race, the Ducks lead with 27 points, ahead of Baylor (24 1/2), Tennessee (21), Arkansas (fourth, 20) and UTEP (19).

- www.goducks.com -

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