Notes and Quotes from Day Four of NCAA Track and Field Championships
June 2, 2001
2001 NCAA TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Race In Review
Saturday, June 2 - Hayward Field
Women's 100 Hurdles - Final
With five finalists in the race from the Big Ten Conference, chances were good that the league would post its first-ever victory in the event and Ohio State's Donica Merriman didn't disappoint their followers. The only runner slow out of the blocks was Illinois freshman Jenny Kallur in lane one and one of the top 2000 finishers was poised to take the crown. Perdita Felicien of the Illini forged an early advantage, but Merriman made up with deficit and help the edge to the wire despite appearing to chop a hurdle or two. Danielle Carruther of Indiana charged to make a race of it at the finish to grab second-place honors and Idaho's Angela Whyte broke up the Big 10 dominance by streaking to third. Big 10 runners were 1-2-4-5-7 in the race. Felicien had earlier won the Big 10 title, just ahead of Merriman. Felicien was sixth a year ago and Merriman moved up from third a year ago.
Men's 110 Hurdles - Final
The race was expected to be between Indoor champion Aubrey Herring of Indiana State and Alabama's Ron Bramlett, but that was before wreckage was strewn across the track and the midpoint of the chase. First, it was Washington State's Pac-10 winner Arend Watkins in lane three who slammed the sixth hurdle and Wisconsin's Big 10 champion Thavius Nelson was suffering the same fate in lane seven. Steps later, Herring was going face down after clobbering the seventh hurdle and Bramlett had smooth sailing from there. Bramlett, who won the SEC title earlier in the year after losing the 60-meter indoor title to Herring by .01, is the second Alabama winner of the event, following Keith Talley to the top rung of the awards' stand in 1986 at Indianapolis. Bramlett also improved his 2000 result with the triumph after taking fourth in this meet a year ago at Durham, N.C. In the chilly conditions, Bramlett's winning time was the slowest since 1988 when James Purvis (:13.58) won that race.
Women's 400 - Final
Based on the stagger, Texas sophomore Moushaumi Robinson appeared to lead through the first 200 meters, but Rice freshman Allison Beckford began to call upon her strength and was leading off the turn and never headed. Robinson held gamely through the stretch, but also was run down by South Carolina's Demetria Washington, who finished as the runner-up for the second straight year. Defending champion Miki Barber of South Carolina ran well, but was edged by Robinson for third. South Carolina runners finished 2-4-
Men's 400 - Final
Auburn's Avard Moncur was the defending champion in the event and he didn't suffer the same fate as the women's 2000 winner. He was clearly in front before the runners finished with the stagger distance and widened his lead to more than one-half second in outclassing the field. Alleyne Francique, who chased Moncur home in the SEC meet as well, ran solidly for runner-up honors and Florida senior Geno White captured third and getting second in the event a year ago. Moncur becomes the 12th runner to win 400 more than once and the first since Texas-El Paso's Bert Cameron dominated the race in 1980-81-83. Baylor's Brandon Couts was a disappointing seventh in lane eight after finishing fourth a year ago and winning the indoor 400 last March. Christopher Brown of Norfolk State again was a placewinner in the meet after capturing third in last year's event. He finished fourth, just ahead of Godfrey Herring of Middle Tennessee State.
Women's 100 - Final
In the first competition on the track matching runners from title contenders UCLA and USC, Angela Williams became the first woman to win the 100 three straight years for the Trojans by avoiding an impending upset by UCLA Shakedia Jones. It was a certain measure of redemption for Williams, who was unable to add the Pac-10 title to her cache two weeks ago after committing a false start in the league race. Arizona's Brianna Glenn, the long jump winner, gave the Pac-10 a sweep of the top three places, relegating promising LSU freshman Muna Lee to fourth. She anchored LSU to a victory in the 4x100 relay Friday. Williams became the first runner to accomplish a three-peat in the 100 since Charlie Green of Nebraska authored the feat in 1965-67.
Men's 100 - Final
Another freshman raised the flag of immense promise by weathering an average start to outrun a strong field to strike a cord for Tennessee in the team race. Justin Gatlin showed outstanding stretch to overcome the savvy of seniors Marcus Brunson of Arizona State and TCU's Kim Collins. Brunson, as is customary, was out quickly and held the lead until Collins took over in mid-race, only to surrender the lead to Gatlin in the final 20 meters. Another Tennessee rookie made a statement as well when Sean Lambert held off two TCU opponents to finish fourth. The Vols, which lost standout Leonard Scott in the semifinals, managed to not lose ground to TCU in the event. Each scored 15 points. Gatlin was the fourth Tennessee sprinter to win the 100 and elevated his performance above a pair of fourth-place finishes (60 and 200) at the indoor nationals. Collins won the Indoor 60 in March.
Women's 1,500 - Final
Breaking quickly from the ninth starting spot, Arkansas senior Tracy Robertson set the very early pace, but Mary Jane Harrelson of Appalachian State grabbed the lead after just 300 meters. In less than four minutes, it became apparent the race was over at that point. Harrelson was serious about the pace throughout and gave no indication of any chink in her armor with 400 meters to run despite coming back a day after capturing runner-up honors in the 800 Friday. In fact, Harrelson expanded the lead throughout the final 400 meters and only Stanford's Sally Glynn could run with her on the final lap. But, Glynn was more than 40 meters back and carved little from the lead. The race was marred by three spills. North Carolina's Shalane Flanagan fell after only 200 meters and Arizona senior Erin Doherty went down after no more than 500 meters had been run. William and Mary's Emily Furia was winding up her closing kick on the backstretch when she suddenly fell and took Rachel Felton of Boston University with her. All runners rose to finish the race. Glynn passed Robertson in the final 100 meters to second and Autumn Fogg of Georgetown, second in the NCAA Indoor mile in March, nipped Ann Marie Brooks of Missouri for fourth at the tape. Harrelson won the 1,500 in 1999 and became just the second multiple winner of the event, joining Wisconsin's Suzy Favor (1987-88-89-90). Harrelson did not run as a collegian in 2000.
Men's 1,500 - Final
Colorado State's Bryan Berryhill, the NCAA Indoor mile champion, assumed his customary place at the front of the field and made the rest go :57.8 in the first 400 meters. Alabama's David Kimani was not far behind and Christian Goy of Illinois State took over in third with 800 meters to run. At the bell, everything was status quo and the first to begin to make waves was Stanford's Gabe Jennings, who booted into gear with 350 meters left after running sixth for the first 1,100 meters. Jennings began picking off runners around the track and had only Berryhill in his sites on the final curve. But, Berryhill was too strong for any kicker and swept both NCAA races of comparable distance. Kimani was forced to settle for third and two more from Stanford's middle distance stable recorded fourth and fifth-place finishes. Mike Stember followed Kimani home and freshman Don Sage held off Joel Atwater of Weber State for fifth. Goy faded to ninth. Berryhill was third in the 1,500 a year ago when Jennings seized the title in 2000. Stember was the runner-up to Jennings. Because Berryhill did not allow the race to become tatical, his winning time (3:37.05) was the fastest since Abdi Bile of George Mason covered the distance in 3:35.79 in winning in Baton Rouge, La., in 1987.