Holliday Nets Third in NCAA Pole Vault
May 29, 2002
BATON ROUGE, La. - University of Oregon redshirt junior Becky Holliday paced opening day action for the Ducks with a third-place pole vault finish and their first All-America outdoor honor in the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, held at LSU's Bernie Moore Track.
In an event riddled by surprisingly low marks, the Sparks, Nev., native's final clearance of 13-5 1/4 ranked as her fifth-best mark of the season, and proved the same as the official winning height. UCLA's Tracy O'Hara claimed the victory in a jump-off clearance at 13-9 1/4 over Liberty's Andrea Wildrick -- the same height both had missed to end the regular section of the competition -- with both their official ending marks were listed as 13-5 1/4.
'It was a strange meet,' Holliday said, 'because nobody had any rhythm. I was fired up coming in, and the conditions shouldn't have been a factor because it wasn't too hot. I guess you can't vault high every day although it's frustrating to be so close to winning.'
Regardless of the final height, Holliday earned points for her competitive fire, notching a third-attempt clearance at 13-5 1/4, after clearing her first try at an opening height of 13-1 1/2.
'Technique-wise, it seemed like I was 1 1/2 feet too close every time, even when I was moving back. I only made 13-5 1/4 when I moved the standards way up. When I was too close on my approach, that forced me to lean back extra far, so then I couldn't roll over at the top. It was strange environment in that it didn't seem like a championship meet. There wasn't a lot of people here (1,495 spectators) or much crowd support. Early on I had to keep telling myself to focus because the NCAA championship was on the line.'
Holliday entered the meet seeded third overall with a school record and season best of 14-1 1/4, behind UCLA's Tracy O'Hara (14-3 1/4) and Arizona's Amy Linnen (14-1 3/4), the Pac-10 champion two weekends before. The Wildcat sophomore, however, no-heighted her opening try Wednesday at 12-9 1/2, while O'Hara made first attempts at 13-1 1/2 and 13-5 1/4.
'Becky competed really hard and had some really clutch jumps,' Oregon women's coach Tom Heinonen said. 'She really came through on the 13-5 1/4 third attempt. It was a strange event, and nobody looked good. My only guess is that the competition was so far sequestered in the center of the track (and not on one particular side), that the athletes were at a hindrance because they were so far away from their coaches.'
Overall during the outdoor season, Holliday won four competitions, and twice cleared 14 feet, including a school record of 14-1 1/4 from the Mt. SAC Relays. Indoors in March, she claimed her first All-America honor with a seventh-place finish in the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. The first-year Duck and former Clackamas CC transfer now looks forward to the USA Outdoor Championships, scheduled for June 21-23 in Stanford, Calif.
'I still have senior nationals in a few weeks,' Holliday said. 'This year has been a new situation with a new school and coach, and my goals were really high outdoors. I wanted to do better indoors than I did, so I think I was hoping to make up for it here. I think I'll approach USA's a little differently and try to relax and have fun. Working with Mark (Vanderville), we've taken apart my approach, so I'm still putting it back together. Sometimes I guess you have to take a step backward to take two steps forward.'
On the men's side in the hammer throw, redshirt junior Adam Kriz notched his fourth-best mark of the year (14th, 200-7) in his NCAA debut for the Ducks after entering the meet seeded 12th.
On his first effort of the day, the Toledo, Ore., native unleashed a likely personal best, estimated past the 215-foot mark, but the mark was never measured due to a slight foot foul on the front of the ring. On his second attempt, he posted a mark of 175-10, and then improved to 200-7 on his third effort -- more than five feet shy of the last qualifier for the nine-man final.
'I felt really relaxed and confident coming in,' Kriz said, 'more-so than Pac-10's. I felt like I was throwing as hard as I could, so I was disappointed that I didn't place higher, But, besides the top four, everybody else was off. I knew it was there today in the warm-ups and would have liked to count that first one, but that's the way the event goes. One throw can make a meet, and also a season. The more big meets you go to, the more you learn, so I need to build off and learn from today.'
Overall in the event, NCAA former champs Andras Haklits of Georgia and Libor Charfreitag staged a dramatic dual in the ring. Top seed Charfreitag opened the first flight with an opening throw of 245-11. Haklits responded with a better opening throw in the second flight (248-7), then opened up a five-foot lead on his third prelim throw (251-8). In the finals, Haklits continued to lead with the same mark until the Charfreitag's last throw (252-7), which Haklits answered moments later on the ensuring and final throw of the event (253-8).
Earlier in May, Kriz ended the year as Oregon's fifth conference champion in the hammer and the seventh best thrower in school history with his personal best from the Pac-10 Championships (210-7). He also topped the 200-foot line during the season in the Oregon Invite (204-11) and Washington Dual (207-8), and bettered his preseason personal best of 194-8 in five of the last six meets of 2002.
'I liked the way I progressed this season,' Kriz continued. 'I started off in March a little shaky and unsure of myself. But as the season moved on, I felt more confident, and I definitely matured. This year was a big learning experience, but there's still a lot more to work on.'
On the track for the men, senior Simon Kimata missed advancing to the final of the 800 meters by .22 seconds and two places.
The second-year Duck took fourth in the second of three preliminary heats (1:48.17) after leading the first 700 meters of the race. Texas Tech's Jonathan Johnson passed the lanky Kenyan in the final 70 meters en route to the win (1:46.55), ahead of Penn's Sam Burley (second, 1:46.88) and Tennessee's Marc Sylvester (third, 1:47.16).
'I'm disappointed that I didn't advance,' Kimata said, 'but I still have to be thankful for the season up to this point. My achilles worried me at various points of the season, and I was hoping that I could still be able to compete here, especially after missing last year. The team has been so great and supportive through my career, and I'm glad I could contribute for them at Pac-10s and during the season. Coach (Silvey) told me to take it out hard today (51-second first 400), and I did. I was really nervous coming in, but I gave it my all, and I was hurting at the end.'
In other sections of the event, top-seeded Otukile Lekote of South Carolina won the opening heat (1:46.49), and SMU's Roman Oravec (1:48.35) won the third section.
Looking ahead to Thursday, the Duck women enter three top-12 seeds in the women's javelin (Sarah Malone, Elisa Crumley and Roslyn Lundeen). Duck Men's entries in final sections for Thursday include Nick Bakke (javelin) and Jason Hartmann (10,000), and Micah Harris in the 110 hurdles prelims.
NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships
Bernie Moore Stadium
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, La.
Wednesday, May 29, 2002
Women's Pole Vault - 1, Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, 13-5 1/4. 2, Andrea Wildrick, Liberty, 13-5 1/4. 3, Becky Holliday, Oregon, 13-5 1/4. 4, Kathleen Donoghue, Stanford, 13-1 1/2. 5, Rhian Clarke, Houston, 13-1 1/2. 6, Leslie Dunlap, Oklahoma, 13-1 1/2. 7, Jennifer Ashcroft, Nevada, 13-1 1/2. 8, Shannon Agee-Jones, Montana State 13-1 1/2.
Men's 800 (Athletes advancing to final) - Heat 1 - 1, Otukile Lekote, South Carolina, 1:46.49. 2, Nathan Brannen, Michigan, 1:47.00. 3, Joseph Lee, Kansas State, 1:47.92. 4, Dan Murray, Wisconsin, 1:47.95. Heat 2 - 1, Jonathan Johnson, Texas Tech, 1:46.55. 2, Sam Burley, Pennsylvania, 1:46.88. 3, March Sylvester, Tennessee, 1:47.16. 4, Simon Kimata, Oregon, 1:48.17. Heat 3 - Roman Oravec, SMU, 1:48.35. 2, Moise Joseph, Florida, 1:48.48.
Men's Hammer - 1, Andras Haklits, Georgia, 253-8. 2, Libor Charfreitag, SMU, 252-7. 3, Ryan Carey, DePaul, 225-3. 4, Mavraganis Panagiotis, Georgia, 223-6. 5, Thomas Freeman, Manhattan, 222-11. 6, Janne Vartia, UTEP, 220-2. 7, Zach Riley, Ball State, 212-2. 8, Javier Niteo, LSU, 206-4.14, Adam Kriz, Oregon, 200-7.