Carter, Johnson and Teinert Advance at First Day of NCAA Championships
June 9, 2005
Sacramento, CA -
The NCAA championships at the Alex G. Spanos sports complex started off in a hard way for the Bears. Before the lights went out on the first day of the four day event there would be some bright spots to outshine the tarnish.
The women's 4x100m relay started off well with junior Osarhiemen Omwanghe getting out of the hole quickly. Only Virginia Powell of USC managed to separate from the field in any noticeable way. As Omwanghe approached the first exchange junior Tiffany Johnson began to accelerate for the pass. Before Omwanghe was close enough to move the baton, Johnson collided with Wiande Moore of Miami in the neighboring lane and stumbled. Johnson tried to speed up to make the exchange work, but as she grabbed the baton from Omwanghe it slipped from her hand to the track along with any chance for the team to advance.
The 800m would hopefully offer some reprieve from the disappointment of the relay. With Chloe Jarvis, Alysia Johnson and Alex McClary all entered, the Bears were poised to advance at least one athlete. As the women's race got underway Johnson and Jarvis ran out hard toward the break line. After beating the field to pole, Johnson and Jarvis settled into the back of the pack through 200m. Katie Erdman of Michigan moved into the lead at that point and brought the pack through 400m at 62 seconds while Johnson and Jarvis moved up. At 500m Jarvis had moved into third while Johnson sat back in fifth. The pack began to disintegrate and the order remained largely unchanged as Erdman continued to lead with Mable Kunihira of Oral Roberts on her heels. With 120m left Jarvis attempted to charge up to the leaders but didn't have the steam to catch them. Meanwhile, Johnson and Fatimoh Muhammed of UTEP began kicking and passed Jarvis in the closing 50m. Johnson ended up passing four runners to claim second place at 2:05.92, beating her old best by .02 seconds. Erdman won in 2:05.79. Jarvis would finish fifth at 2:06.87 and would not advance to the semi-finals, marking the end to her collegiate career. The slowest time to qualify for the semi-finals to be contested Thursday night was Antoinette Gorham of Tennessee at 2:06.26.
Freshman Alex McClary's race would play out more plainly. McClary got out at a leisurely pace and was in sixth at the break and would settle into seventh at 200m. McClary sat back and came through 400m at 53 seconds. With 300m to go McClary picked it up, but did not make any serious effort to move up through the field. With 100m left McClary appeared as though his kick might be able to catch some of the field, but the effort was for naught as he finished seventh and ended three places away from advancing to the semi-finals. His final time of 1:49.50 does give every indication that the precocious freshman has become a consistent sub-1:50 runner and will improve at least steadily into the 1:47 range and beyond. The final time to qualify for tomorrow's finals was UCLA's Martell Munguia at 1:48.89.
While the drama played out on the track, the men's javelin had to deal with the added difficulty of using shortened spikes in their cleats. The wet weather already made the runway slippery, but with the field referees insisting on shorter spikes the athletes would not be able to block their feet as they threw, forcing them to throw from the shoulders. Sophomore Adam Burgh would be one to benefit from the problems the other throwers faced since his style did not depend heavily on a strong foot plant. Unfortunately the event did not play out that way, and despite throwing 215-6 two weeks ago Burgh was only able to muster a best of 193-00. Junior Paul Teinert fared much better. The school record holder and Pac-10 champ threw 223-11 on his very first attempt to qualify easily for the next round. After another throw at 214-8 Teinert shut it down and passed on his final throw. The last mark to qualify for the finals was Cody Fillinich of Northwestern State at 209-3 while Sean Furey of Dartmouth had the farthest throw at 234-2.
After being denied a chance to compete in the 4x100m relay, junior Antonette Carter had a chance to make something happen in the long jump. The weather began to turn on the athletes as the rain came down harder, slicking the runway and cooling their legs. Sophomore Elzunia Lamb and Carter would compete in neighboring pits. After a first jump of 20-7.75 Carter was second in the entire field behind Tianna Madison of Tennessee who leapt 22-00.25 on her first attempt. Carter took one more jump and improved to 20-8.5, more than enough to advance. Carter, who currently owns a best of 21-4 would end up the fourth best qualifier while Madison would stay on top. Lamb, meanwhile, would finish 25th after improving in her last jump to 19-2.5; an excellent performance considering her personal best of 19-9.5 and the hostile conditions.
The final heartbreak of the evening took place in the men's shot put. Senior Rhuben Williams was staring down his last competition in a Cal uniform after a long five year career with multiple All-American honors. The field of 27 athletes was split between two separate throwing rings where the top 12 throwers would advance to Friday's final. After a mediocre start that saw athletes with bests over 60-0 throw only in the 57-0 range, Williams shot out a decent starting mark of 58-10.25 that put him in fifth in his flight. As the other throwers found their feet for a better second and third round that saw some 60-0 throws, Williams struggled to produce a better mark. His final throw shot out mid-spin as Williams lost his grip on the shot, ending his series. As the judges tabulated the results, the score sheets were sent to the press box without informing the athletes who had qualified. After some confusion as to whether or not Williams was the 'last-man-in' or 'first-man-out' the qualifiers were finally announced as Williams fell one place and two-inches short of advancing.