Leach and 4x400m Relay Team Lead Bruin Women at NCAA West Regionals

May 26, 2007

Nicole Leach won her second consecutive 400m hurdles crown and anchored the 4x400m relay team to the West Region title as the Bruins finished third with 67 points at the NCAA West Region Championships in Eugene, OR. Leach crossed the finish line nearly a second over her nearest competitor in the hurdles in a season-best time of 55.49 (old best, 55.60).

Her win in the hurdles marks the fourth time in the regional meet's five year existence that a Bruin has one the 400m hurdles crown (Leach - '07, '06; Sheena Johnson - '04, '03).

The 4x400m relay team of Johanna Monthe, Maris Wisdom, Krystin Lacy and Leach ran a season-best 3:32.55 (old best, 3:33.43) as they won by nearly three seconds.

On the race plan for today's race - 'I wanted to PR, but my main goal was to qualify for NCAA's. I qualified so I'm not too disappointed. I had some trouble over hurdle 10, which slowed me down, but I'll work on that the next two weeks.'

On the 4x400m relay win - The first three girls gave me a great lead so I knew all I had to do was bring it home. It makes it easy to anchor the team when I have those three running the first three legs. We have some improvements to make and we'll work on that the next few weeks and hopefully perform well at NCAA's.'

On the upcoming NCAA Championships - 'I want to run a perfect hurdles race. No mistakes, clean over the hurdles and hit my steps. As far as the relay, I just want us to do the best we can and score points to help the team.'

Head Coach Jeanette Bolden on the relay win - 'Our goal was to come here and qualify the mile relay with a good time, and I think we achieved that goal today. We get better and better every time we run, and hope to put our best foot forward at NCAA's.'

Bolden on Leach's win - 'Nicole is still learning the hurdles, but she's a tremendous athlete. We are blessed to have her. She has shown that she has some great strength and we know she'll have a good showing at Nationals.'

100m - No entries.

200m - No entries.

400m - Maris Wisdom automatically qualified for the NCAA meet with her third-place finish (53.84). Johanna Monthe was eighth in 55.25.

800m - No entries.

1500m - Allie Bohannon finished ninth in a time of 4:27.92 and will not advance to the NCAA meet.

Steeplechase - Ciara Viehweg finished 16th in heat two and x overall, running 10:54.69

100m Hurdles - MacKenzie Hill finished seventh in a time of 13.66.

400m Hurdles - Nicole Leach won in a season-best time of 55.49 (old best, 55.60) to automatically advance to the NCAA Championships. MacKenzie Hill finished sixth in a time of 58.62 and is now eligible for an at-large bid. Hill ranked 21st in the nation heading into the regional meet (58.62).

4x100m Relay - No entries.

4x400m Relay - Johanna Monthe led off with a 54.8 opening leg, followed by a blistering 52.00 leg by Maris Wisdom that put the Bruins handily ahead of the other teams. Krystin Lacy maintained the lead with a 53.6 leg, while Nicole Leach anchored the team to victory with her 51.7 400m as the team won in a season-best time of 3:32.55.

Pole Vault - Jacqueline Nguyen automatically qualified for outdoors with her fourth-place jump of 13-3.75. Ingrid Kantola was sixth with a mark of 12-11.75 and is now in the pool for an at-large bid. Kantola currently ranks fourth in the country and will most likely be chosen for the National meet.

Megan Jamerson and Lindsay Regan tied for 21st with clearances of 12-0.

Triple Jump - Renee Williams finished one spot shy of fifth (automatic qualifier) by one centimeter with a mark of 42-5.25 and is eligible for an at-large bid. However, she currently ranks 32nd on the national list with a mark of 42-5.50 and will most likely not receive a bid in the triple at Nationals.

Keneisha Creary finished just behind Williams in the seventh-place spot with a mark of 41-8.75, while Nicole Duhart was 16th with a jump of 40-3.25.

Discus - No entries.

Hammer - No entries.

Top Five Teams (out of 29 scoring teams)
1. Arizona State, 94 points; 2. USC, 74 points; 3. UCLA, 67 points; 4. Stanford 60 points; 5. San Diego State, 53 points.

Automatic Qualifiers for NCAA's (5)
Nicole Leach (400m hurdles), Jacqueline Nguyen (pole vault), Rhonda Watkins (high/long jump), Renee Williams (long jump), 4x400m relay