Campbell And Abbott Make History At NCAA's
June 11, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Only five Huskies competed on the second day of the NCAA Track & Field Championships, but it was still an historic day indeed as junior Anita Campbell placed third in the 10,000m run final, scoring six points and earning All-America honors. Earlier, senior Austin Abbott broke the school record at 1,500-meters to make the final.
Campbell, the Pac-10 Champion at 10,000-meters this season in her first year running the distance, was among the lead group from start to finish. The Vancouver, B.C. native covered 25 laps around the track at Arkansas' John McDonnell Field to take third in 33-minutes, 43.33 seconds. Her third-place finish was the best ever by a Husky woman in the 10k, and was good for her first career track All-American honor.
Campbell was a cross country All-American in 2007 and a two-time NCAA Outdoor participant in the 5,000-meters, but this was her first time scoring at a national track meet.
'I've wanted (track All-American honors) for a while now,' said Campbell. 'When I was hurt last year, Coach Metcalf called me after the 10k and said, `You wouldn't have been any worse than second today.' So I kind of had it in my head for a whole year. I knew this was the year to run it. I'm open, my coach doesn't lie to me, so whatever he thinks is best I'll probably do allright at it. It's a growing process, learning how to run it and manage it all.'
In what could have been the final race of his career, Abbott made it one of his best. The Chehalis, Wash. native followed his personal script down to the letter, going from the back of the back early up to just behind the lead group, and then unleashing a powerful finishing kick over the final 150 meters. He crossed the line second in the opening 1,500m semifinal in 3:39.63. That mark wound up being the second-fastest of the day among 27 competitors, but more importantly, it broke Bruce Stirling's school record (3:39.89) which had stood since 1987.
Upon seeing his time, Abbott raised his arms in triumph. His previous personal-best was set earlier this year at the Stanford Invite, which he won in 3:41.62. He also set the school's mile record during the indoor season, running 3:58.23. The senior will be going for his sixth career All-American honor on Saturday in the final, set to air live on CBS at 1:21 p.m. Central.
'It was absolutely perfect,' said Abbott. 'Before the race I was talking to (Coach) Metcalf, and he said he was talking to some guys and thought it was probably going to be fast. It felt kind of hard but when I went to kick I wasn't that tired. I saw that we were at like 2:42 with a lap to go, and I knew I was going to close under 60 for sure so I've got a shot at it. People stayed out of my way, I just picked up my feet down the homestretch and took it down.'
Just prior to Abbott's record run, freshman Christine Babcock ran a new PR in the women's 1,500 semi, earning a spot in the finals as well with a time of 4:16.10. Out of three semifinals, the top-three in each plus the next three fastest times earned finals spots, and Babcock was fifth, so she had to wait and see. But each of the next two heats were well slower, and the Irvine, Calif. native moved on to the final 12. The women's 1,500m final will air on CBS just before the men's, at approximately 1:09.
Junior Kailey Campbell (Seattle, Wash.) was in Babcock's first heat, and went out fast on her own, opening up a lead of at least 20 meters on the rest of the field. But unfortunately she was unable to hang on to the pace, and wound up finishing eighth in the heat in 4:20.10. Her time was 17th out of the 27 participants, still a stellar showing for the Ballard High grad who was one of the most improved runners in the country this year.
The last Husky in action tonight was junior Jake Schmitt in the men's 10k. Schmitt hung with a large chase pack for much of the race, but lost contact with the group two-thirds of the way through and had to set his own pace from there. Schmitt ended up in 22nd-place in a time of 30:22.91. It is his second-straight Top-25 finish in the 10k.
Several Huskies will be competing in finals on Friday, starting with Scott Roth and Jared O'Connor in the men's pole vault. Kyle Nielsen and Brooke Pighin will compete in javelin finals, and Mel Lawrence (steeplechase) and Katie Follett (5,000m) will go for All-American honors in the distances. Jordan Boase has another round of 400-meter dash qualifying to get through as well. All track events will be shown live tomorrow on CBS College Sports TV.
Washington Track & Field
2009 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships
June 11, 2009 - Fayetteville, Ark.
John McDonnell Field
1,500m Run (Semifinal 1 of 3): 5. Christine Babcock, 4:16.10 (advances); 8. Kailey Campbell, 4:20.10 (does not advance; 17th overall); 10,000m Run (Final): 3. Anita Campbell, 33:43.33 (All-American).