O'Hara Wins NCAA Pole Vault Title; Soong Takes Fourth In The Hammer

May 29, 2002

2002 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships
May 29-June 1
Bernie Moore Track Stadium
Baton Rouge, LA

Wednesday, May 29th Results (Day One)

Team Standings:

Women (3 events)-1. UCLA: 15, 2. Clemson and North Carolina State: 10, 4.Liberty, South Florida, Nebraska and Colorado--8, 15: USC--3.

Men (2 events)-1. Georgia: 15, 2. LSU: 11, 3. SMU and Wichita State: 8, 5.Depaul and Southern: 6.

UCLA Women's Head Coach Jeanette Bolden: 'We've stressed to our team thatthis four-day meet is a roller coaster ride, with ups and downs. We're notlooking too far ahead and we're definitely not looking behind. Tracy O'Harais one of our captains and a senior. She did a great job today (before themeet in the hotel) rallying this team together. She's been battling injuryand her coach, Anthony Curran, has done a great job getting her ready forthis meet. I'm so very happy for her. Cari Soong also came through today forthe Bruins and the team race. In the 800m prelims, Tiffany Burgess ran agoodtime, she just happened to be in a very fast heat. She did the best shecouldand we now have to rally around her to keep her spirits up.'


Field Finals

Pole Vault-senior Tracy O'Hara, in a jump-off, cleared 13-9.25, then watchedLiberty's Andrea Wildrick miss at that height, and captured the 2002 NCAAWomen's Outdoor pole vault championship (and picked up 10 team points fortheBruins). O'Hara, who is the current collegiate leader (14-3.25) andcollegiate outdoor record-holder (14-7.25), has been slowed by chronic lowerback pain for the last five weeks (she placed third at the Pac-10 two weeksago). It is O'Hara's third NCAA title (she won both the NCAA Outdoor andIndoor championships as a sophomore in 2000).

'When you are running down the runway and when you are vaulting, youreally don't feel anything,' O'Hara said. 'I erase it (the pain) out of myhead completely when I'm out there. It's great for a victory in my lastcollegiate meet. As a senior, I wanted them one for the team. This means somuch to me and the team.'

Hammer-sophomore Cari Soong placed fourth (getting five team points forUCLA), with a mark of 209-7. Freshman Jessica Cosby did not make the finalround, placing 18th with a mark of 180-10.

'I'm very happy,' Soong said. 'After fouling at the Pac-10 meet, I wasnervous. But my coach (Art Venegas) has really helped me out, kept mefocusedand got me ready for this meet. USC had two throwers in this event and Iwanted to place ahead of them (USC placed sixth and ninth in the women'shammer).

Track Prelims

400m IH-sophomore Sheena Johnson, the two-time defending Pac-10 champion,wonher heat in a time of 57.65, fourth fastest of the day, and advances toFriday's final (as a true freshman last season, Johnson qualified in thisevent but did not make the final). On Thursday, Johnson will run in the 100mhurdle prelims.

'My goal today was to make the finals and so I concentrated a lot onwinning my heat. My time was about average and I am definitely going to haveto run faster if I am going to compete in the finals and be a contender.'

800m-junior Tiffany Burgess, who entered the meet with the nation's top time(2:03.73), placed sixth in her very fast heat with a time of 2:05.04 and wasnot able to advance to Friday's final. Nine runners advance to Friday'sfinaland Burgess' mark was tenth.

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