Overall team depth proved decisive in determining Pac-10 track and field team champions.
May 15, 2005
Cardinal distance runners Sara Bei (16:47.57 minutes) and Alicia Craig (16:58.88 minutes) finished first and second in the women's 5000 meter run respectively, and two other Stanford runners scored to give their team a whopping 24 points in a single event, effectively clinching Stanford's first-ever women's team title.
The Cardinal women finished the two-day tournament with 173 points, ending UCLA's eight year run as a team champions. The Bruins finished second overall, scoring 125 points, while Arizona State finished third with 118.
In the men's competition, Oregon edged UCLA 152-134.5 to win the team championship, finishing second in both the 4x100 meter relay and 4x400 meter relay. The Duck's Eric Mitchum (13.59 seconds) took first and teammate AK Ikwuakor (13.96) took third in the 110 meter hurdles, while Duck distance runner Galen Rupp finished fourth in the 5000, giving Oregon five crucial points to seal the team victory. Arizona State finished third with 122 points.
The 4,586 spectators that filed into Drake Stadium saw a number of notable performances. For the men, USC's Jesse Williams was literally head and shoulders above the competition, with a meet and school record of 7 feet 5.75 inches in the high jump.
Fellow Trojan Allen Simms came up big in the clutch, with a huge jump of 54 feet 5 inches, coming from behind to win the triple jump in his final attempt, narrowly edging Oregon's Leonidas Watson.
Arizona's Robert Cheseret ran the final 400 meters of the 5000 in a scorching 58 seconds to pull ahead of Stanford's duo of Ryan Hall and Ian Dobson.
'To beat those two (Hall and Dobson) felt great,' Cheseret said. 'They were running really hard.'
Washington's Ryan Brown (1:47.31 minutes) emerged first in what turned out to be a very competitive 800 meter run, narrowly edging out UCLA's Jon Rankin (1:47.39) and USC's Raphael Asafo-Agyei (1:47.39). Every runner in that field finished under 1:50. Rankin did, however, defend his Pac-10 championship in the 1500 meter run, winning with a time of 3:44.61 minutes.
'I just wanted to stay involved in the race, and I was able to run pretty fast today,' he said. '(Drake Stadium) is the best place in the world to run.'
On the women's side, past champions proved they're still at the top of their game, while up-and-comers established themselves as the new golden standard.
UCLA's Monique Henderson defended her title in both the 200 and 400 meter dash, while fellow Bruin and defending national champion Chelsea Johnson won the pole vault, breezing through with a mark of 13 feet 7.25 inches.
Stanford's Erica McLain, set a meet record and collegiate best mark of 45 feet 2.5 inches in the triple jump, defeating UCLA's Candice Baucham, the two-time defending Pac-10 champion in that event. Despite her impressive mark, the precocious freshman was happier more with team success than her own.
'It was an O.K. day,' she said. 'It wasn't what I was looking for. A win for the Lady Cardinal is all I'm happy about.'
UCLA's Kamaiya warren shattered her previous personal best, setting a new mark by winning the discus throw with a mark of 183 feet 3 inches.
Perhaps the biggest winner on the day, USC's Virginia Powell took first in the 100 meter hurdles, 100 meter dash, and was the leadoff runner for the Women of Troy's winning 4x100 meter relay team.
'I was really focused out there and just ran very hard,' she said.