NCAA track and field day 2 recap: UA's Lalang cruises to 10K glory, another field title for ASU women

Arizona's Lawi Lalang won the men's 10,000m run and Arizona State's Anna Jelmini took the women's discus throw title to highlight Pac-12 action at the NCAA track and field championships Thursday in Eugene. While the vast majority of events have not concluded, Arizona is tied for fourth in the men's standings and Arizona State is two points behind Kansas for first on the women's ladder.


Lawi Lalang told the ESPN crew that he planned to lay back for the first 18 laps of the men's 10K this evening and then make his charge from there. He didn't quite follow that plan because he was near the top of the heap pretty much the whole race and easily won the 10K with a time of 29:29.65. That's not the first time he's been crowned an NCAA champ this year, and he'll be back at it for some more gold in the 5K on Saturday.

So you already know who won the discus throw, but Arizona fans would be delighted to learn that Julie Labonte finished second in the event (though I'm sure finishing second to a Fork is reason for a little consternation). She saved her best for last, checking in with a throw of 184-06ft./56.25m to mirror her silver finish at the Pac-12 Championships in May.


Another day, another throwing title for the Sun Devils. On the heels of Chelsea Cassulo's hammer throw championship on Wednesday, fellow Fork Anna Jelmini won the discus throw to put Arizona State in second place on the NCAA women's team leader board halfway through the national championship weekend. There wasn't too much drama when it came to the discus, for Jelmini's first throw of 56.38m was good enough to win it. She ended up topping that with her final toss of 190-01ft./57.95m to give herself nearly a six-foot cushion over Labonte. There were more good times to be had for Arizona State in the heptathlon, where Keia Pinnick clocked in with the best 100m hurdles (13.13 seconds) and 200m times (23.60 seconds) as part of a fourth-place standing more than halfway through her seven events (3,530 points).


Things didn't go according to plan for the Golden Bears' two competitors on Thursday. Ray Stewart wasn't able to eclipse his 110m hurdles time of 13.43 seconds that won him the Pac-12 title in May and did not advance to the finals of his event after posting a 13.89 and coming up a little limp at the end (he apparently hurt his ankle earlier in the week). Pac-12 long jump champ Hammed Suleman could not repeat a 25-11.50ft./7.91m (wind-aided) performance that earned him conference glory, instead falling short at 24-00.75ft./7.33m to land in 21st and miss out on an extra three throws. The remaining hope for Tony Sandoval and crew is women's triple jumper Amanda Hunter. She'll compete Friday at 3:25 p.m.


Emma Coburn was named USTFCCCA Mountain Region Women's Track Athlete of the Year for a reason. The reason? The 3,000m steeplechase, which she absolutely owned in Thursday's preliminary stage in Tracktown, USA. The Buff graduate cruised to a first-place finish in her heat (and the whole semifinal stage for that matter) with a time of 9:46.76, more than nine seconds faster than her closest competitor. Thus, Coburn easily advanced to the 3,000-meter steeplechase finals and is by far and away the favorite to win the event. The only real question is whether or not she can top Jenny Barringer's collegiate record of 9:25.54 (she was a Buff, too).


You're not going to see the Ducks atop either leader board right now, but Robert Johnson's guys and gals continue to qualify themselves for finals and put the Quacks in multiple positions to earn big points on Friday and Saturday. Thursday's results saw Oregon qualify athletes in the men's and women's 1,500m run, 110m hurdles and men's and women's 4x400m relay. Meanwhile, Greg Skipper contributed the first five points of the weekend to the men's effort with his fourth-place showing in the hammer throw, while Parker Stinson contributed another three with a sixth-place finish in the 10K.


The Cardinal didn't have much action at Historic Hayward Field today, but Kori Carter did earn herself a second finals berth by finishing second in her 100m hurdles heat with a time of 12.94 seconds. Carter will be competing for Cardinal points tomorrow in the 400m hurdles, while Justine Fedronic and Amy Weissenbach will contribute to the Chris Miltenberg effort in the 800m.    


A whole lotta combined events action for the Bru Cru on Thursday. Marcus Nilsson and Dominic Giovannoni wrapped up the decathlon in third (six points to UCLA) and 13th place, respectively, while Tatum Souza is in 10th after one day and four events of the heptathlon. Concrete points were also recorded by Alec Faldermeyer in the men's hammer throw. He hurled that bad boy 213-10ft./65.18m to register a seventh-place finish and round up a couple of tallies for the men's team. All in all, the UCLA track team added three more to its All-American total.


Sprinter Bryshon Nellum has a heck of a story. While advancing to the 200m dash finals more than four years after getting shot in both legs would be a heartwarming story for anyone, it is far from the first thing that the Olympian Nellum has accomplished since that unfortunate incident on Halloween in 2008. Nellum ran 19.99 in his 200m heat today, and while it was wind-aided, it was the best time of all 24 competitors on the track.

More importantly from a team perspective, Remy Conatser finished second in the men's hammer throw with a 224-01ft./68.30m-toss to earn the Men of Troy eight points. It has been a while, but don't forget that the USC men have won 26 national championships.


The Utes sent just one athlete to Eugene, but that Ute is making a lasting impression-- Amanda Mergaert qualified for the 1,500m finals on Saturday by finishing fifth in her heat with a time of 4:14.89. Mergaert also had the fifth-fastest qualifying time out of those who moved on to the finals, and she is one of four Pac-12ers to advance to the final 12 in this event (Arizona State's Shelby Houlihan and Oregon's Anne Kesselring and Becca Friday being the others).


Things were looking very good for Jeremy Taiwo after his first event today in the decathlon, topping the group in the 110m hurdles with a 14.16 to pad his first-place lead. Unfortunately for him, things came undone in the discus throw, where he tossed the object farther than just one other competitor (Oregon's Dakotah Keys). He bounced back with solid showings in the pole vault and 1,500m, but the javelin throw sandwiched in between stifled Taiwo's quest for decathlon gold as he ended up in second and 28 points behind Texas' Johannes Hock.

 Click here for the complete Thursday results from Eugene.

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