USATF News & Notes: 3/15/2004

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    Ryan
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    NCAA Indoor Championships wrap-up

    LSU’s track and field program made history Saturday by becoming the first school ever to sweep both the men’s and women’s indoor national titles at the same event with their victories at the 2004 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This marks the third time that LSU has won the men’s and women’s titles at the same NCAA Championship, accomplishing the feat in both 1989 and 1990 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

    Senior Muna Lee led the Lady Tigers by climaxing an undefeated season in the 60-meter dash with the successful defense of her national title. The 17-time All-American won in 7.21 seconds to become just the fourth athlete in NCAA history, and the first Lady Tiger, to ever win back-to-back titles in the event.

    The Lady Tigers won their third straight indoor crown, and their 11th overall, sliding past runner-up Florida in the final event of the evening, the 4×400-meter relay. LSU entered the race three points behind the Gators and needed a strong showing in the final event to take the lead. The foursome of Hazelann Regis, Neisha Bernard-Thomas, Monique Hall and Nadia Davy posted a school record 3 minutes, 30.14 seconds to finish second, while Florida followed in fifth as the Lady Tigers squeaked out the 52-51 team victory.

    The LSU men’s squad also used the 4×400 to clinch its second indoor national title. Entering the final event with a seven and a half point lead over Florida, the Tigers needed to simply finish the race and have the Gators place second or lower. The quartet of Robert Parham, Pete Coley, Bennie Brazell and Kelly Willie clocked a solid 3:04.69 to finish in fifth, while Florida placed fourth (3:04.49), securing the national title for the Tigers.

    The two NCAA crowns brings LSU’s national championship count to 30, including 27 titles under the direction of head coach Pat Henry.

    Top Five Women’s Teams: 1. LSU – 52 points; 2. Florida – 51; 3. Nebraska – 45.5; 4. Tennessee – 43; 5. UCLA – 40. Top Five Men’s Teams: 1. LSU – 44.5; 2. Florida – 38; 3. Arkansas – 38; 4. Texas – 31; 5. Michigan – 28.

    At the NCAA Division II Championships at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center in Boston, Abilene Christian University won its third straight championship on Saturday, while Lincoln University took home the women’s crown. ACU won the men’s title with 55 points, with Lincoln winning the women’s championship with 64 points.

    The ACU men’s team was led by senior Bernard Manirakiza, who added two more national titles to the three he owns from 2003. He won the 800 meters in 1.50.32 and the mile in 4.03.83, which he completed with only one shoe. ACU sophomore Yevgen Pashchenko took first place in the triple jump (15.73m/51-07.25) while teammate Ben Washington, who won the outdoor title a year ago, finished second.

    Lincoln was led by senior Nikkesha Maynard, who won the 60m hurdles (8.67) and finished second in the long jump (5.86m/19-02.75). Sophomore Marlene Smith took the top honor in the 400 meters (55.05) and teammate Moya Thompson finished a close second (55.16).

    Abilene Christian’s men scored 55 points to capture first place while St. Augustine’s finished second with 50 points. On the women’s side, Lincoln secured first place in the overall championship in the final event of the day by finishing second in the 4×400 relay. Lincoln tallied 64 points to capture its first NCAA Indoor Championship. Adams State was second with 50 points.

    Top Five Men’s Teams: 1. Abilene Christian – 55 points; 2. St. Augustine’s – 50; 3. Adams State – 35; 4. Lincoln – 33; 5. North Dakota State – 23. Top Five Women’s Teams: 1. Lincoln – 64; 2. Adams State – 58; North Dakota State – 48; 4. Abilene Christian – 46; 5. St. Augustine’s – 25.

    Elsewhere, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse men and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh women took home team titles at the 2004 Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships Saturday in Whitewater, Wisconsin.

    On the men’s side, Wisconsin-La Crosse scored the second highest point total in championship history to win its fourth consecutive crown and 11th overall. UW-La Crosse amassed 70 points, with Lincoln University (Pa.) and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater tied for second place with 29 points apiece. Nebraska Wesleyan University (28) and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (25) rounded out the top five. La Crosse senior Andrew Rock led the way Saturday, winning the 400 meters in a Division III record time of 46.42, giving him three consecutive indoor 400 titles. Rock also anchored the Eagles 4×400 relay, which also set a Division III record of 3:12.79. Rock was joined by Derek Toshner, Eric Svestka, and Jeremy Deterville.

    In women’s competition, Wisconsin-Oshkosh earned its fourth title and ended Wheaton College’s five-year run as champions. Oshkosh tallied 56.5 points to outdistance Wheaton College (28), Bates College (Maine) and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (23), and the University of Wisconsin-Stout (21). UW-O’s points Saturday came from Liz Woodworth, who placed first in the 800 meters with a Kachel Fieldhouse record of 2:10.76. Woodworth also anchored the Titans distance medley relay team Friday. Robyn Jarocki finished second in the shot put.

    For more information on the 2004 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, visit: http://www.NCAASports.com.

    Keflezighi wins again at Gate River

    After a fierce battle with fellow 2000 Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, Meb Keflezighi of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., won his fourth consecutive USA men’s 15 km road title Saturday at the 2004 Gate River Run in Jacksonville, Florida. His time of 43 minutes, 18 seconds edged Abdirahman by two seconds. Keflezighi, 28, joins Team Running USA teammate Deena Kastor (formerly Drossin) as the only four-time consecutive 15 km national champions. U.S. 15 km record holder Todd Williams earned five USA 15 km titles.

    In the women’s race, three-time Olympian Colleen De Reuck of Boulder, Colo., won her first USA 15 km crown decisively. She and national runner-up Sylvia Mosqueda of Los Angeles, both prepping for the upcoming Olympic Marathon Trials in St. Louis, ran side-by-side until the 4 kilometer mark before De Reuck, 39, broke free and continued to build her lead. Her final winning margin was over a minute, 49:02 to 50:08.

    In a new twist at Gate River, the elite women were given a 5:16 head start to compete for the inaugural “Equalizer Bonus” of $5,000 presented to the first champion to cross the finish line. De Reuck held the Bonus lead until just past the 8-mile mark before being overtaken by the men’s leaders Keflezighi and Abdirahman. The final margin of Bonus victory was 28 seconds, with the battle being won on the home stretch.

    The duel between Keflezighi and Abdirahman, who resides in Tucson, was joined from the start. Eventual third place finisher, Chris Graff, the 2003 USA 10 Mile national champion, stayed close for the first five miles until the top two began to lengthen their advantage. The pair ran together through mile 8 and then traded the lead until Keflezighi – who recently finished second at the Olympic Marathon Trials to earn a trip to Athens – took control with 200 meters to go.

    For his “double” win, Keflezighi took home $15,000 including the Equalizer Bonus with De Reuck claiming a check of $10,000. For their national runner-up finishes, Abdirahman and Mosqueda each earned $4,000 as part of the record $52,000 USA Championships prize purse.

    As the second stop for men and first event for women on the 2004 USA Running Circuit, the top 10 U.S. runners earned USARC points at Gate River. With his win, Keflezighi moved into first place with 39 points, while Olympic Marathon Trials champion Alan Culpepper is second (30 points). For the women, De Reuck, the 2002-03 USARC GP champion, holds the #1 spot in the standings.

    The USARC, a USA Track & Field road series, features USA Championships from the 5 km to the marathon and offers over $820,000 in prize money. Per USARC race, the first ten U.S. runners earn points (15 for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1) with a final $12,500 grand prix purse ($6,000, $4,000 and $2,500) for the top three men and women.

    For more information on the 2004 USA 15 km Championships, including the complete results, visit: http://www.usatf.org.

    National Track & Field Hall of Fame nominations sought

    Individuals who would like to nominate an athlete, coach or contributor to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame may do so through May 1. Nomination information, forms, deadlines and criteria are available at the USATF Web site at: http://www.usatf.org/athletes/hof/nominations

    One hundred ninety-eight athletes, coaches and contributors currently are members of the Hall of Fame, which reopened earlier this year at its new location at the Armory Track & Field Center at 168th in New York City. The Class of 2004 will be inducted this December at the Jesse Owens Awards Dinner and Xerox Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by The Document Company – Xerox. The dinner is part of USA Track & Field’s 2004 Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.

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