Junior Nicole Leach set a Drake Stadium record time in the 400-meter hurdles, but so did Nickiesha Wilson of LSU. Wilson beat Leach to win the NCAA Outdoor Championship event in Des Moines, Iowa.
Leach ran her race in 54.62 and finished second to Wilson’s 54.45. Last year, Leach won the race and Wilson was second.
“I felt like I had a pretty good race,” Leach said. “The biggest thing that Bobby (Kersee) and I wanted to work on in the race was alternating coming home and I had a problem at the 10th hurdle. I don’t know if that kind of hindered my finish or not.
“I tried to stay in my race and focus on my step pattern. I didn’t know she was there because I was focused on me.”
Next up for Leach is the Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore., at the end of June.
“This let’s me know what I need to work on – the last hurdle,” Leach said. “Anything can happen at Trials, so I’m just going to get back to practice, work on what needs fixing, and focus running well at Trials.”
Kevin Craddock came into the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, as the winner of the West Regionals and the fourth-ranked hurdler in the nation.
But a nagging groin injury and strep throat kept the junior out of the finals in the 100-meter hurdles.
He finished 24th in his heat race with a time of 14.31 on Thursday.
“Heading into the race I wasn’t too sure about my groin, but I got a great start and midway through the race saw that I was with everyone else and decided to try to push ahead,” said Craddock. “Once I tried to pull ahead, I felt some pain in my groin and was basically dragging the leg. I knew my race was over so I eased up through the finish line.”
Six UCLA men, headed by Greg Garza and Darius Savage in the discus, advanced to events finals which begin today.
For more, go to the UCLA web site.
Junior Nicole Leach will have a chance to repeat as the NCAA champion in the 400 meter hurdles tonight.
She won her heat on Thursday and was the No. 2 qualifier in the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
“I feel fine,” said Leach. “I still have some parts of my race to work on and I need to execute my step pattern better. The first half of the race was good, but I had some problems in the second half. I just need to put it all together and I’ll be fine.”
Nickiesha Wilson of LSU won her heat race as well. Leach’s time in her race was 55.98 and she will start in lane six for the final race. Leach is also on the 4×100 relay team that finished eighth in qualifying. The relay team races on Saturday for the NCAA championship.
“I have so much adrenaline going through me right now,” Leach said. “I’m ready and I’ve known in practice I’m ready. I’m just going to use the crowd on Saturday and my adrenaline to come away with the win.”
Leach is looking beyond NCAAs and has the Olympic on her radar. The Olympic Trials for the track and field team are at the University of Oregon beginning on June 27.
“This is helping to build my confidence,” Leach said. “Once I get to Trials, I know it will be a whole new group of people to compete against. It’ll help to run in front of a large crowd like they have here because there will be a big audience in Oregon.”
Katy Viuf will be competing in the finals of the pole vault today.
For more results, go to the UCLA web site.
Six men on the Bruins track and field team advanced to the finals of the NCAA Outdoor Championships is Des Moines, Iowa, on the first day of the meet, which was interupted by weather delays.
Johnny Quinn and Dustin DeLeo are tops in the pole vault, each clearing 17-2.75 meters. They are in a group of 16 pole vaulters who cleared the same height.
Greg Garza was fourth and Darius Savage was eiighth in the discus.
The UCLA web site has complete results for the Bruins from the first day of the meet.
Three UCLA women advanced to the finals in their events at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Nicole Leach was the No. 1 qualifier in the 400-meter hurdles and Rhonda Watkins is tied for third in the long jump.
Katy Viuf qualified for the finals of the pole vault.
More is on the UCLA web site.