Saturday, June 9, 2007

2007 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships Highlights

Walter Dix of Florida State lead his team to a second straight team title winning the 100m dash, the 200m dash and helping the FSU win the 4x100m Relay in 38.60. Dix' time of 9.93 in the 100m was the fastest time in the world this year and just 1/100th off of Ato Bolden's NCAA record of 9.92. Dix is looking ahead to the U.S. Championships or Osaka to try and beat the record. His winning time in the 200m was a slowish 20.31 compared to his phenomenal 19.69 from a couple of weeks ago. Arizona State took the women's team title.

Other highlights included a tightly-contested men's 1500m final, a tactical women's 1500m race and Baylor's ubiquitous 4x400m Relay team, who competed in their 4,307,683rd straight NCAA final.

Seriously, this was "only" Baylor's 27th straight NCAA Final in the men's 4x400m Relay. Their victory today in 3:00.04 gave the Baylor relay team (Reggie Witherspoon, LeJerald Betters, Kevin Mutai, Quentin Summers) their 14th NCAA Championship title and tied them with the United States "Blue" team of David Neville David, Wallace Spearmon, Kerron Clement and Bershawn Jackson for the world's fastest time in 2007. Betters ran a blazing 44.1 second leg to put the race away early for Baylor.

Stephen Pifer of Colorado acted as the sacrificial lamb in the men's 1500m run. He did all of the hard work in taking the field through 1100m in 2:43, but his noble effort to steal the race from the kickers left him exhausted. The kickers prevailed anyway, running the last lap in under 55 seconds. Leonel Manzano of Texas began his kick with just over 300m to go, but Lopez Lomong of Northern Arizona drafted him the entire way then outkicked him to win in 3:37.07 to Manzano's 3:37.48. Russell Brown of Stanford drove hard for home, nearly nipping Manzano at the tape. Brown finished 3rd in 3:37.56. Vincent Rono of South Alabama also finished in under 3:38, putting all four top finishers among the world's 18 fastest metric milers of the world in 2007.

The women's 1500m race featured some nice racing tactics by the three-woman Stanford contingent of Arianna Lambie, Alicia Follmar and Lauren Centrowitz. Follmar and Centrowitz surged to the lead and formed a wall, trying to box Brie Felnagle of North Carolina while Lambie took over the lead and opened a gap. Felnagle quickly closed the gap and went to Lambie's shoulder. With just under a lap to go, Felnagle tried to pass Lambie, but Lambie boldly moved out to the second lane to counter Felnagle's move. Felnagle was just too strong, however, and she eventually overtook Lambie and stayed in the lead, winning in a solid 4:09.93. Susan Kuijken of Florida State outkicked Lambie to take second in 4:11.34. Lambie finished 3rd in 4:12.29.

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