A third consecutive day of sunshine and warm temperatures greeted fans and competitors Friday at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. A total of 16 athletes were crowned champions. Oregon's Brianne Theisen claimed her third title in the women's heptathalon while Southern Utah's Cameron Levins won his second title in three days at Drake Stadium with his victory in the men's 5,000 meters, following his 10,000-meter conquest on Wednesday.
Notes on Friday's action:
Friday's announced attendance was 4,683.
The sun shone over the blue oval the entire day with temperatures staying in the mid 80s. A slight wind fluctuated from seven to 13 mph throughout the afternoon.
Collegiate Season Bests
- Alexander Ziegler, Virginia Tech, men's hammer throw, 248-7
- Amaechi Morton, Stanford, men's 400 hurdles, 48.76
- Nachelle Mackie, BYU, women's 800, 2:01.06
- Tony McQuay, Florida, men's 400, 44.58
- Brianne Theisen, Oregon, heptathlon, 6,440
- Omar Craddock, Florida, men's triple jump, 56-6 1/4
- Jack Whitt, Oral Roberts, men's pole vault, 18-6 1/2
- Ashley Spencer, Illinois women's 400, 50.95
- Alexander Ziegler, Virginia Tech, men's hammer throw
- Brigetta Barrett, Arizona, women's high jump
- Tony McQuay of Florida improved his No. 3-ranked time in the men's 400 to 44.58.
Lucky Number Seven
Oregon's Brianne Theisen dominated the competition in winning the heptathlon for the third time. Theisen finished with 6,440 points, which ranks second on the all-time collegiate list. Barbara Nwaba of UC Santa Barbara was second with 5,927 points. Theisen won her previous heptathlon titles in 2009 and 2010 and was fourth in 2008. This latest title gives Theisen seven NCAA championships for her career (three heptathlon, three indoor pentathlon, outdoor 4x400 relay). Only three women have won more combined indoor-outdoor titles: Colette Guidry of Texas with 12, Suziann Reid of Texas with 10 and Suzy Favor of Wisconsin with nine.
Levins Livin' High
Southern Utah's Cameron Levins followed up his championship in Wednesday's men's 10,000 with a victory in the 5,000, the first runner to sweep those events since Oregon's Galen Rupp in 2009. Levins is the first Southern Utah athlete to win an NCAA title in track. He ran his final lap in 54.4 seconds and sprinted to the finish to beat Paul Chelimo of UNC Greensboro and Arizona's Lawi Lalang.
Was That Ever Close
The top three finishers in the men's 100 all were clocked in 10.28, so their marks had to be carried out to the thousandths of a second to determine the winner. It was Andrew Riley of Illinois in 10.272. Auburn's Harry Adams was second in 10.274 and Florida State's Maurice Mitchell took third in 10.277. Riley will go for the title in the 110 hurdles on Saturday.
Oregon's English Gardner outran LSU stars Kimberlyn Duncan and Semoy Hackett to win the women's 100, a race that featured two schools battling for the team title. Gardner, who was seventh last year, finished in 11.10. Duncan ran 11.16 for her second straight runner-up finish, while Hackett took third at 11.33. Oregon picked up 10 team points in the race, while LSU got 14.
Stanford's Amaechi Morton completed a steady climb to the championship in the men's 400 hurdles. Morton finished third in 2010, second last year and won this year's title in 48.76, the top collegiate mark this year. Amaechi had the previous best of 48.95 in winning the Pac-12 title.
Alexander Wins Another
Virginia Tech's Alexander Ziegler came up with the top collegiate mark of the season in winning the men's hammer throw for the second straight year. Ziegler threw 248-7, topping the previous best of 242-9 by Princeton's Conor McCullough. McCullough, who also was the top regional qualifier, did not compete in the NCAA meet because he failed to meet academic requirements. Drake Relays champion Jeremy Postin was second at 227-11. Ziegler is a former under-23 national champion in his native Germany and finished second at the 2010 NCAA meet.
LSU's Cassandra Tate made up for last year's heartbreak when she won the women's 400 hurdles in 55.22. Tate reached the finals last year with the third-best time from the semifinals but was disqualified. She overtook UCLA's Turquoise Thompson in the stretch and beat the Bruins junior by .06 seconds.
Thompson also was the runner-up last year.
Jock Makes Sure
Charles Jock of UC Irvine made sure nobody caught him this time in the men's 800. Last year, Jock led the race until Virginia's Robby Andrews caught him in the final meter and edged Joc by four-hundredths of a second for the title. Jock again raced to the lead on Friday and stayed in front, finishing in 1:45.59 to hold off hard-charging Erik Sowinski of Iowa, who took second in 1:45.90.
Make It A Double
First she won the NCAA indoor title in the women's 800. Now BYU's Nachelle Mackie has the outdoor crown to go with it. Mackie outran a good field to win in 2:01.06, topping her own collegiate best this season of 2:01.11. Defending champion Anne Kesselring of Oregon finished fifth in 2:03.41.
Florida's Tony McQuay turned it on in the straightaway to win the men's 400 in 44.58, the best collegiate mark this year. McQuay, who was second at last year's NCAA meet, remains No. 3 on the world list but with an improved time. He had run the previous season best, 44.67, in the semifinals.
In a field that had only one senior, Illinois freshman Ashley Spencer won the women's 400 in 50.95, the top collegiate mark this year. Spencer the previous best at 51.02. She was the Big Ten champion in the 200 and 400 and helped the Illini win the 4x400 relay.
A Drake Double
Oklahoma's Tia Brooks won the women's shot put at the Drake Relays this year and in her return to Drake Stadium, she added the NCAA Title to her collection. Brooks threw 60 feet, 6 inches to beat runner-up Brittany Smith of Illinois State by more than 2 feet. Smith also was the runner-up in the hammer throw on Thursday. Hammer champion Jeneva McCall of Southern Illinois finished third in the shot.
Barrett Wins Again
Arizona junior Brigetta Barrett keeps adding high jump championships to her resume. Barrett cleared 6-4 to win the women's event for the second straight year. She also was the indoor champion this year.
- 100 -- Isiah Young, Mississippi, 10.09
- 400 -- Errol Nolan, Houston, 45.28
- 1500 -- Zach Dahleen, Southern Illinois, 3:41.18
- 110 hurdles -- Devon Hill, Miami, 13.58
- 4x400 relay -- Baylor, 3:03.69
- 200 -- Aurieyall Scott, UCF, 22.76
- 800 -- Justine Fedronic, Stanford, 2:03.54
- 1500 -- Jillian Smith, Michigan, 4:13.59
- Steeplechase -- Ruth Senior, New Mexico, 10:13.48
- 4x100 relay -- Auburn, 44.01
- 4x400 relay -- Tennessee, 3:31.57
With finishes of fourth (Jessica Flax), eighth (Dorcas Akinniyi) and 10th (Deanna Latham), Wisconsin became the third team in NCAA history to place three athletes in the top 10 of the NCAA championships heptathlon. UCLA accomplished the feat in 1983 behind champion Jackie Joyner (first, fifth, eighth), as did LSU in 1991 behind champion Sharon Jaklofsky (first, fifth, ninth).
With seven events to go Florida leads the men's team competition with 36 points. Virginia Tech is in second with 28 and Arizona in third with 24. LSU and Oregon share the lead in the women's competition at 40 points a piece. Oklahoma is the next closest team with 24 points.
Single-day tickets for Saturday are available for $30 by calling (515) 271-DOGS, or visiting www.ncaa.com/tickets to purchase online.
--special thanks to Chuck Schoffner for compilation of notes