Friday, June 12, 2009

Jeshua Anderson's NCAA title defense a success...

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Washington State University sophomore Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Mike Scott) successfully defended his NCAA title and lowered his own school record time Friday night at the 2009 NCAA Div. I Track & Field Championships at John McDonnell Field on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.

Anderson, a sophomore from Woodland Hills, Calif., used his long, methodical strides to keep control of the race from the starting gun with only a slight wobble at the ninth hurdle. Anderson powered across the finish line with a school record time of 48.47 seconds and back-to-back NCAA titles. Johnny Dutch, a sophomore from South Carolina finished second in a time of 48.62.

This finish mirrored the 2008 USA Junior Outdoor Championships intermediate hurdles race where Anderson won in 49.28, setting a meet record in Columbus, Ohio, and Dutch took second with a time of 49.74. Anderson went on to run in the 2008 Olympic Trials and to win the 400m hurdles title at the World Junior Championships in Poland where he set the previous WSU record time of 48.68.

When questioned immediately following the race about the slight stumble after the ninth hurdle, Anderson told CBS television commentator Dwight Stones, "I need to work on my alternate leg more but my coaches said to come off of hurdle eight and try to run through it. Hopefully it looked better but that one was nasty. My legs are tired but all of this has been a blessing. I'm happy to be here and I thank God. I know Dutch was on me the whole time and we've been going at it since last year and I'm looking forward to years to come."

Dutch told Stones, "Me and Jesh have both been running hurdles for a while. I remember hearing about this cat back in high school. He is a good competitor, a strong competitor. He pushes me even though he's thousands of miles away."

"Jeshua ran pretty much to perfection tonight, except for that ninth hurdle, and some of that could be from feeling so good at the end of the race that he got a little close. We'll have to look at that on tape because we can't have that happen in two weeks and make the World team," WSU hurdles coach Mark Macdonald said. "The hamstring trouble has probably slowed his development a little bit but based on his races this year I felt he would be strong enough to win. The last month we have only been doing strength work and for the past three weeks I went to practice every day with the only goal of getting Jeshua to the line at this meet in one piece and healthy. The training has been cautious so that probably hurt his chances of a meet record here but with a sore hammy that is what you have to do."

Husky sophomore Scott Roth finished second in the men's pole vault, with a clearance of 18-2.50 (5.55m). His teammate, and last year's runner-up Jared O'Connor failed to clear the opening height of 16-8 3/4 (5.10m).

"I just got out-vaulted today. I had really great jumps in really good conditions. I was jumping well and I was happy with how it was going, but I just simply got out-jumped," said Roth. "It's really cool to jump with a guy like that because it's kind of a wake-up call. But I was still able to clear a lot of bars and to take second-place is very exciting."

Vancouver native Kara Patterson was the national runner-up in the women's javelin throw.

Patterson earns national honors for the second straight season, taking fifth in 2008 and second this year with a mark of 57.96 meters (190-02). She took the lead early, marking 57.47 meters (188-06) on her second throw and held that lead through the third round, before relinquishing it to eventual NCAA Champion Rachel Yurkovich of Oregon. The championship throw marked 59.62 meters (195-07).

"I'm disappointed with second place, but happy with what I've done for Purdue," said Patterson. "It's been great being able to come out here and wear my school colors on the national stage and score points for our team. I'm really excited that this is just another step in my career and can't wait to start competing professionally."

Sophomore Marissa Tschida from WSU finished sixth in the women's javelin final with a toss of 166-feet, 5 inches (50.72m). Tschida's best throw in the Friday final came on her second of six attempts after throwing 168-6 (51.36m) in the Wednesday qualifying round.

Washington's Brooke Pighin finished one place behind Tschida, with a mark of 165-9 (50.53m).

Washington's Mel Lawrence (left/photo by Mike Scott) finished third in the women's 3000 meter steeplechase, as the redshirt freshman from Reno, Nevada lowered her Husky school record to 9:40.98, finishing behind US Olympian Jenny Barringer of Colorado (9:25.54), and Michigan State's Nicole Bush (9:40.49).

Barringer and Bush are both seniors, making Lawrence a major threat next season. This steeplechase was the first time all year she was actually not alone in first from the gun, thus accounting for her big drop in PR.

"I tried to build over the last (thousand meters). I noticed I was getting closer and closer towards (Bush and Franek). I could hear Coach Metcalf's (advice) on the sidelines and I trust him with my life," Lawrence said. "I was digging that last hundred. I went over that last barrier and I was going for it and she just was just a little bit stronger than I was, but it was an awesome last hundred for me."

Husky sophomore Kyle Nielsen finished sixth in the men's javelin, throwing 231-6 (70.56m).

In the women's 5000, Washington's Katie Follett finished 12th, in a time of 16:52.76.

For the Huskies, one of the biggest surprises of the NCAA championships was senior Jordan Boase's failure to qualify for Saturday's finals in the men's 400 meter dash, an event in which he was favored to place in the top four.

In Friday night's semifinals, Boase only ran 46.55.

On the field, Washington State's Trent Arrivey finished ninth in the men's high jump finals, clearing 7-0.25 (2.14m). Ellensburg native Jake Shanklin, a former standout at Spokane CC who now competes for the University of Wyoming, was tenth in the hammer throw with a toss of 207-11 (63.38m).

Once again the weather delayed the meet with an early afternoon storm causing a delay to nearly all events.

WSU's Matt Lamb is their final competitor, and will throw the discus Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Central Time.

Other athletes with Washington affiliations competing on the meet's final day include the University of Washington's Christine Babcock in the women's 1500, and Austin Abbott in the men's 1500. Former Auburn Riverside and UW runner Jordan McNamara, who now runs for Oregon is in the men's 1500m field as well.

Both 1,500m finals will be shown live tomorrow on CBS, a telecast that starts at 10 a.m. Pacific. Seattle viewers can watch the meet on KIRO TV 7 (Comcast HD 107). Live results are available here, and live streaming of the meet is available here.

NOTE: The University of Washington, Washington State University, the University of Arkansas, the NCAA, and Purdue University all contributed to this report.

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