Saturday, June 9, 2012

Katie Flood returns home and revives the blue magic in winning NCAA 1500m title...

DES MOINES, Iowa--Returning to the scene where she won six career Drake Relay titles and six Iowa state track crowns, the University of Washington's Katie Flood (left/photo by James Kirby, came through in the heat of Des Moines to win the NCAA 1500 meter title at the blue oval of Drake Stadium on the campus of Drake University.

Flood, the product of nearby Dowling Catholic HS, ran 4:13.79, as she started towards the back of the pack at around ninth place as the field passed the finish line for the first time in the 3 3/4 lap race.

Each lap got progressively quicker, as she worked her way to third with two laps to go, as laps two and three were in about 71 & 67 seconds.

On the final lap, Flood, who was on the outside and briefly in fourth, covered a move in the next 200 made by Florida State's Amanda Winslow. The pack swallowed up Winslow, and Flood emerged the leader.

With Georgetown's Emily Infeld and Pac-12 champ Jordan Hasay in hot pursuit, Flood used the emotional energy from the hometown crowd and a national audience watching on ESPNU, along with a 62 second last lap to ride to the victory, with Infeld second at 4:14.02, and Hasay third at 4:14.03.

"It's kind of surreal, I don't think it's sunk in yet, but I'm just so grateful and so grateful to be here and be able to win on my home track," said Flood. "The last seven hundred (meters) was pretty quick, and we've been training and preparing for a race like that, so I felt pretty good."

Asked if she thought this was possible, Flood replied "I've wanted it for a while. In my head I knew it was possible, I just tried to keep all the nerves out of the way and just run and have fun. This would have to be the best race I've ever won here. So much work has gone into it. So many people to thank for what happened today."

Flood becomes the second Husky to win the NCAA 1500 meter crown, as Amy Lia won the title in 2006 in Sacramento.

Bellingham's Becca Friday from Oregon finished a non-scoring ninth in 4:16.38.

In the women's 5000, the blue oval magic that Flood had came just .03 seconds short for fellow Husky sophomore Megan Goethals, as the Rochester, Michigan native and former Foot Locker national cross country champ finished second to Dartmouth's Abbey D'Agostino, 16:11.34 to 16:11.37.

After a very pedestrian first mile that was run at mid-to-high 80 second pace partly due to the heat, which hovered in the 90-degree range, the pace dropped to the mid 70-second range for the next seven laps, with Goethals always near the front prepared to cover any moves.

The top seeded Eastlake HS and Seattle Pacific alum Jessica Tebo of Colorado, who was looking to add an NCAA Division I individual title to the myriad of championships won at the Division II level, dropped the hammer with a 69.9 penultimate lap and seemed poised to make a run for the victory in her final collegiate race.

However, D'Agostino and Goethals would have none of that, as they both finished with a 67.00 and a 67.08 final lap, with Tebo fading to a 70.79.

"I knew the last two laps were going to be an all-out sprint, just because we were going so slow," said Goethals. "The last lap I felt like I had a little something left, and Jessica and Abbey had broken away. I just told myself to try and stay right on their backs with two-hundred (meters) to go. With a hundred I honestly thought I was going to get her. My legs tied up, I tried to push as hard as I could and lean at the end. I thought I had her then I looked at the board and saw `oh, .03!' It would have been great since Katie had won the 1,500 but I can't be disappointed. I was sixth last year so this was a big improvement. I'm lucky enough to have Katie to train with and a lot of times I'm behind her, so I've gotten good at trying to hold on," Goethals said with a laugh.

The 18 points from Flood & Goethals, combined with Logan Miller's fourth place finish in the pole vault, gave the Huskies an eighth-place finish, the best in school history, as LSU won with 76 points over favored Oregon's 62.

On the field, University Place resident and Curtis HS grad Andrea Geubelle (left/photo by Mike Scott), along with many of those in the stadium, thought she had added the national outdoor title in the triple jump to the indoor crown she won in Nampa in March.

In third after the preliminary rounds, Geubelle bounded to a wind-aided 46-11 3/4 (14.32m) to apparently take the lead from Southern Mississippi's Ganna Demydova, who jumped 46-7 1/4 (14.20m) in round one.

However, Southern Miss head coach Kevin Stephen protested the jump and a post-competition video review involving three independent judges decided that Geubelle was over the line and that Demydova was the national champion.

After the successful protest from the Golden Eagle staff, Geubelle's third round jump of 45-5 (13.84m) was her best mark of the day.

“Right now, it just hurts more than anything,” Geubelle said to Tom Keegan of just before boarding the team bus back to Lawrence. “There was some bitterness about me winning, and rules are rules. If I fouled, I fouled. The thing that breaks my heart the most is, I jumped the farthest out there today, no matter what.”

One question that must be asked after this is if Geubelle did foul, why wasn't the protest made at the time?

Complete day 4 results from the NCAA track & field championships are available here.

NOTE:  The University of Washington, the University of Kansas, and the NCAA contributed to this report.

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