Friday, June 13, 2014

Michael Berry's stretch run falls short in 400 finals at NCAA championships...

EUGENE--Oregon senior Michael Berry (above on left/photo courtesy University of Oregon) gamely tried to hang on to the lead he built but it wasn't quite enough as the Rainier Beach HS grad was 5/100th of a second short of winning an NCAA 400 meter title in his final home meet as a Duck on day three of the NCAA track & field championships at Hayward Field on the Oregon campus.

At the gun, Berry charged to the lead and had the lead coming off the Bowerman Curve headed for home, but collegiate leader Deon Lendore of Texas A&M made a move and overtook Berry in the last few meters to win a thrilling race in 45.02 to Berry's 45.07.

In the mixed zone afterwards, Berry, who was going for the win, planned to make a final move with 120 meters to go.

"I was anxious," he said. "I could have waited another 10 meters, but Deon's a great opponent and it was a great race. … This was my last race as a Duck, running for these home fans. I definitely wanted to go out with a bang."

Berry's second place finish has team implications for the Ducks, who currently lead after the end of day 3 with 53 points over second place Florida.

Berry was originally slated to run along with Foss HS product Marcus Chambers on Oregon's 4 x 400 relay, but they were disqualified for a lane violation Thursday night when second leg Arthur Delaney stepped on the inside of the lane on consecutive strides.

In the men's 800 finals, Washington's Derrick Daigre, the reigning Pac-12 champ, was the first Husky to make an appearance in the men’s 800-meter finals since Austin Abbott in 2008. 

The native of Kent went out of lane seven and got to the front of the pack with an aggressive first lap, and went into the final lap in a perfect spot, sitting third. But with 300-meters to go, Daigre began to lose ground, and tied up with 200-meters left. He had to settle for eighth-place, in 1:50.83.

Pac-12 pole vault champ Diamara Planell Cruz of the Huskies finished in a tie for tenth with a best of 13-7 1/4 (4.15m).

The junior transfer and Puerto Rican product opened with a second-attempt make at 12-9 ½ (3.90m), then had a first effort clear of 13-3 ½ (4.05m). Moving up to 13-7 ¼ (4.15m), Planell Cruz missed her first two tries but came up with a clutch third attempt clean effort to stay in the mix. But going into an increasing headwind, Planell Cruz struggled at the next bar, and could not get over 13-9 ¼ (4.20m).

In the women's 3000 steeplechase, Washington junior Liberty Miller finished tenth in a personal best of 10:03.34, the third straight race that she's earned a personal best.

Miller was with the main group for the first few laps, but could not hang on with about four laps to go.

In Saturday's competition, the only athletes with Washington ties remaining at the NCAA championships are University of Washington javelin throwers Quinn Hale and Carson Fuller, who throw at 12:35 pm.

On the pro circuit, Vancouver's two-time US Olympian Kara Patterson will compete in Saturday's adidas Grand Prix in New York's Icahn Stadium, part of the IAAF Diamond League circuit.

Patterson will throw against a field that includes 2012 Olympic Games bronze medalist Linda Stahl of Germany, and Olympic finalist Kathryn Mitchell of Australia.

University Place resident Andrea Geubelle, the reigning US national champ, is entered in the triple jump, where she'll face fellow American Amanda Smock and Kimberly Williams of Jamaica, who is currently fourth in the the 2014 Diamond League standings in the triple jump.

Seattle Pacific grad Jessica Tebo of the Brooks Beasts is in the women's 3000, as she will face world and Olympic 10000 medalist Sally Kipyego of Kenya along with American Olympian Kim Conley and Mercy Cherono of Kenya, currently in third in the Diamond League 3000m standings.

Looking ahead to Sunday, several athletes with Washington ties are entered in the Portland Track Festival at Lewis & Clark Stadium Saturday and Sunday nights.

The meet is set up as a high-performance opportunity for elite and emerging elites to obtain qualifying marks, with an emphasis on middle and long distance events for the upcoming USA national championships in Sacramento.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of the University of Washington, and the University of Oregon, contributed to this report.

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