NCAA: Day 1 - 9June05-

Fast sprint hurdles heats highligh first day of NCAA Championships
Thursday 9 June 2005
Sacramento, California - There were no finals, and few if any casualties, on the first day of the NCAA Championships.

Perhaps the best performance of the day was the single Long Jump taken by indoor Long Jump champion Tianna Madison of Tennessee, a slightly windy (+2.1) jump of 6.71m, 0.32 longer than the next-best qualifying mark. Madison also led off Tennessee’s 4x100 relay team, whose 43.75 was second only to Texas’ 43.60.

The 400m heats looked like fulfilling their predicted place as the two hottest and most interesting events in the meet. Heat winners Andrae Williams of Texas Tech (45.41), Ricardo Chambers of Florida State and JAM (45.77), and Kelly Willie of Louisiana State (45.88) looked like they might be able to challenge Olympic relay gold medalist Darold Williams of Baylor, except that Williamson slowed to a jog over the last 30 metres of his heat-winning 45.71.

In the women’s 400m, another U.S. relay gold medalist, Monique Henderson of UCLA similarly coasted through her heat to win in 51.56. Her chief expected challenger here, Tiandra Ponteen of Florida and St. Kitts and Nevis, also won her heat impressively in 51.85.

Emerging star Virginia “Ginny” Powell of Southern California, who attacks the hurdles as if she wants to kill them, turned in perhaps the best performance of the day, winning her semifinal of the women’s 100m Hurdles in12.73 (PB) into a 0.8 m/s headwind. The only two others under 13 seconds were Nebraska’s final Priscilla Lopes (CAN) at 12.85 and Dawn Hunter of UCLA at 12.91.

The men’s 110m Hurdles produced nine sub-14 seconds finalists, with the top four only 0.07 seconds apart, 13.62 to 13.69. Eric Mitchum of Oregon won his semi in 13.62, while defending champion Josh Walker of Florida won his in 13.66. Fastest of the day was indoor champion Antwon Hicks, who ran 13.57 winning his first-round heat.

Cool, intermittently rainy weather held down most field event performances (it was like a typical June day in Eugene, Oregon). For example, every male pole vaulter (13 of them) made the final with a 5.15m clearance.

Jim Dunaway for the IAAF