50.15 for Hastings, Dix completes sprint double - NCAA Championships final day
Sunday 10 June 2007
10 June 2007 - Sacramento, USA - Maybe we should have more big meetings in the morning.
On Saturday (9), the fourth and final day of the NCAA championships, the racing started at 10 a.m., and the fast times followed almost immediately.
Alysia Johnson (right) edged Katie Erdman in the NCAA 800 as both dipped under two minutes
In the men’s 400m Hurdles Isa Phillips of Louisiana State lowered his personal best from 49.36 to 48.51, fifth fastest of the year in the world so far. He won by five metres from Brandon Johnson, who was second in 49.02.
Californian Nicole Leach of UCLA won the women’s 400m Hurdles in the year’s fastest time – a swift 54.32 – leaving co-favorite Nickiesha Willson (JAM) of Louisiana State 10m in arrears in 55.68.
Fast women’s 800, two under 2:00
Alysia Johnson of California and Katie Erdman of Michigan ran an 800m thriller, breaking away from the field after a 57.34 first 400 and crossing the finish line half a metre apart, Johnson winning, 1:59.29 to 1:59.35, a sub-two-minute first for both, which put them fifth and sixth on the year list.
Ricardo (Rickie) Chambers (JAM and Florida State) and Lionel Larry of Southern California made the men’s 400 metres into a similar thriller, as they raced down the final straight side by side and leaned into the finish with Chambers a few centimetres ahead, 44.66 to 44.68.
Hastings dominates with 50.15 world leader
Then Natasha Hastings, perhaps the revelation of the year, won the women’s 400 by 100 metres in a PB 50.15, topping her own year-leading 50.23 of two weeks ago. She came back an hour later with a 50.0 anchor South Carolina’s team to second place in the 4x400.
Dix completes sprint double
In the men’s 200 metres, Walter Dix, more concerned with winning and helping his Florida State crew win the team championship than trying to better his PB of 19.69, eased to a four-metre victory in 20.32 into a slight (-0.4) wind.
Kerron Stewart (JAM), second in last year’s women’s 200, won it this time in a good 22.42 from her countrywoman Simone Facey, who ran 22.64.
Lomong prevails in thrilling 1500
Perhaps the most emotionally charged race of the day – because of the people involved – was the men’s 1500 meters. With 300 metres to go, Leonel Manzano of the University of Texas, who was born in a Mexican village without electricity or running water, sprinted into the lead. Right on his heels came Lopez Lomong, who was born in the southeast of Sudan and spent the years from age six to 16 in a teeming refugee camp in Kenya before coming to America in 2001.
Manzano, who became a U.S. citizen several years ago, led into the home stretch, and it wasn’t until 30 metres from home that Lomong – who expects to become a U.S. citizen on June 19 - caught and passed Manzano to win in a PB of 3:37.07.
The men’s NCAA 4x400 is more often than not won by Baylor University - Clyde Hart has retired, but the tradition lives on – and it happened again this year. The ‘Bears’ from Waco, Texas hit the finish line less than half a second off the meet record in 3:00.04.
And the whole “day” was finished at 11:55 a.m.!
James Dunaway for the IAAF