NCAA Indoor: Hot Sprints


Fast sprinting at NCAA Indoor Champs
Tuesday 14 March 2006
Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA - Despite the absence of several stars who turned professional in the past twelvemonth, there was a high level of performance over several events at the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s indoor championships last weekend (10 – 11 March).

Oddly, the event which lost the most to the professional ranks, the men’s 400m, produced the most outstanding marks. Xavier Carter, a football star in the autumn months, won with a front running 45.28 to beat David Neville, second in 45.67 and Lewis Banda (ZIM) third in 45.85. They also had the three fastest qualifying times a day earlier: Carter, 45.53; Neville, 45.58; and Banda, 45.67.

In the men’s 200m, three men bettered 20.50. Walter Dix of Florida State ran a hard first 100 and then hung on to won it in 20.27, seventh on the all-time list; he held off a late charge by Carter, whose 20.30 puts him eighth all-time. Five of the top ten 200 men ran their best indoor times on this fast 200m oval.

Dix, also favoured to win the 60m, finished second there behind Baylor University freshman Jacob Norman, who led the qualifiers with 6.56 and equalled it in the final. Carter rounded off his weekend by anchoring Louisiana State to a 3:04.01 4x400 victory, missing a collegiate record (3:03.96) by easing off in the last few meters.

Marshevet Hooker and Michelle Carter set personal bests to lead the University of Texas to the women’s team championship. Hooker won the long jump with 6.71 (PB), and the 60m dash in 7.20, as well as taking fourth in the 200. Her sister Destinee, a 1.90m tall first-year student, finished third in the high jump at 1.86.

Michelle Carter, the daughter of 1984 Olympic Shot Put silver medalist Michael Carter, is following in his footsteps. Falling behind two-time champion Laura Gerraughty’s fourth round-18.25, Carter came through with her best-ever put, a winning 18.56. It was her first over the magical (for Americans) 60ft mark, in the stands, her father (and coach) looked on approvingly.

Carter wasn’t the only offspring of a famous Olympian to win here. Jaanus Uudmae (EST) son of 1980 Olympic Triple Jump champion Jaak Uudmae, won the Triple Jump here. He reached 16.57 on his first try and saw it stand up for the victory.

Ginny Powell of the University of Southern California and Priscilla Lopes (CAN) and the University of Nebraska repeated their one-two finish of 2005 in the 60m hurdles. Last year Powell won 7.97 to 7.99. This year it was much faster, with Powell setting a collegiate record in 7.84 to Lopes’ 7.87.

In the men’s Shot, Garret Johnson of Florida State University was more than a metre better than the rest of the field with 20.48m and two other puts of 20.44 and 20.30 before fouling his last three puts trying to throw even farther. Although Johnson has another year of university eligibility, he will forgo it to attend Oxford next year on a Rhodes Scholarship, the highest academic honour an American university student can achieve.

Other good performances included: a Mile/3000m double (4:37.78/9:06.61) by Johanna Nilsson (SWE) of Arizona State University; a men’s Long Jump victory by Arturs Abolins (LAT), who attends the University of Nebraska and won with a last-round pop of 8.11, beating the 8.04m of last year’s outdoor NCAA champion, Fabrice LaPierre: a repeat victory in the men’s High Jump by Jesse Williams, who cleared 2.30; and women’s Pole Vault clearances of 4.50 by Chelsea Johnson, the winner, and Lacy Janson.

James Dunaway for the IAAF