New Powell On The Blocks - Much Prettier

Virginia Powell of USC wins 100m Hurdles in collegiate record 12.55 (Kirby Lee)

Powell blasts to 12.55 clocking - NCAA Champs – Day One
Thursday 8 June 2006
Sacramento, California, USA - Ginny Powell, a graduating senior from the University of Southern California, set a meet record of 12.55 in the women’s 100m Hurdles as the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) outdoor athletics championships began yesterday (7) with a day of preliminary round heats.

Powell started off innocently enough by winning her first-round heat in 12.93, into a 1.3 m/s headwind. Two hours later, she stunned a crowd of 4000-plus by winning her semi-final with three metres to spare in 12.55 (-0.9), a personal best which made her the seventh fastest American of all time.

Powell who attacks the hurdles as if she wants to punish them, also led off Southern California’s 4x100 team, which qualified for the final in 43.70. Both the hurdles and the relay will be run on Friday, June 9.

James Dunaway for the IAAF


She’s 5’9 and able to move her long levers around the barriers on route to a 12.55 into a head! Not to mention she ran a 10.93 (albeit at altitute, with a 3.1w :slight_smile: ). I had wondered if we’d see another great tall sprinter or hurdler. :rolleyes:

Powell powers to World-leading 12.48 Hurdles Win - NCAA Championships Day 3
Saturday 10 June 2006
Sacramento, CA, USA - The third day of the NCAA championships usually produces some fireworks - and this certainly did.

They started, as expected, with Ginny Powell, who had posted a superb 12.55 winning her semi-final of the 100-metre hurdles two days ago.

Aries Merritt of Tennessee winning the NCAA title in 13.21
(Kirby Lee/Image of Sport)

She warmed up for her day’s work by running the first leg of her University of Southern California 4x100 relay team. An hour later she was back in the blocks for the hurdles final.

The 22-year-old Powell catapulted out of the blocks and quickly opened up a lead which left everyone in the field except Canadian Priscilla Lopes far behind. When Powell crossed the finish line the margin was more than a metre - and attention turned to the flash time indicator by the finish.

“12.49,” it read, then “12.48.” Next to the wind gauge: “0.4.”

Jesse Williams clearing 2.32 at the NCAA Championships
(Kirby Lee/Image of Sport)

And as quickly as that, Powell became, not just the world leader in her event, but also the fifth fastest American ever, and the twenty-first performer of all-time in the world.

Behind her, Lopes lost little ground over the final 50 metres, and crossed the line in a personal best of her own - 12.60.

After the race, Powell said, “I honestly do not remember the race. I just psyched myself out and ran.” So fierce is the intensity of her attack on the hurdles that it’s easy to believe her.

13.21 for Merritt

Minutes later, Aries Merritt of the University Tennessee almost duplicated Powell’s performance with one of his own. Like Powell, Merritt has been on a tear this spring, lowering his PB from 13.38 to 13.22. Today he knocked another instant off it with a 13.21 that ties him with Olympic champion Liu Xiang as the best time in the world this year.

The 21-year-old Merritt, the 2004 World Junior champion, had an even greater winning margin - nearly three metres - than Powell. He said, “After last year [he was fifth in the 2005 NCAA], I didn’t take a vacation like most people do. I went home and trained my tail off.”

His reward, so far, has been the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships, and a time improvement that moves him into the top ten of currently active hurdlers.

Williams 2.32 equals World lead

The day’s other outstanding performance was Jesse Williams’ victory in the men’s high jump. Starting at 2.20, Williams had a clean sheet through 2.23, 2.26, 2.29 and a PB at 2.32, equalling Czech Svatoslav Ton’s World-leading leap. Two of his three misses at 2.35 were reasonably close.

Other good performances saw fast men’s 400 qualifiers for Saturday’s final from Xavier Carter(44.96), Ricardo Chambers (44.98) and David Neville (45.03), and throws wins by internationalists Vikas Gowda of India in the men’s Discus Throw with 60.55, and Spyridon Jullien of Greece, who took his second straight NCAA title in Hammer Throw with a throw of 72.29.

James Dunaway for the IAAF