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Distance Recap of Final Day of 2007 NCAA Champs
by Mike Scott
(c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
June 9, 2007

Sacramento, Calif --   The fast times continued on the final day of the NCAA Division I Track & Field Championships at Sacramento's Hornet Stadium, with new champions crowned in the men's and women's 800s and 1500s.

Mississippi State's Golden Coachman took the pace out quickly in the men's 800, passing 400 meters in 52.45 with Texas-San Antonio's Larry Brooks and Michigan's Andrew Ellerton (CAN) just behind, and Washington's Ryan Brown  -- the 2006 outdoor and 2007 indoor champ -- trailing towards the back of the pack as usual.

Coachman continued to lead through the 600 in 1:19.5 with Ellerton screaming around the final turn to take the lead for good and win in 1:47.48.

"I was expecting the pace to be fast," said Ellerton.  "I just wanted to be third or fourth at the bell. The plan was to go a bit earlier than I did, but it worked out.  I was worried the last 10 meters that someone might come up on me after Ryan Brown passed me in the final meters at NCAA indoors."

UTEP's Elias Koech (KEN) claimed second in 1:47.70, while fast closing Brown could only muster third in 1:47.77.  Early leader Coachman finished fourth in 1:47.96.

TWO SUB-2 IN WOMEN’s 800

Cal's Alysia Johnson, the indoor champion, sprinted to the lead with the starter's gun and led the field through 200 in 27.1 and 400 in 57.34.  Yearly leader Katie Erdman shadowed her in second, with UTEP's Fatimoh Muhammed (NGR) and Minnesota's Heather Dorniden running third and fourth.

Johnson extended her lead on the backstretch, passing 600 in 1:28.3 with Erdman running second.  Erdman made a great stretch run to close on Johnson but fell just short at the finish line with Johnson winning in 1:59.29 -- the number 2 collegiate performance of all time -- and Erdman just behind in 1:59.35.

"I had planned to run my own race," said Johnson.  "If it took wire-to-wire, then that's what I was going to do."

"With 200 to go, I thought I could catch her," said Erdman.  "However, that's a huge PR for me."

Dorniden finished third in 2:01.05, while Muhammed was fourth in 2:01.89.  Defending champ Rebekah Noble of Oregon finished last in 2:04.79.

LOMONG, FELNAGLE TAKE 1500 TITLES

Colorado's Stephen Pifer took the pace out fast in the men's 1500, towing Texas' Leonel Manzano, Stanford's Russell Brown, Northern Arizona's Lopez Lomong (SUD), and the rest of the field through splits of 58.1 for 400 and 1:58.05 for 800. Manzano made a huge move with 300 to go, passing 1200 in 2:57.05.  Lomong followed and sprinted hard off the final turn to take the lead in the final meters and win in 3:37.07 to Manzano's 3:37.48.

"I've been a little sick this week," said Lomong.  "I wanted to go with them, stay out of trouble, and finish strong.  On the homestrech I was just thinking 'Finishline, finishline!'"

Brown claimed third in 3:37.56, while defending champ Vincent Rono (South Alabama) was fourth in 3:37.96.  Nine of the 12 finalists recorded new PRs.

The women's started out with a team effort as Stanford's Alicia Follmar and Lauren Centrowitz went to the front to tow the field through the first circuit in 66.08.

"Lauren and Alicia were supposed to make sure that the pace wasn't too slow," said Stanford's Arianna Lambie.

Lambie sprinted to the front with two laps to go, leading North Carolina's Brie Felnagle through 800 in 2:16.02.

Lambie and Felnagle extended their lead over the field over the next lap with Lambie in front through 1200 in 3:19.13.

But Felnagle surged past Lambie on the backstretch with 275 to go and powered away from her to win in 4:09.93.

"I was expecting a fast pace," said Felnagle.  "A big move at 800 wasn't expected, so I had to adjust to it.  I was trying not to go too early.  I wasn't trying to go at that point [on the backstretch], but I just began to take the lead."

Florida State's fast-closing Susan Kuijken (NED) -- who only obtained her regional qualifier at a last chance meet -- caught a faltering Lambie on the homestretch to claim runner-up honors ahead of Lambie 4:11.34 to 4:12.29 respectively.

After three consectutive years in Sacramento, next year's NCAA outdoor championships will move to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.


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