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NCAA 2008 Track and Field Championships: Day 3 (Friday) Recap
June 13, 2008
by: LetsRun.com
*NCAA Day 1 Highlights and Video
*NCAA Day 2 Highlights and Video
NCAA Day 3 Photo Gallery

Women's Steeple: Jenny Barringer Just Misses American Record
The women's steeplechase was the Jenny Barringer show.

Barringer, the 2007 USATF Champ and the 2006 NCAA Champ (she lost her shoe in last year's NCAA final) put on an exhibition.

Jenny Barringer
Jenny Barringer Flew All the Way to the Finish

From the get go Barringer was in the lead and she never looked back. Irene Kimaiyo of Texas Tech, who beat Barringer at the Big 12 meet, tried to stay close to Barringer for a few laps, but it was a futile attempt.

Barringer was running fast, she was keeping a consistent pace (73.1 (no water jump), 76.7, 76.7, 77.4, 76.5, 75.6 were the splits we had for her the first 6 laps), and all she did was extend her lead.

Beforehand, CU coach Mark Wetmore had mapped out splits for her that had her running 9:41. Barringer however felt good so she ditched the proposed splits. She said afterwards, "Three laps in I felt great...I was way fast of where he had me at, so I was like 'Go for it.'"

The end result was a 9:29.20 dominating victory, the #2 time ever by an American, and just .45 off Lisa Galaviz's American record of 9:28.75.

Kimaiyo ended up fading to fifth as Silje Fjortoft of SMU came up to get second.

Barringer was surprised afterwards to see how close to the American record she came and how good she felt. She said, "I didn't know I was close to the American record until the finish."

In the interview below she talks about not only her race but how she became a steepler. Her debut was a 10:19 as a freshman and "she hated it," but CU coach Mark Wetmore convinced her to stick with it for a year.

Up next for Barringer, the prelims of the Olympic Trials. "Given what happened at NCAAs last year, I don't take any race for granted." But if she does make the Olympics she wants to make the Olympic final, "Whatever American women, and this is on record, go to the Olympics, they need to go to make the final."

Jenny Barringer (5:18)

  1 Jenny Barringer           JR Colorado               9:29.20   10         
  2 Silje Fjortoft            FR Southern Methodist     9:55.54    8         
  3 Bridget Franek            SO Penn State             9:58.74    6         
  4 Lindsay Allen             SR Stanford              10:05.26    5         
  5 Irene Kimaiyo             SR Texas Tech            10:05.29    4         
  6 Angela Wagner             SO Brigham Young         10:06.05    3         
  7 Sarah Madebach            JR Georgia               10:07.16    2         
  8 Sariah Long               SR Weber State           10:07.77    1         
  9 Zsofia Erdelyi            FR Southern California   10:10.71              
 10 Mica Land                 SR Wichita State         10:12.28              
 11 Jamie Cheever             JR Minnesota             10:15.31              
 12 Beverly Ramos             SO Kansas State          10:24.81              
 13 Kristen Hemphill          JR Colorado State        10:30.78              
 14 Liz Haglund               SR Villanova             10:39.46

Women's 5000m Sally Kipyego Dominates, Angela Bizzarri Breaks Through

Sally Kipyego did what you have come to expect of her at NCAA championships. Dominate.

Sally Kipyego
Sally Kipyego

Kipyego went to the front at the gun of the women's 5000m and never looked back. She had run 30 seconds faster this year than anyone else in the field, but Kipyego was not content to just get the win and save something for tomorrow's 1500m final. She wanted a fast time.

Kipyego was awarded with the NCAA meet record of 15:15.08. It was her seventh NCAA title. The outdoor 5000m title was the only title missing on her resume, as Michelle Sikes beat her last year in a thrilling race (where Sikes ran the previous NCAA record (15:16.46)).

Kipyego actually has fond memories of the race last year because she was pushed to the line by Sikes. She said of last year's race, "It still remains my favorite race of the entire time I've been competing at NCAAs."

Kipyego wiped Sikes' names from the record books. That was the plan all along. She said, "I wanted to get that meet record tonight... I wanted to run a hard 5k."

Up next for Kipyego is tomorrow's 1500m final ("I'm just running the 1500 trying to get some speed in my legs...) and then the Kenyan Olympic Trials at 10,000m. Kipyego said she currently is 4th on the Kenyan 10k list. "I'll just see what I can do," she said of the Kenyan Trials in 2 weeks.

There was a pack of five behind Kipyego gunning for second place. The woman who came out on top was Angela Bizzarri, who had a huge breakthrough race. Bizzarri ran 15:46.08, PRing by over 30 seconds (16:16.43 was her old best, although she was 14th at NCAA XC). She told the Illinois Fighting Illini website afterwards, "I'm so excited. I was just hoping to be an All-American and run with the top pack. Honestly, I would have been happy to finish in the top eight. The race went better than I could have hoped or expected. I was just in the mindset to enjoy the race and see how it went. I was in the mood to run."

Oregon's Nicole Blood was third and Teresa McWalters of Stanford fourth.

  1 Sally Kipyego             JR Texas Tech            15:15.08   10         
  2 Angela Bizzarri           SO Illinois              15:46.08    8         
  3 Nicole Blood              SO Oregon                15:49.22    6         
  4 Teresa McWalters          SR Stanford              15:50.18    5         
  5 Rebecca Lowe              FR Florida               15:50.73    4         
  6 Tasmin Fanning            JR Virginia Tech         15:54.38    3         
  7 Gwen Jorgensen            JR Wisconsin             16:10.85    2         
  8 Hollie Knight             FR Auburn                16:11.46    1         
  9 Lesley VanMiert           SR Northern Arizona      16:20.66              
 10 Christina Munoz           SO Texas A&M             16:27.45              
 11 Danielle Domenichelli     JR Santa Barbara         16:27.98              
 12 Frances Koons             JR Villanova             16:28.99              
 13 Mattie Bridgmon           SO Eastern Washington    16:35.28              
 14 Christine Kalmer          JR Arkansas              16:40.52              
 15 Lauren Blankenship        SR Samford               16:52.29              
 16 Sarah Pearson             SR Oregon                16:53.99

Men's 5000m: Bobby Curtis Delivers
Bobby Curtis
will no longer be off anyone's radar.

Brent Vaughn and Bobby Curits
Bobby Curtis and Brent Vaughn at the Bell

The Villanova senior crushed 13:18 5k runner Brent Vaughn on the final lap to win the 2008 NCAA 5000m title.

In an era where most colleges fly their top guns out to Stanford so they can run in perfect time trials conditions, Bobby Curtis and his Villanova coach, legendary miler Marcus O'Sullivan, took a different approach. Curtis didn't run at Stanford this year (it was the same weekend as Penn Relays) and as a result he only had a season's best of 14:02.33. Nonetheless, astute observers of the sport knew Curtis was a real thread for the title as Curtis was second last year to Chris Solinsky. Just about anyone on the East Coast would have told you not to overlook Curtis and this message board poster went a step furthrer: "Bobby Curtis will Win 5k!".

Colorado had 3 guys in the final and they did the early leading. The first k was in 2:45 (13:45 pace) with Brent Vaughn in the lead, then teammate Kenyon Neuman took over (4:35.8 1600, 5:32 2k), and the third k it was teammate Stephen Pifer (8:19.16). Vaughn, the favorite based on his 13:18, then went back to the front (8:52.3 3200m). At 4k (11:05.6) there still were 13 guys in the lead pack.

Vaughn then began his push for home. In the next 200m (31.1), only Curtis could cover his move and they opened up a lead of one second on the rest of the field led by Stephen Pifer. With 600 to go (12:06.8, 61.2 last lap), it was definitely a two man race. Heading onto the homestretch heading towards the bell, Vaughn and Curtis had 20 meters on Pifer who had 20 meters on the rest of the field. At the bell (12:37.5, 60.8 last lap), Curtis struck.

He flew down the backstretch and opened up a huge lead on Vaughn. He ran 26 point or 27 seconds the next 200 (12:38) and the race was over if he had anything left the final 200. He held on the final 200m for the NCAA title as Vaughn was actually passed right before the line by his teammate Pifer.

Up next for Curtis is the Olympic Trials where he likely will run the 1500. He has had problems with blisters and said, "These 5ks are very rough on my feet."

Then it's off to Europe where he'll be represented by Craig Mottram's agent Nic Bideau. (A 4k in Italy on the July 13th, a 5k in Heusden on the 20th of July, and then a 1500 in London)

Bobby Curtis
Bobby Curtis All Alone When It Matters Most

First though Curtis will be celebrating his win, "I never really get excited about running but this is off the charts."

Curtis admitted he was a bit intimidated by Vaughn's 13:18 coming in, "I was totally scared s***less when I saw he ran 13:18 at Stanford."

Curtis however, has great speed, and the plan was to trust his kick.Curtis says coach Marcus O'Sullivan,did not even speak to him before the race and is not big on pre-race advice. As Curtis said, "By this time in my career he would hope I know what to do."

But this week Curtis said O'Sullivan did tell him, "Do not go until you know you have the thing won." Curtis described what he felt during the race, "From 800m out, I was kind of tripping over myself trying to stay behind Vaughn. With 400 to go, I was like 'I can't wait any longer.' (so he took off blasting the next 200). With a guy like Brent Vaughn, you have to go totally all out, or he'll just follow you and outkick you."

*5k Lap by Lap Splits

Bobby Curtis(3:11)

Brent Vaughn (1:30)

1 Robert Curtis             SR Villanova             13:33.93   10            
  2 Stephen Pifer             SR Colorado              13:39.34    8            
  3 Brent Vaughn              SR Colorado              13:39.44    6            
  4 David McNeill             SO Northern Arizona      13:42.17    5            
  5 Ryan Vail                 SR Oklahoma State        13:42.85    4            
  6 Hassan Mead               FR Minnesota             13:44.30    3            
  7 Kenyon Neuman             JR Colorado              13:45.54    2            
  8 Patrick Smyth             JR Notre Dame            13:47.82    1            
  9 Ian Burrell               SR Georgia               13:48.40                 
 10 Stephen Furst             SR NC State              13:49.87                 
 11 Emmanuel Bor              SO Alabama               13:53.39                 
 12 Mark Steeds               JR Georgia State         13:56.18                 
 13 Felix Kiboiywo            SO Auburn                14:02.65                 
 14 Abraham Ng'etich          SR Iona                  14:05.73                 
 15 Joseph Maina              JR Eastern Kentucky      14:06.43                 
 16 Patrick Sovacool          JR Miami-Ohio            14:18.55

Men's Steeple: Alcorn Gets His 2nd Straight NCAA Title
Kyle Alcorn is making a habit out of winning NCAA championships in 2008. Indoors, Alcorn won the men's 3000m to propel Arizona State to the team championship. Friday night Alcorn opened up a gap on the field with 600 meters to go and held off a late charge from former high school rival Billy Nelson to get the 2008 NCAA steeplechase title.

Kyle Alcorn
Kyle Alcorn Still Excited at Winning NCAA Titles

Early on the pack was largely intact with Billy Nelson doing much of the leading. Arkansas' Peter Kosgei got the real running going with 800m to go as he went to the front and really started pushing the pace.

With 600 to go Alcorn made his move. He powered to the lead and made his big move to the finish. Billy Nelson stayed closest but Alcorn opened up a substantial lead. Could he hold it all the way home?

After coming off the final water pit, it was apparent Nelson was closing fast. Alcorn said he stumbled slightly over the final barrier. But Alcorn had just enough left the after the final barrier to get the win over Nelson.

Alcorn knew that Nelson, one of his high school rivals, was closing fast, "The thought going through my head (the last 200) was, 'I'm going to get beat by my high school rival.' When I stumbled on that last barrier, I thought, 'This is it, he's going to go right by me.' Somehow I had a little left in me to hold him off."

Alcorn now turns to the Olympic Trials. (His time today makes him #3 in the US this year). "The Olympic Trials are a big one to try and finish (the collegiate career) on top."

Alcorn is coached by the legendary Louie Q (Louie Quintana, former Footlocker Champ), and Alcorn talks about Louie Q in the interview below.

Kyle Alcorn (4:54)

Billy Nelson (1:32)

  1 Kyle Alcorn               SR Arizona State          8:28.26   10            
  2 Billy Nelson              SR Colorado               8:28.85    8            
  3 Luke Gunn                 SR Florida State          8:34.41    6            
  4 Hillary Bor               FR Iowa State             8:36.84    5            
  5 Peter Kosgei              SR Arkansas               8:37.61    4            
  6 Kyle Heath                JR Syracuse               8:38.03    3            
  7 Patrick Mutai             SR Texas-El Paso          8:38.48    2            
  8 Carl Moe                  SR Washington             8:41.83    1            
  9 Augustus Maiyo            SR Alabama                8:43.52                 
 10 Evans Kigen               SO Liberty                8:43.77                 
 11 Tibor Vegh                SR NC State               8:46.50                 
 12 Chris Winter              JR Oregon                 8:51.44                 
 13 Barnabas Kirui            JR Mississippi            8:55.27                 
 14 Henry Hagenbuch           SR UCLA                   8:59.41

Men's 4*100, Men's 100, Women's 100: LSU, Trinidad Shine, Walter Dix the True Team Player
It was a great day for the LSU men's (and women's to a lesser extent sprint corps). Their first victory was the men's 4*100 which LSU won in a world leading 38.42 (the LSU women were second to Texas A&M in the 4*100).

Richard Thompson
Richard Thompson Wins the 100

Then later in the evening it was the 100m final. Richard Thompson of LSU (who isn't the anchor on LSU's 4*100 team) got the win and teammate Trindon Holliday was 3rd.

Thompson's win was just after LSU teammate Kelly-Ann Baptiste won the women's 100. Both Thompson and Kelly-Ann Baptiste are from Trinidad. It was a great day for the tiny sprint nation (Ato Boldon is from Trinidad as is 1976 Olympic 100m champ Hasely Crawford)

Fourth in the 100m was 2007, 100 and 200m champion Walter Dix who turned down a professional contract last year to comeback to Florida State this year and try and get the Seminole's another national title. Dix hasn't been 100% healthy this year (this was only his third 100 of the year and he hasn't been running the 4x100 to try and get 100% healthy), but there he was earlier in the day running the 4x100 for Florida State. FSU is so good that they made the final without Dix. But Dix is such a team player than when another athlete had an injury problem Dix suited up and ran the 4x100.

Dix is a huge talent (He ran 19.69 last year) and a class act. We bet his decision to return to school this year might cost him a chunk of change since the shoe companies will not throw as much money at him since his chances of making the 2008 US team do not look as good at this point as they did in 2007 (although Dix did close well on Friday and is the favorite in the 200). But in a sport with tons of outlaws, Dix deserves a lot of praise for being a class act.

Thompson himself realizes how good Dix is. He told the Des Moines Register, his freshman year he thought, "Wow, Walter Dix is going to be around for four years. How am I ever going to be able to win an NCAA championship?"

Richard Thompson (1:20)

Walter Dix (1:09)

Other action: Maston Wallace won the pole vault in 17' 6.5" the lowest winning height in nearly 30 year (1979). Washington State frosh Jeshua Anderson won the 400m hurdles.

More: Mikael Hanany PRs 7' 7.25" to Win High Jump

Mikael Hanany (2:15)

*NCAA Day 3 Photo Gallery

*If you want to embed one of our videos click here


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