Some of the highlights of Day Four at the NCAA Meet:
BEST ANCHOR LEG – The Oregon women didn’t win the team title, but their upset victory in the 4x400 relay had to be sweet. Anchor leg Keisha Baker got the baton just ahead of A&M’s Jessica Beard, who stayed on her shoulder for the last 250 meters. Baker never let her get past and was stronger to the finish by .03 seconds. Until this meet, Baker had always run the second leg on the Ducks’ relay.
BEST TEAM PERFORMANCE – The Texas A&M women’s sprint group scored 62 of their team’s 72 points. With the Oregon women at 57 points, the Aggies didn’t even need the 10 points they scored in other events to win the team title. They were so dominant in the 100, 200 and relays, that it is easy to forget A&M was missing two key athletes due to injury. Hurdler Natasha Ruddock and sprinter-hurdler Gabby Mayo would likely have both scored significant points.
BEST FRESHMAN – Mason Finley of Kansas placed second in both the shot put and the discus throw. His heave of 67-10.25 in the shot was nearly four feet ahead of third place and a very impressive mark for such a young thrower.
BEST TRACK DOUBLE FOR A FEMALE – Lisa Koll of Iowa State won both the 10K and 5K here in impressive fashion. Koll, a senior, looks like she could be the next star in the growing pantheon of American distance running standouts. Her win from the front style reminds one of Pre, as does her feisty comment that “If I was going to win or lose it was going to be a fast race.”
BEST MOMENT FOR THE DUCKS – The 1500 in championship meets is all about tactics – pace, position, kick. The Oregon sweep in this event spoke volumes about the maturity and intelligence of Andrew Wheating, A.J. Acosta and Matthew Centrowitz. Their ability to execute so well in a crowded pack made this race one for the ages.