Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships: Day 2 Recap June 7, 2007

The Florida States, Arizona States and LSUs will have their day at the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Two days, probably.

But there's room at the table for the little guys, as Cal State Northridge long jumper DaShalle Andrews and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi distance runner Shadrack Songok showed Thursday night at Hornet Stadium.

Songok out-sprinted the pre-meet favorite, Galen Rupp of Oregon, to win the men's 10,000 meters in 28 minutes, 55.83 seconds. In a slow-paced race, Rupp tried to force the issue over the last three laps, only to be run down by Songok in the homestretch. Rupp, the collegiate record holder, finished second in 28:56.19.

"This is a big thing for me," Songok said. "I was sure I was ready, but I wasn't expecting to do this well."

While he didn't have to run 25 laps to do it, Andrews had an even tougher time taking down the favorite, Tone Belt of Louisville. Andrews and Belt both jumped 25 feet, 2½ inches, but Andrews won on the basis of a better back-up mark. Belt, the NCAA indoor champion, had five fouls.

"I'm at a loss for words," said Andrews, who entered the competition with the 14th-best mark in the 26-man field and needed three jumps to qualify in Wednesday's trials. "This is my third trip to nationals, and I was fed up with coming here and never making the finals. This time, I not only made the final, I won. I guess the third time's the charm."

Three other favorites lived up to their advance billing. Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego won the women's 10,000 meters by nearly six seconds in 32:55.71. Arizona's Jake Arnold won his second straight decathlon title, scoring a career-best 8,215 points. And UCLA's Rhonda Watkins won the women's long jump title with a wind-aided leap of 22-10.

Arnold became just the second athlete in NCAA history to win successive Division I decathlon titles. Rob Muzzio of George Mason won back-to-back titles in 1984-85.

"When I walked on at Arizona, I couldn't imagine even winning one," said Arnold, a Santa Rosa native who had a rooting section exhorting him on through all 10 events. "It means so much to do this near my home. I think my younger brother had the loudest voice in the stadium."

Wisconsin's Joe Detmer claimed second place in the decathlon with a tremendous effort in the 10th event, the 1,500 meters. Detmer clocked 4:04.11 to pass first-day leader Jangy Addy of Tennessee for second place.

Kipyego's victory in the 10,000 was her fourth national title of her sophomore season at Texas Tech. She won the NCAA cross country title in November and raced to victories in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.

Friday, she'll take aim at a fifth title in the 5,000.

"I know still have to run the 5,000, so I didn't want to use up all my energy," Kipyego said.

Tonight's marquee event is the men's 100 meters. Florida State junior Walter Dix won the 100 at the 2005 NCAA meet and finished second last year to LSU's Xavier Carter. Carter turned professional after winning an unprecedented 100/400 NCAA double, but Dix's toughest opponent tonight figures to be another LSU sophomore, Trindon Holliday.

Holliday won the Southeastern Conference and Mideast Regional titles last month and had the fastest preliminary time Thursday at Hornet Stadium, clocking a school-record 10.02 in the first semifinal. Dix, the collegiate record holder in the 200 at 19.69, won the second semifinal in 10.13 and has a lifetime best of 10.05.

Five of the nine finalists for the 6:15 p.m. final are from Florida State and LSU.

"It's exciting," Holliday said. "I feel like I've got a lot left in the tank. I'm in pretty good shape to compete for the title."

Dix and Holliday first take the track at 4:30 p.m. for the final of the 4x100 relay. Dix runs the second leg for Florida State, Holliday the anchor leg for LSU. Florida State has the year's fastest collegiate time at 38.71, but LSU ran faster in Thursday's qualifying 39.36 to Florida State's 39.36.

The women's 4 x 100 relay and open 100 should be equally competitive. Ebonie Floyd of Houston had the fastest qualifying time in the 100 at 11.13, and the sprint relay matches perennial power LSU against ascendant Texas A&M. Both races will have implications in the women's team battle.

Washington State's Diana Pickler, the collegiate leader in the heptathlon, appeared to have a commanding lead when she clocked a personal-best 23.75 in Thursday's fourth event, the 200 meters. But Pickler was disqualified for a lane violation on the curve. She received no points in the event and dropped from first place to 25th.

"I know if you can put the disappointment into words," said Washington State coach Rick Sloan. "Five years of competing toward this one meet and to have it snatched away. It's the breaks of the game."

SMU's Gaelle Niare leads the heptathlon with 3,690 points. Defending champion Jacquelyn Johnson of Arizona State is fourth with 3,557 points. Diana Pickler's twin sister, Julie, is in seventh place. The heptathlon concludes Friday with the long jump, javelin and 800 meters.

-- Courtesy Bob Burns / Sacramento State