2005 Outdoor Championships: Day
2005 Outdoor Championships: Day FourJune 11, 2005
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Arkansas sophomore Wallace Spearmon sprinted away from an outstanding field to defend his 200-meter title in a world-leading 19.91 seconds Saturday night at the NCAA track and field championships, then announced he was turning pro.
The Arkansas men won their third consecutive team championship. Texas clinched the women's title with a victory in the final event, the 1,600 relay.
At dusk, as the final day of competition came to an end at Sacramento State's Hornet Stadium, LSU set a collegiate record at 2:59.59 in the men's 1,600 relay. The quartet of Bennie Brazell, Xavier Carter, Reginald Dardar and Kelly Willie broke the collegiate and meet record of 2:59.91 set by UCLA in 1988.
There also were meet and collegiate record performances by Florida sophomore Kerron Clement in the 400 hurdles and UCLA's Monique Henderson in the 400, along with a meet record by UCLA's Candice Baucham in the triple jump.
All eyes were on the 200, though, which featured sprinters with the top three times in the world this year.
Spearmon, running with a sore right knee, pulled ahead on the final turn and outran the competition from there, losing his balance and tumbling to the track after crossing the finish line.
He bounced back to his feet to celebrate the 1-3 Arkansas finish in the race that clinched the Razorbacks' 41st NCAA track or cross country championship under coach John McDonnell.
Carter, a freshman on a football scholarship at LSU, was second in 20.08 and Arkansas senior Tyson Gay third at 20.16.
``I knew whoever won would have to run fast,'' Spearmon said. ``You have the top three times going in.''
Spearmon's time eclisped Gay's 19.93 in Friday night's semifinals as the world's fastest 200 this year.
Spearmon said he had spoken with McDonnell and sprints coach Lance Brauman, as well as his family, before making his decision to run for money.
``I got their blessings,'' Spearmon said. ``I love Coach McDonnell, but we got to eat, too.''
The Arkansas men finished with 60 points to win their 12th outdoor title _ 11th in the last 14 years. Florida was second with 49, followed by LSU with 36.
``I think it's probably one of the top three teams we've ever had,'' McDonnell said. ``We've had some great teams _ back in 1985 and '94-95. This team ranks up with those guys.''
Texas, winning its third NCAA women's track title and first since 1999, had 55 points. South Carolina and UCLA tied for second with 48.
The triumph was a personal one, too, for Texas coach Bev Kearney, who lost all feeling and motor skills below the waist in a car crashed that killed two of her friends in 2002. She vowed to walk again, and after three years of exhausting rehabilitation, she gets around with only a cane.
``This makes it all the more sweeter,'' Kearney said. ``With the personal things that I had to overcome and the losses we suffered a year ago, and coming here with only seven people, knowing that we had very little room for error. We just kept believing it was possible.''
UCLA scored 32 points Saturday, including Baucham's triple jump victory at 46 feet, 2 inches that broke the meet mark of 14-6 3/4 set by Sheila Hudson of California in 1990. The Bruins' big finish came even though Chelsea Johnson, the defending champion and collegiate record holder in the pole vault, failed to make the finals.
Clement, a 19-year-old sophomore who also is turning professional, repeated as 400 hurdles champion in a meet-record 47.56 seconds, the world's fastest time this year. He broke the meet mark of 47.85 set 17 years ago by Kevin Young of UCLA.
Clement, who set the world indoor 400 record at the NCAAs in March, trailed Bennie Brazell over the last hurdle, but ran him down at the finish. Brazell finished in 47.67.
Henderson and Darold Williamson of Baylor capped their college careers with victories at 400 meters.
Williamson and Henderson had Olympic gold medals as part of the winning 1,600 relay teams in Athens, but neither had won an NCAA title until their final chance Saturday.
Henderson blew away her competition from the start with a meet-record 50.10 seconds, breaking the mark of 50.18, set by Pauline Davis of Alabama at altitude in Provo, Utah, in 1989.
``That was the first thought I had in my mind: Finally, it's over,'' Henderson said.
Henderson had the fifth-fastest collegiate time in the event's history. She was clocked in a sizzling 23.5 seconds through 200 meters, then felt a twinge in her hamstring.
``I just sucked it up and kept moving,'' she said, ``and said, `If I hurt myself, I'm going to hurt myself running fast.'''
Williamson, who joins a list of Baylor 400 champions that includes Michael Johnson and Jeremy Wariner, held off Jamel Ashley of Mississippi State to win in 44.51 seconds. The only faster 400 in the world this year was Williamson's 44.27 in the semifinals Friday night. Ashley was second in 44.75.
After finishing sixth at the NCAAs last year, with his teammate Wariner winning, Williamson has had sensational senior season. He has two victories over his good friend Wariner, the Olympic gold medalist who turned pro after last season.
``That's what I came back to Baylor for, I guess to prove my worth,'' Williamson said. ``This is only the beginning for me. Most people know me for the relays. I wanted to prove to everybody that I could run an individual race.''
The closest race of the night was the women's 200, where Sheri-Ann Brooks of Florida International edged freshman Shalonda Solomon of South Carolina by a hundredth of a second, 22.85 to 22.86.