May 7, 2009


By Amy Farnum Novin

CHASING HISTORY:  Michigan State senior Nicole Bush clocked the second-fastest 3,000-meter steeplechase time in the world at the Payton Jordan Invitational last weekend, breaking her own school record set at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.

The native of Wyoming, Mich., posted a 9:39.38 to place first among collegiate competitors.  Bush’s time leads the NCAA this year, and is the fifth-fastest time in collegiate history.  She defeated 12 runners currently ranked in the top 35 in the world, and 12 professional runners as she finished second in the event.

“Nicole's performance was impressive and not surprising to those of us who see her train every day," said MSU director of track & field Walt Drenth. "The time obviously was very special, but most importantly how she competed reinforces that she is a great ‘big-meet' performer. Additionally, for Nicole to compete as well as she did at this time in the season really bodes well for the championship portion of the season that we are about to enter."

Bush became the first Spartan female track and field performer to garner Big Ten weekly accolades since 2002.  She is the only Big Ten athlete to rank in the top four of three different events this season (steeplechase, 5,000 meters and 1,500 meters).

LEAPS AND BOUNDS: Texas A&M’s Julian Reid broke a 14-year-old school record in the triple jump as he sparked the Aggies to an event sweep at the Texas Invite last weekend.

Reid’s jump of 54-10.25 (16.72) topped the previous mark of 54-6.75 held by Kendrick Smith at the Southwest Conference meet in 1995.   With the winning mark, he is now this season’s collegiate outdoor leader and ranks 11th on the 2009 world list.  

The sophomore from Kingston, Jamaica, was named Big 12 Athlete of the Week for his accomplishment.  Reid is the defending Big 12 long jump champion, and finished runner-up in the triple jump last year.  The top-ranked Aggies travel to Lubbock, Texas, for Big 12 Championships beginning May 15.

HAMMER TIME: University of Southern California senior Eva Orban lifted the Trojans to a victory in the USC/UCLA Dual Meet with a meet-record throw in the hammer competition last weekend.  It was the first time the men’s and women’s squads swept the dual since the women began competing in 1984.  
Orban’s toss of 226-10 (69.15m) was a season-best and ranks first among collegiate competitors this year.  The throw also surpassed Orban’s own meet record of 215-0 set in 2007.  She was named Pac-10 Female Field Athlete of the Week for her efforts.

The Trojans’ victory in the meet also secured the 2008-09 Lexus Gauntlet Challenge trophy for USC – the year-long athletic competition between the two schools.

JUST DUCKY: Oregon’s Matthew Centrowitz posted the fastest 1,500-meter time in the nation last week as he won the event at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational.

The redshirt freshman from Arnold, Md., clocked a time of 3:36.92, less than half a second off Olympic gold medalist Joaquim Cruz’s 1984 school mark of 3:36.48.  Centrowitz was tabbed Pac-10 Men’s Track Athlete of the Week for his performance.  

The time stands third all-time at Oregon and trails just Cruz and Centrowitz’ father, Matt, who ran a 3:36.7 in 1976.  His time was also the seventh-fastest mark in NCAA history.

The second-ranked Ducks will host the Pac-10 Outdoor Track and Field Championships on May 16-17 at Hayward Field.