May 29, 2010

By Jeff Hawkins
Special to

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Angelo State assistant coach Tom Dibbern saved his hugs for last.

Looking up to junior Aisha Adams and senior Chrystal Ruiz, who were stationed on the top two platforms, Dibbern, with obvious pride, hoisted the NCAA Div. II Women's Track and Field Championships heptathlon trophy, following a 1-2 finish by Adams and Ruiz.

A coach's hug followed each presentation under what were then sunny skies, before hard rain blanketed the region and lightning provided an illuminating spectacle. Following two delays, most of Friday's afternoon schedule at Johnson C. Smith University was postponed until Saturday.

Women's shot put and men's javelin throw will kick off Saturday's crammed schedule at 10 a.m.

"We will not rush the athletes," said Dee Jensen, a field event referee.

In the lead throughout her two-day, seven-event journey, Adams was rarely threatened after opening Thursday's heptathlon with a 13.76 in the 100-meter hurdles.

"It's awesome," said Adams, who finished with 5,698 points and defended her 2009 title.

Friday, Adams was ignited by a 5.87-meter long jump and a javelin toss of 110 feet, five inches. She closed her effort by cruising through a team-first, 800-meter run at 2:22.19, well off her pace.

With a second title secured, Adams breezed through the finale, saving a little more energy for her other events.

"It would not have been smart if I got a PR (personal record)," said Adams, who qualified for eight events. "I want to help the team."

Ruiz, who established a personal-best with 5,572 points, appreciated the gesture. Angelo State women have never won a team title.

Updated team rankings were not available Friday night following the officials' meeting. Following Thursday's opening three events, Angelo State was in fourth place, nine points behind Lincoln (Mo.), a D-II power.

"It's all about the team standings," Ruiz said. "It's definitely a big deal."

Following a near four-hour thunderstorm delay Friday, competition resumed at 8:30 p.m. for about 25 minutes before more lighting flashed over the Charlotte skyline.

Competition was postponed about an hour and half later.

From the smile Central Missouri's Darius Walker couldn't stop smiling after winning the NCAA D-II men's decathlon. The sophomore had reason to celebrate his performance.

Twenty-four hours earlier, though, Walker was in a different mood following Thursday's opening series (100-meter run, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400-meter run).

"I had a horrendous Day 1," Walker said, still beaming.

He enjoyed Friday's effort, featuring personal-bests in four of five events: Discus (123-02), pole vault (13-07¼ ), javelin throw (156-11) and 110-meter hurdles (14.55). Capping Friday - and beating the bad weather - Walker ran the 1500 in 4:49.56.

"It was some day," Walker said.