May 27, 2010

By Jeff Hawkins, Special to

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Three times she lined up, staring at the 5-foot-10½ high jump bar. Three times Angelo State's Aisha Adams ended up walking away with her arms on her hips, the bar dislocated.

Don't feel too bad for the defending Division II heptathlon champion. She succeeded in nearly everything else she attempted Thursday.

The lone competitor to clear 5-9¼ during the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Johnson C. Smith University, Adams achieved her opening-day goal of leading after four events.

"It's real exciting to come back and defend my title," said Adams, emerging from the open-air training center and eager to jump into a plate of dinner.

In the men's competition at Irwin Belk Track Complex, Central Missouri sophomore Darius Walker compiled 3,865 points, a 117-point advantage over Bemidji State's Zac Preble.

The men's and women's heptathlon will conclude Friday with the long jump, javelin and 800-meter run.

Adams opened Thursday morning by pacing the field in the 100-meter hurdles at 13.76, edging Maddy Outman of Indiana (Pa.) by .01. She closed her day by competing in the 100- and 400-meter hurdles, long jump, triple jump, high jump and led off on the sprint relay.

Angelo State coach Reid James said he may move Adams back in the order of the 4-x-100-meter relay finals Saturday.

Among other highlights in the three-day event, Adams placed third in the long jump at 19-9.75 and first in Heat 2 of the 400-meter hurdles at 58.94.

A psychology major with enough credits to qualify as a senior, Adams extended her lead with a 38-7½ shot put and a 200-meter run of 24.21.

Adams said she would enter an internship program this summer and may be in line to graduate. "I don't know if I'll be back," she said.

TEAMMATES TOGETHER -- They came to school as freshmen. They leave as seniors, first and second in the nation. Lincoln (Mo.) teammates Racquel Anderson and Anna Kay Campbell each finished the women's long jump at 19-11.50, but Anderson was ruled the champion via a tiebreaker.

Lincoln's women lead the 20-team event with 18 points, followed by Queens at 16. In the men's 13-team standings, Hillsdale is first with 19 points.

TURNING IT ON -- Abilene Christian junior Amos Sang turned a tight men's 10,000 meters into a rout with a slick 62-second lap late in Thursday's final event.

Sang, who placed third last year, won in 30:04.98, pulling away. Defending champion Daniel Kirwa, a junior from Harding, placed second in 30:13.69. Florida International freshman Glarius Rop was third in 30:16.26.