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    NCAA Track/Field Recaps: June 5

    Alabama Track and Field Sets School 4x100m Record on Day One of NCAA Outdoor Championships

    EUGENE, Ore. – The Alabama track and field team opened up day one of the NCAA Outdoor Championships by posting school-record 38.78 in the semifinals of the 4x100-meter relay, advancing to Saturday’s finals in the event.

    Junior Alex Sanders, sophomore Diondre Batson, junior Akeem Haynes and senior Dushane Farrier combined to finish second in their heat, just two hundredths of a second behind Auburn and easily well ahead of the rest of the pack.

    Batson came back later in the evening to run in the semifinals of the 100m, posting a 10.05, the fifth fastest time of the day, and advancing to Friday’s finals.

    “It was a great first day for us,” UA head coach Dan Water said. “We were able to cross the school record in the 4x100m relay off our list of team goals and both of our entries moved on to finals, which is what today was all about for us. Now we just need to keep it rolling.”

    The previous 4x100m mark was set in 1990, well before three of the four members of the current speed kings were born. Farrier, the fourth member of the current record holding relay and the lone senior, was six months old when Richard Beattie, Clive Wright, Eduardo Nava and Brad McCuaig posted a 38.87 to win the 1990 NCAA 4x100m title.

    The top three qualifiers for the finals – Southeastern Conference rivals Alabama, Auburn and Florida – finished within two hundredths of a second of each other. LSU and Arkansas will join the Tide, Tigers and Gators to give the SEC five of the eight teams in the final in the 4x100m final.

    “We’ve been running fast all year,” Sanders, the Tide’s leadoff, said “We’ve had a couple of good runs before this, but it felt good to get out there and check something off our list today. Our coach had some goals for us and we knocked one of those off by getting the school record, so that felt good.”

    The new record holders are far from satisfied with their fast start and are looking for more come the finals.

    “That was definitely a nice run for us, but we can definitely do more with our exchanges and just running to our full potential,” Sanders said. “It’s all up from here.”

    Sprint coach Matt Kane echoes that sentiment.

    “We left a little bit on the table still,” Kane said. “We can clean up some of our exchanges, just a little bit. It’s definitely the best we’ve run, there’s still room there for improvement.”

    For Baton, a poor start in the 100m meant he had to dig deep to grab a spot in the finals. Despite that fact, he still turned in a personal best, just one-hundredth of a second behind Emmit King’s 1983 time of 10.04, which ranks second all-time at Alabama.

    “It was exciting today,” Batson said. “Making it to the finals is always what you want out of a day like today. it’s a great atmosphere and a great stadium, I like running here, it makes you want to run fast. There are things that could have gone better today, but it’s ok, that’s why it’s a round and not a final.”

    Kane also sees plenty of room for Batson to improve come Friday.

    “He had a terrible start,” Kane said. “He didn’t execute very well in the first 30 meters and put himself in a bad position, but he’s talented enough to overcome that and he did and he advanced which is what today is about.”

    Batson returns to action on Thursday with the semifinals of the 200m while the 4x400m relay  - junior Joel Lynch, freshman Dwight Davis, freshman Quincy Smith and junior Ken Taylor - will also compete. In the field events, freshman Elias Hakansson will compete in the hammer throw while junior All-American Kamal Fuller will compete in the long jump.   

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    Muir Advances To Finals Of 400m

    EUGENE, Ore. – As a freshman, Jody-Ann Muir ended her season with All-American honors. As a senior, she’ll conclude her heralded career in the same fashion.
     
    On Wednesday at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field, Muir advanced to the finals of the 400-meter dash after finishing sixth in the field of 24 in the semis with a time of 52.03.
     
    The Top 8 from each event advances to the finals.
     
    “Her goal was to get to the finals, and she did that,” MSU coach Steve Dudley said. “But I know she’s not satisfied with just getting to the finals. She’s there to win.”
     
    Her time Wednesday was her second best, as she posted a 52.02 mark at the preliminary round two weeks ago in Greensboro, the second-fastest time in school history.
     
    “It’s my senior year, and I want to go out as best as I can,” she said.
     
    In other action, Daundre Barnaby failed to qualify for the finals of the 400m-dash as a false start led to his disqualification. In the 400m-hurdles, Scottie Hearns fell short of advancing to the finals with his time of 52.68.
     
    Erica Bougard, a sophomore from Byhalia, Miss., who is competing in three events this week, finished 16th in the finals of the long jump at 19-09.50.
     
    The Bulldogs return to action Thursday with three events, starting with Bougard in the heptathlon, followed by the men’s and women’s 4x400.

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    NCAA Championships first day includes long jump scorer and four finalists for Aggies

    EUGENE – Texas A&M scored one point and advanced three individuals and one relay to the finals of the NCAA Championships on the first day of action Wednesday at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus.

    The lone final involving a scorer for the Aggies was the women’s long jump, where LaQue Moen-Davis made the final by tying the eighth and final position with a mark of 20-7.75 (6.29). When Meon-Davis matched her best mark in the final round it broke the tie and enabled the Aggie frosh to secure eighth place and one point for A&M’s team score.

    Moving on to finals this weekend for the Aggies were Jennifer Madu (100), Ameer Webb (100), Henry Lelei (Steeplechase) and the women’s 4x100 relay. Just missing in the ninth spot of time qualifying for the finals were Prezel Hardy, Jr. in the 100 and Gregory Coleman in the 400 hurdles.

    The women’s 4x100 won the opening semifinal with a 42.84 clocking as they ran the foursome of LaKeidra Stewart, Ashton Purvis, Kamaria Brown and Ashley Collier. Finishing second to the Aggies in the first of three semis was Clemson at 43.70 with USC in third at 44.57. The time by the Aggies is the No. 10 performance on the A&M all-time list.

    Oregon won the second semi in 43.73 over Kansas (44.32) and Texas (44.54). The third semi had UCF passing LSU in the final 30 meters for a 43.15 to 43.44 win.

    In the men’s 400 Deon Lendore cruised into the final with a winning time of 45.36 as Florida’s Hugh Graham, Jr. challenged from lane one and ran 45.56 to place second. George Mason’s David Verburg posted the fastest time at 45.19 with Lendore the second fastest qualifier. A&M’s Ricky Babineaux ran 46.91 for seventh in the final semi.

    Texas A&M advanced one sprinter each in the 100 meters. Jennifer Madu was a time qualifier in the women’s 100 while Ameer Webb placed second in his semi to earn an automatic advancement to the final.

    Madu placed third with a windy 11.18 (2.6 wind) in the first semifinal behind an 11.00w for UCF’s Aurieyall Scott and an 11.14w for Oregon’s Jenna Prandini. A&M’s Ashton Purvis finished sixth with an 11.28.

    The second semifinal had the Aggie tandem of Olivia Ekpone and Ashley Collier placing third and fourth with times of 11.30 and 11.33 (2.8 wind). Octavious Freeman (10.99w) of UCF and Oregon’s English Gardner (11.00w) went 1-2.

    While LSU’s Kimberlyn Duncan claimed the third semi in 11.02w (2.3), the next automatic qualifier position was taken in 11.34w by Morolake Akinosun, a slower time than Purvis, Ekpone and Collier recorded in time qualifier positions.

    Webb posted a time of 10.07w (2.7 wind) as runner-up in the second semi behind a 10.00 for Isiah Young of Mississippi. Prezel Hardy, Jr. recorded a 10.11w (3.0) for fourth place in the third semi, and was the fastest non-qualifier for the final. TCU’s Charles Silmon won the heat in 9.92w with Alabama’s Diondre Batson second at 10.05 while Clemson’s Reggie Lewis advanced on time with a 10.07w. The final time qualifier went to LSU’s Aaron Ernest with a 10.08w in the second semifinal.

    Michael Bryan placed eighth in the first semifinal with a 10.35 (1.9). Florida State’s Dentarius Locke won that heat in 9.97w with USC’s Aaron Brown second at 10.05w.

    Gregory Coleman finished ninth overall in the 400 hurdles, placing fourth in his heat with a time of 50.56. That left him behind the final time qualifier of 50.51 by Texas Tech’s Isaiah Gill, who placed third ahead of Coleman in the first semifinal.

    Hector Hernandez (1:51.37) and Josh Hernandez (1:53.78) placed fifth and seventh in their respective semifinal heats of the 800. Of the four Arkansas entries one made the final as Leoman Momoh was the fastest qualifier at 1:47.44. Among the field of 24, Hector finished 18th while Josh was 21st. Kendall Munoz’s best mark in the javelin was 137-6 (41.92) to place 23rd.

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    LSU TRACK & FIELD ADVANCES SEVEN TO NCAA FINALS IN WEDNESDAY’S SEMIFINAL ROUND

    EUGENE, Ore. – The LSU Track & Field teams batted .700 during Wednesday’s opening day of the 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships as the Tigers and Lady Tigers combined to advance seven of their 10 semifinalists into national finals running later this weekend at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon.

    The Lady Tigers were nearly perfect as five of their six semifinalists advanced on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon in Eugene as they look to continue their march toward a national championship.

    The Tigers added two finalists of their own as they will return to the track for finals running Friday and Saturday on the final two days of this year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships.

    “Our athletes certainly showed up ready to compete today,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver of his team’s performance. “We were nearly perfect today in getting our athletes through into finals on the track to give ourselves the opportunity to score some big points here this weekend. That’s exactly the kind of effort we needed from our group here on our first day in Eugene.”

    The Tigers and Lady Tigers each ran seasonal bests while advancing to the final round of the 4x100-meter relay that will kick off Saturday’s championship finale at Hayward Field.

    The Tigers took the tape in the third of three heats in the men’s sprint relay semifinal with the fourth-fastest time of the day at 38.94 seconds as the team of senior Damar Forbes, sophomore Aaron Ernest, freshman Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and junior Shermund Allsop eclipsed their previous seasonal best of 38.98 that was set in claiming the SEC championship in the event.

    The Tigers will defend their national championship in the men’s 4x100-meter relay in their first final on the track on Saturday afternoon against a fast field as they will be joined in the race by the likes of Auburn (38.76), Florida (38.77), Alabama (38.78), Florida State (39.14), TCU (39.15), Arkansas (39.25) and Iowa (39.31).

    The Lady Tigers ran a seasonal best of their own in a runner-up finish in the third heat of the women’s 4x100-meter relay semifinal while advancing to the final with the third-fastest time of the day.

    Senior Latoya McDermott, senior Kimberlyn Duncan, junior Takeia Pinckney and junior Toshika Sylvester teamed for a seasonal best of 43.44 to finish second in their heat to the NCAA’s second-fastest sprint relay squad this season in Central Florida, as the Golden Knights crossed the finish line in 43.15. Also advancing to the NCAA final in the women’s 4x100-meter relay were Texas A&M (42.84), Clemson (43.70), Oregon (43.73), Kansas (44.32), Texas (44.54) and Southern California (44.57).

    Ernest and Duncan later returned to the track for the semifinal round of the 100-meter dash as each earned their lane in Friday’s finals with an opportunity to score big points for the Tigers and Lady Tigers.

    The women’s 100-meter final is shaping up to be one of the highlights of this year’s NCAA Championships as Duncan will square off against the likes of Central Florida’s tandem of Octavious Freeman and Aurieyall Scott and Oregon’s hometown favorite English Gardner for the national championship in what will surely be one of the fastest finals in meet history.

    While Duncan won the third semifinal heat with a seasonal-best wind-aided time of 11.02, Scott took the first heat with a windy 11.00 and Freeman crossed the finish line with the fastest time of the day at 10.99w for a narrow victory over Gardner’s 11.00w in the second heat. Each was more than one tenth of a second ahead of the fifth-place time as they will line up side-by-side in the women’s final on Friday night.

    The men will follow the women in the 100-meter final on Friday night as Ernest will line up in the fastest race in collegiate track and field for the second-straight season.

    After earning All-America honors with an eighth-place finish in his first NCAA final a year ago, Ernest grabbed the eighth and final qualifying spot during Wednesday’s semifinal round with his wind-aided run of 10.08 for third place in the second heat. Like Duncan, Ernest will also return to action on Thursday for the semifinal round of the 200-meter dash at Hayward Field.

    Also grabbing the eighth and final qualifying spot into the final of her event was Lady Tiger junior Nikita Tracey, who raced to third place in the first heat in the women’s 400-meter hurdles with a semifinal time of 57.14. Tracey finished third in her heat to Stanford’s Kori Carter (54.67) and Arizona’s Georganne Moline (54.89) as the Pac-12 rivals are sure to battle it out for the national title.

    The Lady Tigers are also poised to score big points in Friday’s 800-meter final after senior Charlene Lipsey and junior Natoya Goule each won their semifinal heats to highlight Wednesday’s qualifying for LSU.

    Lipsey raced to the fastest time of the semifinal round as she won the third heat in 2 minutes, 3.22 seconds ahead of Duke’s Cydney Ross in second place at 2:03.62. Goule cruised to victory in the first semifinals heat in 2:03.77 for the fourth-fastest time overall and third-fastest heat-winning time of the afternoon. Goule, the reigning NCAA Indoor champion, will look to complete the NCAA title sweep in Friday’s final, while Lipsey also looks to win her first career national title after winning the NCAA Outdoor silver medal a year ago.

    “I definitely felt good,” Lipsey said of her semifinal race. “I’m not used to the crowd being so packed with this just being prelims, it’s not really the finals or anything. We had some great weather today. Oregon, this will probably be the best weather we’ve had when I’ve been here, so that was big today. I also had great people to run it with.”

    Senior Brittany Porter and sophomore Quincy Downing nearly earned their spot in a national final for the first time in their careers with personal-best performances to help lead the charge on Wednesday afternoon.

    Porter stepped onto the long jump runway for her third and final jump of the preliminary round and soared to an outdoor wind-legal PR of 20 feet, 6 ½ inches to climb into 12th place in the final event standings. She will end her collegiate career as a two-time NCAA semifinalist and All-SEC performer in the event as one of the team’s top jumpers during her tenure.

    Downing slashed more than two tenths of a second off of his lifetime PR in the 400-meter dash when he crossed the finish line in 45.87 for fourth place in the third and final heat of the men’s semifinal. By clocking a PR of 45.87, Downing finished just two spots out of a lane in the final with 10th place overall in Wednesday’s semifinal round.

    A native of Dayton, Ohio, Downing has now run personal bests in each of his last two 400-meter races after clocking 46.08 in the quarterfinals at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds two weeks ago.

    Freshman Darrell Bush followed Downing in 20th place overall in his debut in the 400 meters at the NCAA Championships as he crossed the finish line in 47.15 for eighth place in the first semifinal heat of the afternoon.

    In other field-event action, seniors Joseph Caraway and Thomas Reinecke each cleared the bar at 17-2 ¾ in the men’s pole vault as Caraway tied for 15th place and Reinecke finished in 20th place overall in their first ever semifinals appearance at the NCAA Championships. Junior Denise Hinton opened the day by placing 21st in the women’s hammer throw with a series-best of 192-9 on the afternoon.

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    Irwin fourth in pole vault, five qualifiers on day one

    EUGENE, Ore. – The No. 2 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team completed day one of the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships with a fourth-place finish from Andrew Irwin in the pole vault and five qualifiers for event finals. Through the first two events of the national meet, the Razorbacks are tied for seventh place with five points. Competition in Eugene, Ore., resumes Thursday at 1 p.m. (CT) with day two of the decathlon.
               
    In his debut at the NCAA outdoor meet, Irwin turned in a fourth-place finish with a final clearance of 5.60m/18-4.5. He finished the competition with the same mark as Shawn Barber of Akron but finished fourth based on misses throughout the day. Irwin’s five points represent the first score of the weekend for the Razorback men. During his collegiate season, the Mount Ida, Ark., native won his second NCAA indoor title and was a two-time SEC champion.
               
    The Razorbacks’ first qualifier of the day was in the 4x100-meter relay. The team of Caleb Cross, Jarrion Lawson, Akheem Gauntlett and Neil Braddy passed the baton around the track in a season-best time of 39.25 to secure an at-large berth into Saturday’s final. With the exception of Braddy, three members of Arkansas’ sprint relay are so entered in an individual event.
               
    Cross and Gauntlett returned to the track to qualify for event finals in the 400-meter hurdles and at 400 meters, respectively. Cross was second in his heat and sixth overall with a time of 50.39 to secure a spot into the championship race. Gauntlett advanced to the final of the 400 meters by .004, claiming the final spot with his time of 45.70 in heat three. Lawson will return to the track Thursday for the long jump competition.
               
    Arkansas’ first individual qualifier of the day was Leoman Momoh. The Razorback senior was the top overall qualifier at 800 meters with a personal-best time of 1:47.44 to win heat one. In his race, Momoh replaced his previous best of 1:47.74 which he ran in May to win the SEC title. The team’s fifth and final qualifier of the day was Stanley Kebenei in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. In his first NCAA outdoor appearance with Arkansas, he had a closing time of 8:36.54, the second-fastest time posted during the semifinal round.
               
    Day one of the NCAA Championships also marked the beginning of the decathlon which included two Razorback entries. Kevin Lazas, in his third national appearance, is in scoring position with a seventh-place spot and 4,095 points after day one. The Razorback junior began his day with a personal-best time of 10.83 at 100 meters and followed with an all-conditions best of 7.58m/24-10.5 in the long jump. Lazas also tied his PR with a clearance of 1.99m/6-6.25 in the high jump.
               
    Making his NCAA Championships debut, Nathanael Franks sits in 16th place after day one of the decathlon. Through the first five events of the day, the Damascus, Ore., native has 3,914 points. He was just off his personal best in the long jump with a wind-aided mark of 7.01m/23-2. In the final event of the day, Franks posted a lifetime best effort of 48.83 to finish fourth overall at 400 meters.

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    Vucenovic Throws for Javelin Silver on Opening Day of NCAA Outdoors

    EUGENE, Ore. – Freshman javelin thrower Marija Vucenovic (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) turned in a runner-up finish in the women’s javelin to score eight points and highlight the opening day of the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at historic Hayward Field Wednesday.

    “Marija did a great job in her first NCAA Championships,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “I thought she was impressive coming through and finishing second.”

    Vucenovic, the 2013 SEC Champion in the event, led through the first five flights with her opening throw of 54.76m/179-8, scoring for the Gators to tie them for seventh overall through the first day of competition.

    Senior Ugonna Ndu (Newark, N.J.) won her heat of the women’s 400-meter hurdles with a time of 57.05, advancing to the finals of the event as the third-fastest qualifier. Ndu will compete in Friday’s final at 4:30 p.m. PT.

    Two Gator men and one of Florida’s relays advanced out of their respective semifinals Wednesday.

    “I thought we had a solid day today with the men. The relay, Arman and Hugh all did a great job,” Holloway said.

    The Florida men’s 4x100-meter relay, composed of freshman Antwan Wright (Riviera Beach, Fla.), sophomore Hugh Graham, Jr. (Miami, Fla.), senior Leonardo Seymore (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and sophomore Dedric Dukes (Miami, Fla.), captured their heat in a season’s best 38.77 to advance to Saturday’s finals at 2:12 p.m. PT. The time goes down as seventh all-time in program history and was second overall in the semifinals.

    Along with the relay, Graham, Jr. ran a personal best of 45.56 in the men’s 400 meters to advance to the finals at 6:05 p.m. PT Friday. Freshman Arman Hall (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) ran a collegiate best of 45.50 to automatically qualify for Saturday’s finals, advancing to his first individual final at an NCAA Championship meet.

    “Overall, we had a solid day, but we did have some things that could have gone much better,” Holloway commented. “I always tell the athletes that we just have to be who we are, the Florida Gators. Trust your coaches, trust your training and we’ll be fine. We still have some athletes who need to buy into that philosophy.

    “Time to get back to the hotel and get rested and recharged, come out tomorrow and get after it again,” Holloway finished.

    The four-day meet continues Thursday, June 6 and extends through Saturday, June 8.

    The Gator men are the defending NCAA Outdoor Champions and have placed in the top three at the last four NCAA Outdoor Championships, while the Florida women recorded a third-place finish at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

    A program-record 28 qualifiers made the trek from Gainesville to Eugene as 14 women, 11 men and three relays will represent the Orange and Blue at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon. The women are tied with Oregon for the second-most qualifiers at the NCAA Championships, while the men are also tied with Oregon for the fourth-most qualifiers in Eugene.

    Along with the new program record, the 15 Gator women (14 individuals, one relay) qualified for NCAAs is also a Florida record and the 13 UF men (11 individuals, two relays) is the second-most qualifiers in program history. The Orange and Blue qualified a program-record 16 men in 2011.

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    Szypka’s Season-Best Shot Put Mark Barely Misses NCAA Final

    EUGENE, Ore. – Kentucky track and field sophomore Bradley Szypka came agonizingly close to the NCAA Men’s Shot Put Final at Hayward Field on Wednesday.

    Szypka’s top throw was an outdoor season-best, having traveled 18.57 meters / 60 feet 11.25 inches. The toss was good for a 10th-place finish, one spot and three inches behind Michigan’s Cody Riffle for the final place in the nine-thrower final.

    Three of the four Wildcats who competed on Wednesday earned top-16 finishes, despite not advancing to their event finals.

    Keilah Tyson ran 11.40 rounded up from 11.391 with a 2.8 tailwind in the women’s 100 meters semifinal to finish fifth in her heat fifth and 15th overall. She did not advance to the final, but finished a breakthrough sophomore season having advanced to the NCAA Championships for the first time.

    Luis Orta wrapped up his stellar Kentucky career in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a 16th place time of 8:59.33. He did not move on to the event final, but earned his best-ever NCAA Championship finish.

    Chelsea Oswald ran 35:06.02 for 18th in her first NCAA Championship 10,000-meter final. The race was the third time Oswald ever competed at 10K and she will come back for the 5K final on Friday at 9:15 p.m.

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    Rucker Advances on Day One of NCAA Championships Women’s 4x100m relay finishes 11th overall

    EUGENE, Ore. – On the opening day of action at Hayward Field, sophomore Erika Rucker advanced to the 400-meter dash finals. Four other Gamecocks along with the women’s 4x100-meter relay also ran on the first of four days at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

    Rucker moved on to Friday’s 400-meter dash finals after running her second-fastest time of the season at 52.25.  For the running events, the top two finishers in each heat plus the next two fastest times advance. Last season, Rucker narrowly missed qualifying for the event final at the NCAA Championships. She will get her chance in the finals on Friday at 8:55 p.m. ET.

    The women’s 4x100-meter relay team of freshman Tyler Brockington, sophomore Tamera Harris, junior Vashti Bandy and freshman Ahtyana Johnson narrowly missed advancing out of Wednesday’s semifinals.  The group was just off of their season best of 44.62, clocking in at 44.84. The time was less than .3 seconds short of qualifying on time for the finals. The Gamecocks finished 11th overall.

    In the only running final of the day, sophomore Kayla Lampe took home a 17th-place finish.  Lampe is the first Gamecock to run the 10,000 meters since All-American Tanya Povey in 1998. In her NCAA Outdoor Championships debut, the school record holder turned in a time of 34:54.35.

    Running in the fastest prelim on record in the NCAAs, Brockington and Harris made solid NCAA debuts in the 400-meter hurdles.  Brockington finished 16th overall with a time of 59.04 with Harris at 21st clocking in at 1:00.12. Starting at SEC Outdoor Championships, the underclassmen have burst onto the scene lowering their personal bests by more than two seconds apiece.

    Gamecock junior Chris Royster, who ran the fourth-fastest all-condition time in school history at the 2013 SEC Outdoor Championships (10.17w), ran a 10.29 to finish 19th overall in the 100-meter dash. The blazing field featured two sub-10 second times, with the lowest qualifier for Friday’s final registering a 10.08.

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    PORTER TIES FOR 7TH ON DAY 1 OF NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

    EUGENE, Ore. – Capping off an outstanding campaign for the Tennessee pole vaulters, sophomore Tyler Porter scored a lifetime best at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Wednesday night, resulting in a tie for seventh place at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

    Despite entering the meet with a personal record of 17-feet, 5-inches (5.31-meters), Porter cleared 16-8.75 (5.10m), 17-2.75 (5.25m) and 17-8.50 (5.40m) on his first attempts, before coming up shy at 18-0.50 (5.50m). On his second attempt at 5.50m, Porter actually snapped his pole into three pieces.

    Finishing in a four-way tie for seventh, the Jefferson, Ga., native earned .75 points for the Volunteers on the opening day of action. With teammate Chase Brannon finishing eighth a season ago, Porter becomes just the third UT vaulter to score at the NCAA Outdoor Championships since 2002. Michael Hogue placed seventh in 2007.

    Brannon ended up reaching the same height as Porter on Wednesday evening, but with two more misses he was bumped to 14th place. Freshman Jake Blankenship, who entered the meet with the No. 5 mark in the NCAA, cleared 5.10m and 5.25m on his first attempts, but fell short of the 5.25m mark to end up in a tie for 15th. Tennessee was the only team to have three vaulters in the 24-man field.

    On the track, the Vol 4x100-meter relay entered the meet with the sixth-fastest time (39.58s) at NCAA Regionals, but had a hiccup in the first exchange in the semifinals on Wednesday. Leadoff leg Arnez Hardnick was off to a good start out of lane six for the Vols, but the baton hit the track during the exchange with Jarael Nelvis, resulting in disqualification. Hardnick, Nelvis, Reggie Juin and Jamol James – the same foursome as this season – finished seventh at last season’s NCAA Outdoor Championships. All four return for the Vols next year.

    The Lady Vols were unable to advance any of their three participants on Wednesday. Coming off a UT freshman record performance of 52.33 seconds at the NCAA East Preliminary meet, Felicia Brown finished 15th in the 400m in a time of 53.05. In the women’s 800m, senior Nijgia Snapp crossed the line in 2 minutes, 9.07 seconds to finish 20th overall.

    After recording a lifetime best mark of 20-1 (6.12m) in the long jump at the NCAA East Prelims, senior Kia Jackson closed her Tennessee career with a 24th-place finish in the event. Jackson hit 18-3.25 (5.57m) on her first attempt and fouled on her final two jumps. Jackson had a great second leap which appeared to be over 20-feet, but her foot was inches over the board.

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    NCAA POLE VAULT CHAMPION: Sam Kendricks

    EUGENE, Ore. – Ole Miss sophomore Sam Kendricks captured a national title in the men's pole vault at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships Wednesday night.

    With his winning clearance of 18-8.25, the Oxford, Miss., native became the first person in school history to win an NCAA title in the pole vault. His title is the 13th individual national championship in program history, while he becomes the eighth Rebel to win at least one NCAA title. The others are Ralph Spry, George Kersh, Greg Saddler, Savante’ Stringfellow, Antwon Hicks, Barnabas Kirui and Brittney Reese.

    “We had an outstanding day,” Rebel head coach Brian O’Neal said. “But it’s just day one and there’s so much more we’re still fighting for. Sam came in here and had an outstanding performance to get 10 big points for our team. He’s been one of our stars all year long, and I’m just really proud of him.”

    Kendricks kept clearing bars with ease at historic Hayward Field, many of them on the first try, until it was down to him and last year’s outdoor champion Jack Whitt of Oral Roberts. After they both cleared 18-4.5, Kendricks passed on the next height of 18-6.5, while Whitt went over on his first attempt. Kendricks then cleared his first try at 18-8.25, while Whitt missed once and then passed to 18-10.25. Both missed their attempts at that final height, giving Kendricks a victorious night to remember.

    “It was a great competition,” O’Neal said. “Sam battled through some adversity and there was a little bit of gamesmanship, but at the end of it all, when the bar was on the line, Sam was money. I’m really proud of him and proud of the job that Coach Kendricks has done with him. When you believe in yourself and your coach and your training, special things happen, and Sam’s performance tonight was a byproduct of that.”

    Before this meet, Kendricks previously placed third at this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships and was 10th at last year’s NCAA Outdoors as a freshman.

    Next up for the sensational sophomore will be the U.S. Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, June 20-23, where the top qualifiers will advance to the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Russia, Aug. 10-18. Kendricks is currently ranked second among Americans and seventh in the world this year with a mark of 19-0.75.

    Isiah Young, who entered the meet as one of the favorites in both the 100 and 200 meters, won his semifinal 100-meter heat with a time of 10.00 to advance to Friday’s final. That eight-man final will take place at 7:10 p.m. CT, televised by ESPNU.

    “Isiah did what was expected in qualifying for the 100,” O’Neal added. “Last year he was the fastest non-qualifier ever in at the NCAA Championships, so to come back this year and give himself a chance to score some points for the team is huge.”

    The Rebel senior who came into the NCAAs with a collegiate-leading time of 9.99, a school record, was third-fastest in the semifinals behind TCU’s Charles Silmon (9.92) and Florida State’s Dentarius Locke (9.97).

    Young is the second Ole Miss athlete to ever make the NCAA 100-meter final. Mike Granger placed seventh in the 100-meter final in 2011.

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    Georgia’s Freya Jones Wins NCAA Javelin Title

    EUGENE, Ore. --- Georgia freshman Freya Jones won the women’s javelin title to highlight the first day of the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., on Wednesday.

    Jones launched a career-long throw of 180 feet, 3 inches at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field to clinch the Lady Bulldogs their first national championship in the javelin since Vigdis Gudjonsdottir won the 1999 crown.

    The 10th-ranked Lady Bulldogs are tied for second with three other teams with 10 points as Kansas has taken an early lead with 17 points.  Mississippi and Texas have each scored 10 points to take a day one lead in the men’s team race.  The Georgia men have not scored yet in the competition.

    Freshman Maicel Uibo and sophomore Garrett Scantling start the day on Thursday with the 110-meter hurdles at 2 p.m. ET.  Senior Lucie Ondraschkova begins the heptathlon at 4 p.m. while sophomore Tynia Gaither starts the open events for Georgia in the 200 semifinals at 7 p.m.

     A native of Hampshire, Great Britain, Jones was in fifth place going into the fifth of six rounds with a top throw of 172 feet.  On her fifth attempt, she launched the javelin 180-3 and completed her series with nothing that measured less than 166-6.  Jones came into the competition with a personal-best throw of 173-9.

    Freshman Shaunae Miller, who captured the 2013 NCAA indoor title in March, cruised to a school record of 51.57 in the 400 and the top qualifying time during her semifinal round.  Racing out of lane four, Miller quickly made up the stagger and shot far in front of the pack during the final 100 meters.

    Miller’s 51.57, which was .07 faster than her winning time at the Carifta Games in the spring, topped a 26-year-old school record of 51.60 set by Gwen Torrence at the 1987 Drake Relays.   Miller won her heat by nearly a half second on Wednesday.

    Miller returns to the track at 8:55 p.m. on Friday for the finals.

    In the decathlon, Scantling is in 10th place through five events after scoring 4,021 points.  His teammate, Maicel Uibo, is holding on to 11th place with 4,003 as the pair are set to complete their multi-events on Thursday.

    Scantling started the day in the opening heat of the 100 and clocked an 11.06 for 847 points.

    Scantling opened with his best attempt in the long jump after registering a mark of 23-1.75 for 826 points.  All three of Scantling’s marks in the long jump this year have measured between 23-1.25 and 23-2.

    Recovering from a first round foul, Scantling scored 698 points after his second throw measured 44-3.50.  This gave Scantling an eighth-place finish in the event.

    Scantling posted four first attempt clearances to reach 6-7.50 in the high jump.  This gained the Jacksonville, Fla., native 822 points and moved him up in the overall standings.

    In the final event of the day, Scantling was one of only 11 competitors out of 24 to break 50 seconds in the 400.  He was ninth overall after completing his lap in 49.72, which was good for 828 points.

    Uibo was sixth in the third heat of the 100 after crossing the finish line in 11.17 to start his day.  This finish gave him 823 points in the opening event.

    With a foul in the middle of his series, Uibo had a pair of 24-foot marks in the long jump, topping it out with an effort of 24-5.  He scored 920 points and was fifth overall in the event.

    Uibo launched an opening attempt of 40-2 in the shot put to add 621 points to his total.  He followed his first throw up with a pair of fouls and was 20th overall.

    Passing on four of his first five heights (with a first attempt clearance at the fourth height), Uibo moved into the scoring position with 906 points in the high jump.  He cleared a career-high mark of 6-11 on his second attempt to take second overall.  At the next height (7-0.25), Uibo passed after an opening miss to prepare for the 400.

    Uibo wrapped up his first day by finishing 20th in the 400 with a mark of 51.82.

    In her first trip to the NCAA outdoor meet, freshman Chanice Porter took the long jump runway on her first jump and had a mark of 20-3.75.  The Jamaican native finished 14th overall after putting the 2013 SEC indoor title on her resume earlier in the year.

    Sophomore Nick Vena sandwiched a toss of 60-8 between two fouls in the shot put to take 11th.  Vena came into the meet with the longest throw at both the NCAA East and West Prelims.

    Junior Caleb Whitener was strapped with two fouls to start his series and managed a throw of 59-0.75 on his third try.  This was 10th in the opening flight and put him 17th overall during his second trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

    Junior Megan Malasarte, who earned First Team All-America honors in 2012, did not make the finals in the 800.  Rolling with the front three through the first lap, Malasarte tucked in behind her heat’s winner (national leader Natoya Goule) to move into second place.  But the Fayetteville native slipped to fourth in the final straightaway and took 13th overall with a 2:05.46.

    The Georgia men suffered a similar fate in their 800.  Sophomore Charles Grethen advanced to the number two spot in his heat going into the final lap, but finished sixth in his heat and 19th overall with a time of 1:51.91 during his first NCAA meet.

    Freshman Kisean Smith, who punched his ticket to the meet after being ranked in the 80s nationally, was 24th in the 800 semifinals with a time of 1:56.45.

    In the men’s 100 semifinals, junior Johnathan Smith clocked a 10.31 to finish sixth in his heat and 20th overall.  A three-time Division III All-American at Guilford College, Smith finishes his first season with the Bulldogs fourth-fastest time in school history (10.20).

    Smith’s teammate in the sprints, sophomore Drew Branch, was 23rd in the semifinal round of the 400 hurdles.  Competing at the 2012 NCAA outdoor meet in a relay, Branch finished with a time of 53.51 during his first trip to nationals as an individual.