June 5, 1998
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Washington freshman Ja'Warren Hooker clocked the fastest 100-meter semifinal time and earned a place in Saturday's championship race and Ben Lindsey earned All-America accolades Friday at the NCAA Track & Field Championships hosted by the University of Buffalo.
Hooker won his heat with a time of 10.33 seconds, edging runner-up Leonard Myles-Mills of Brigham Young who finished in 10.35.
"My race wasn't a good race at all, but I just used as little effort as I could to make it into the finals," Hooker said. "I didn't feel right the whole race. When I got out, there was someone ahead of me. I just caught back up to him and then the last 10 meters I put a little kick in to take the victory."
A product of Ellensburg High School, Hooker remained undefeated in 21 sprint races during his inaugural collegiate campaign. Hooker, who captured the Pacific-10 Conference 100- and 200-meter titles, won his 14th straight 100-meter race.
"Ja'Warren hasn't been getting the best starts, but he is a good racer and does whatever it takes to win," said Washington coach Orin Richburg. ""He ran the fastest time today, so he definitely has as good a chance to win as anybody."
Hooker bids to become the first 100 dash national champion in Washington history and the first Husky NCAA men's titlist in any event since Mike Ramos won the decathlon in 1986.
He is the only freshman in the eight-man final. Among the upperclassmen challenging Hooker for the title are Texas Christian senior Percy Spencer who had a winning time of 10.59 in the other semifinal heat. Spencer boasts the best time in the nation this season, a mark of 9.96. He matched Hooker's top trials time of 10.28.
"I don't really care who's next to me tomorrow," Hooker remarked about his elite opposition. "It's all going to be tunnel vision with me running my race."
Lindsey, a graduate of Lynnwood High School, earned the third All-America award of his young collegiate career. He improved on last year's ninth-place performance, finishing fifth in the discus with a throw of 193-1.
Colorado State's Casey Malone recorded a winning discus mark of 200-2. Alex Forst of LSU placed second at 195-7 and Washington State's Ian Waltz was third with a mark of 194-10.
Lindsey was in fourth place before Christer Hagberg of Manhattan bettered him by one inch, taking over fourth with a mark of 193-2 on his final throw.
The men's discus competition was delayed three hours and was eventually contested at 9 p.m. after all other events had already concluded.
"Your whole game plan going in gets thrown out the window," said Lindsey of the long delay's effect. "Under the circumstances, I guess I threw pretty well. Now, I have to put this behind me and concentrate on the shot put."
Lindsey will participate in the shot put on Saturday, an event in which he placed fifth during the 1998 NCAA Indoor Championships. He ranks second entering the outdoor shot put final.