BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Washington freshman Ja'Warren Hooker tied for the fastest men's 100-meter time during the trials while Danelle Kabush and Geoff Perry advanced in the 1,500-meter events Thursday during the second day of the NCAA Track & Field Championships at the University of Buffalo.
Hooker, a product of Ellensburg High School, remained undefeated in 20 sprint races during his inaugural collegiate campaign. He was victorious in his 13th consecutive 100-meter race, winning his heat with a time of 10.28 seconds.
Texas Christian's Percy Spencer, who entered the meet with the fastest qualifying mark, won his heat with the same time as Hooker. Spencer benefited from an aiding wind while Hooker ran into a slight breeze.
"I wasn't pleased with my start -- it was horrible. Right out of the blocks everybody already had a step on me," Hooker explained. "Luckily, I made it up right away. It's just something I'll get better on tomorrow."
The semifinals of the 100 meters will be contested Friday with the final scheduled for Saturday.
Hooker also ran the opening leg on the Huskies' 1,600-meter relay team, giving UW a 15-meter advantage after the first lap. Washington did not finish the race as junior Derek Prior pulled up lame 120 meters into the second leg. Seniors Scott Anabel (Cascade HS) and B.J. Dawson (Bothell HS), scheduled for the third and fourth legs, did not get an opportunity to run.
Prior collapsed to the ground, suffering a cramp on the outside of his left hamstring.
"It's really disappointing to have that kind of lead and then have that happen," said Husky coach Orin Richburg. "Hooker ran his fastest leg of the year and they were on their way to run their best time of the year by a big margin."
Two Huskies advanced to Saturday's finals in the 1,500 meters. Kabush, a senior, shaved over two seconds off her personal best in the women's 1,500, recording a time of 4:18.81 that is the third fastest performance in Husky history. She finished fifth in her heat and bettered the winning time in the other heat.
"My goal was to make finals," Kabush remarked. "I'm just excited to still be running and I'll give it all I have left."
Perry, a sophomore from Gig Harbor High School, finished fourth in his heat with a time of 3:42.64 that ranks third among all-time Husky competitors. He takes the ninth best qualifying time into the 12-man final. Washington State's Bernard Lagat won Perry's heat with a time of 3:42.37 while Stanford's Gabe Jennings had the best semifinal time of 3:40.54.
"It's awesome to run here. It's such a dream come true to get into the finals and run with these guys," said Perry. "In the final, I want to stick in it, have fun and score some points."
The top eight finishers in each event score points for their teams and receive All-America certificates.
The only Washington athlete, other than Hooker, competing Friday is sophomore Ben Lindsey (Lynnwood HS) who brings the nation's third best qualifying mark into the men's discus.