March 11, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Senior Scott Roth successfully defended his NCAA Indoor Championship in the pole vault today, further cementing his place in Washington history. Roth's clutch performance was the highlight of day one for the Huskies at the two-day national meet held at Texas A&M's Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.
The Granite Bay, Calif. native becomes the sixth Husky to win multiple NCAA titles, dating all the way back to 1921 when Gus Pope won the shot put and discus. He's the first to repeat in the same event since Brad Walker also won two-straight NCAA Indoor pole vault titles in 2003 and 2004. Roth gave the Dawgs 10 team points with the win, with three more men vying for points on Saturday.
"I didn't really have expectations; I didn't expect to even be here this year," Roth said, referring to a hamstring injury that sidelined him over the past month. "So that made the feel of the meet entirely different. I just went out there and had fun, was relaxed and talking to people, so it was a really enjoyable competition for me."
After suffering a hamstring pull one month back at the Husky Classic, Roth thought his chances for a repeat title were over. But after several weeks of rehab, he tested it earlier this week and felt he'd be able to give it a shot. In all that time he remained the NCAA's top-ranked vaulter, but without reaching the heights of a year ago when he was in top form and won every competition indoors.
"Honestly going down the runway I was thinking any second my leg was going to blow out again, so that was a little scary; I could definitely feel it there in the competition. (Winning) last year felt like I really worked for it and trained my butt off. This year is kind of a surprise to me, so it's hard to say which was more rewarding, I'm just really happy with it," said Roth.
Roth entered today at 17-2 ¾. He missed his first attempt then cleared. At the next bar, 17-6 ½, Roth suddenly ran into trouble, barely dislodging the bar on his first try and then failing to get a good jump on the second. One jump from elimination, Roth refused to buckle, and cleared by a good six inches. He then got another easy clearance on his second attempt at 17-8 ½.
After missing his first try at 17-8 ½, Roth got on a good roll. He cleared that bar on his second attempt, then had a first attempt clearance at 17-10 ½, which only three other vaulters made. The critical clearance came at 18-0 ½, as Roth cleared on his first try again, a third-consecutive make. Only Minnesota's Ben Peterson was also able to get over, but he did so on his second try, giving Roth the tiebreak edge. Peterson missed three shots at 18-2 ½, and Roth chose to forego his final attempt at the same height after two misses of his own, wanting to preserve his still tender right leg.
"I had to kind of figure things out again as I went," said Roth. "The runway was really fast so I had to move my step back. Throughout the meet I was kind of inching back up. There were a lot of adjustments going on. So it started off shaky but towards the end I was nailing it. When your steps are on and your arms are high, you're going to jump high."
Fellow senior Ryan Vu (Bellevue, Wash.) tied for 11th in the pole vault in his final competition as a Husky. Vu was making his NCAA Indoor Championship debut, and matched his finish from the 2010 NCAA Outdoor meet. Vu cleared 17-2 ¾ on his second attempt, but was unable to make it up and over the next bar. Vu's career was highlighted by a 2010 Pac-10 title and NCAA appearances in his final two seasons.
Just a week ago, sophomore James Cameron had a mile PR of 4:06.99. He then went out last Saturday and posted a 3:58.51 in the UW Final Qualifier, becoming just the fourth sub-four-minute miler in Husky history, and earning his first trip to NCAAs.
Cameron could have been excused if he was excited just to be here, but he was ready to prove he belonged. Running in the second of two eight-man heats, Cameron positioned himself well on the second lap, and stuck around fifth for most of the race. The top four finishers from each of the two heats, plus the next two best times would move on to the Saturday final. Cameron's heat remained tightly bunched around the final turn, with six men battling for the four spots, and Cameron used a strong surge over the final 30 meters to take second place in 4:01.33.
"I felt like I surged well with a quarter-mile to go and then at the very end there was a pack of about six of us and I was able to kick it in another gear and get second so that was great," Cameron said. "This is a great opportunity, it's so much fun. These are the best athletes in the country, so it's really humbling to be in the race with all these All-Americans. I'm having a great time and we've got a great crew here."
Taiwo sits in eighth place after day one with 3,223 points, trailing Mantas Silkauskas of Kansas State who has 3,347. Fifth-place is just 23 points away from Taiwo. His 3,223 points is 143 points more than he had at the UW Invitational, his only previous heptathlon this year, when he set the school record.
Taiwo dove in headfirst with a big personal-best in the first event of the day, the 60-meter dash. Running out of the first heat of eight, Taiwo placed second in the heat with a good late push, stopping the clock in 7.06 seconds. That wound up fifth overall after one event. His previous PR of 7.15 seconds ranked only 12th out of the field coming in.
The first jumper in the next event, the long jump, Taiwo flew to another new best mark, going 23-10 ¾ for 881 points. That was sixth-best out of the field of 16, and after two events he sat seventh overall, but was just 36 points out of second and on a personal-best pace.
The first struggle for Taiwo came in the shot put. He fouled his first attempt, threw 37-5 on attempt two, and improved it to 39-2 ½ on his last throw. Still that was just 13th in the event and below his season-best 44-foot throw.
Taiwo came back strong in the high jump, clearing his first three bars on his first attempt at each. He needed a second attempt to get over 6-8 ¾, then made a second attempt jump at 6-9 ¾, which only one other vaulter cleared. Taiwo couldn't quite get over 6-11 on three attempts, setting for second in the event and another 878 points.
On Saturday, Taiwo will finish up his heptathlon journey with the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault, and 1,000-meter run. Freshmen Katie Flood and Megan Goethals will run the women's 3,000-meters at 6:40 p.m. Central time and senior Colton Tully-Doyle will compete in the men's 3,000-meters right after that at 6:55 p.m.
Washington Track & Field
NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships
College Station, Texas - Texas A&M
Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium
March 11, 2011 - Day One of Two
Mile Run (Prelim 2 of 2): 2. James Cameron, 4:01.33 (Adanvces To Final); Pole Vault (Final): 1. Scott Roth, 18-0 ½; 11 (tie). Ryan Vu, 17-2 ¾; Heptathlon (Day One of Two): 8. Jeremy Taiwo, 3,223 (Breakdown below).
Jeremy Taiwo Heptathlon By Event
60-meter dash: 7.06 seconds - 861 points (New PR)
Long Jump: 23-10 ¾ - 881 points (New PR)
Shot Put: 39-2 ¾ - 603 points
High Jump: 6-9 ¾ - 878 points
Washington's Multiple NCAA Track & Field Champions
Scott Roth (2009 and 2010 indoor pole vault)
Ryan Brown (2007 indoor 800m and 2006 outdoor 800m)
Brad Walker (2003 and 2003 indoor pole vault)
Scott Neilson (1976-1979 hammer throw and 1977-79 weight throw)
Steve Anderson (1930 120y high hurdles and 1929 220y low hurdles)
Gus Pope (1921 shot put and discus)