June 12, 2008
DES MOINES, Iowa - Norris Frederick placed sixth in his final collegiate long jump appearance, and seniors Austin Abbott and Amanda Miller secured All-America honors by reaching the finals in their events as day two of the NCAA Track and Field Championships wrapped up at Drake Stadium.
Frederick (Seattle, Wash./Roosevelt) moved into third on Washington's career All-America honors list with his eighth award. He can tie Ryan Brown for second with a strong performance in the high jump tomorrow. Frederick was the only athlete in the NCAA this year to reach the final in both the long jump and high jump.
Much of the suspense was taken out of the long jump at the very beginning, as Florida State freshman Ngonidzashe Makusha of Florida State surpassed 27-feet as the first jumper and the mark would not be threatened. Still, Frederick was able to jump a personal best outdoors, going 25-6 ¾ on his third attempt. His final two attempts were very big but his toe was just over the foul line on both occasions. In Frederick's last four NCAA long jump appearances, he finished sixth, third, second, and now sixth once again.
"Winning at this meet is tough," said head coach Greg Metcalf. "Makusha going 27-feet on the first jump kind of put everybody in the bucket. But Norris got his eighth All-American award. He's done wonderful things for our program. He's a great guy and I know he'll put it together and go score again in the high jump tomorrow."
After coming from the back of the pack to finish third in his prelim heat on Wednesday, Abbott (Chehalis, Wash./W.F. West) followed the same script in the semifinals. Abbott was running last out of eight through the first 600 meters, but poured it on in the end to pass five runners on the homestretch and finish third once again in a time of 1:48.54. Abbott earned the last qualifying spot by .04 seconds over Carlos Phillips of Florida.
"I wanted to try to get out harder (than yesterday), and I did try, but it didn't happen again," said Abbott. "That's kind of been a theme all year; trying to get out and not being able to. But although I was in last place I was still right there with everyone. So it turned out to be a good spot because I had a lot of room to run. With 200 to go I tried to start to make a move outside but three guys went outside in front of me and formed a wall. But down the homestretch, I saw a tiny gap open up and I just slipped through it and just went all the way to the line."
Washington has now had a finalist in the 800-meters at NCAA Outdoors for the past three years, and earned All-America honors in the event each year since 2005. Ryan Brown was a three-time Outdoor All-American in the 800 and the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Champion.
"It feels good. I haven't had an All-American award in a while, so it's nice to be back on track," Abbott said.
Miller, from Wenatchee, Wash. (Eastmont), qualified for the final of the 1500m with a lifetime-best time of 4:16.68, placing sixth in heat one. Sophomore Katie Follett (Fort Collins, Colo./Fort Collins) and senior Michelle Turner (Orem, Utah/Timpanogos) finished seventh and eighth in the second heat, running the 14th and 15th best times overall giving UW three women in the top-15. Follett and Turner were in the back of the pack and then had to avoid two runners who tripped and fell in front of them, setting them further back. Both made up a lot of ground with hard kicks to the finish, but came up short.
"Amanda ran that on 100% willpower. She is not healthy, but Amanda Miller without a doubt is the single toughest woman I've ever coached," said Mectalf. "A couple minutes later, Katie and Michelle start to move and there's a crash and it was chaos. They should be in the final, but in the middle distance events anything can happen. It's incredibly unfortunate. But the positive is Amanda made the final and Katie and Michelle are very happy for her, and all three will be running in the Olympic Trials."
After Follett won the Pac-10 title in the 1500, and Turner won the West Regional, it is fitting that Miller now took her turn at the forefront at NCAA's. She should notch the fourth All-America award of her career, which will tie her for third-most all-time at UW.
Sophomore Falesha Ankton (Benicia, Calif./Benicia) made her individual NCAA debut in the 100m hurdles today, finishing 21st overall in the prelims. Ankton ran 13.69, unable to advance, but the No. 2 100m hurdler in UW history still has two years to return to the national stage.
"Falesha was a little fired up. She got over the third hurdle a little too fast and the fourth hurdle came at her a little quick so she stutter-stepped and broke her rhythm. But she's only a sophomore so there's big thing in her future," Metcalf said.
In the night's final race, sophomore Jake Schmitt (Kentfield, Calif./Redwood) finished 21st in the 10000m run in a time of 30:44.12. It was the first NCAA appearance for Schmitt, who transferred to UW from California prior to the season.
2008 NCAA Track and Field Championships
Drake Stadium - Des Moines, Iowa
Day 2 of 4
June 12, 2008
Men's Results (UW Only)
Women's Results (UW Only)
100m Hurdles (Heat 4 of 4): 5. Falesha Ankton, 13.69 (21st overall). 1500m Run (Heat 1 of 2): 6. Amanda Miller, 4:16.68q. (Heat 2 of 2): 7. Katie Follett, 4:19.00 (14th overall); 8. Michelle Turner, 4:20.06 (15th overall).