June 6, 2013
|NCAA Outdoor Championships
June 5-8 at Oregon's Hayward Field
Championship Info Page | Schedule | Live Results | Women's Start Lists | Men's Start Lists
EUGENE, Ore. - The last charge of Jeremy Taiwo in a Husky uniform was one for the recordbooks, and it took an equally amazing performance to keep him from his first NCAA decathlon title. On day two of the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field, Taiwo posted a huge PR of 8,239 points, making him the No. 8 performer in NCAA history, but Johannes Hock of Texas put up 8,267 points to earn the victory. Taiwo's score is also the best by an American this year.
It was a back-and-forth battle all day long, with Taiwo (Renton, Wash./Newport HS) owning the lead at the start of the day, and holding it after the 110-meter hurdles, but Hock, a native German who excels in the throws, took the lead with a big edge in the discus. Taiwo had a big career-best in the pole vault to close the gap, but Taiwo went into the final 1,500-meters needing to outrun Hock by about 27-seconds to catch him. Taiwo went out aggressively and took third in the race, running a PR of 4:16.34, but Hock fought for his own best time of 4:37.90, a gap of about 21 seconds, and enough to earn him the title.
Still, Taiwo's huge score makes him the eighth-best performer in NCAA history, and yet just second on the Washington top-10 list, as the No. 4 performer in NCAA history is Mike Ramos, who scored 8,322 points in 1986 and won the NCAA title that year. Taiwo's runner-up finish is the second-best ever for a Husky aside from Ramos' win. Taiwo's total is also the seventh-best score in NCAA meet history, and the 12th-best decathlon score in NCAA history at any meet. And all that work over two days gives the Husky men's team eight points at nationals.
"I went out and did everything I could," said Taiwo. "The throwing events didn't go as well as I wanted them to, that's a testament to how much I need to show up at practice and work on them. Everything else I'm okay with. All in all, there's a lot of ups and downs in the multi, and I'm really happy I got the `A' standard. That's something I really wanted to get this year. I wish I could have finished in first place, but (Hock) had a great two days and there's not much you can do except go out and compete."
Taiwo also exorcised some NCAA decathlon demons, after he was knocked out of his sophomore year NCAA decathlon in 2010 with a concussion in the hurdles, and in 2011 he was saddled with an elbow injury that made him a non-factor in the javelin, costing him hundreds of points. He'll earn All-America First Team honors, the second First Team honor of his career and first outdoors.
Perhaps most significantly is what the score could mean for the rest of Taiwo's summer. By surpassing the World Championships `A' standard of 8,200 points, Taiwo could now earn a spot on Team USA for the World Championships in Moscow this summer, as long as he completes the decathlon at the USA Championships coming up June 20-23 in Des Moines. To make Team USA, athletes must hit that 8,200 point mark, and very few have at this point, giving Taiwo an early edge.
Starting day two in the 110-meter hurdles, Taiwo had to wait until the sixth and final heat, and watched many of his fellow contenders clock personal bests in earlier heats. When it was finally his turn, Taiwo burst out of the blocks, driving hard between each hurdle. He hit two of the last three hurdles fairly hard, but was not deterred, leaning across the line to win his heat and win the overall event, as the 14.16 that flashed up on the board was the fastest out of all competitors, and the fastest of Taiwo's career.
Taking the lead into the discus, Taiwo hit his first real road bump of the competition. He had a safe throw of 110-7 on his first, then improved a bit to 114-6 on his second attempt, but did not improve on his third. That 114-6 was well off his season-best of 133-8 and PR of 137-2, and dropped him out of the lead, as Texas' Johannes Hock had a big throw of 166-0 to jump into the lead by about a hundred points.
Moving on to the pole vault, Taiwo was on the lower of the two pits, choosing to start at a lower bar and work his way up. Hock, the leader, started at the higher pit and nearly no-heighted, but he got a third attempt make at his first height and went 15-9 before Taiwo had taken a jump at the second pit. Taiwo finally came in at 14-9 and cleared on his second attempt. He then passed up to 15-5 and missed his first two before earning a much needed third attempt clearance. Taiwo kept the ball rolling with a second-attempt make at 15-9, then broke the 16-foot mark for the first time in his career on his very first jump.
Now the last vaulter competing, Taiwo worked the crowd for a slow clap at 16-4 ¾, and he soared up and over that new career-best on his second attempt, pumping his fists and clapping on the met. He had some good looks at the next bar, 16-8 ¾, but finally bowed out after a total of five clearances, and two new PRs. That pulled Taiwo closer to Hock, trailing by 42 points.
In the javelin, Hock entered with a much bigger PR so Taiwo was looking for a good throw that would keep him in contact. After a couple throws in the 150-foot range, Taiwo improved on his third attempt out to 163-7, earning 587 points, a solid mark. Hock, however, tossed 192-1 to gain about 130 points and set the stage for the final 1,500-meters.
Taiwo was not the only Husky great in action today. Running in the 200-meters at NCAA Outdoors for the fourth and final time in his career was senior James Alaka today. Alaka, who has said he plans to return for a final year of indoor eligibility next year, made his final outdoor run for the Dawgs, as he finished eighth in his heat, running out of the challenging lane one, in a time of 20.97 seconds.
After Alaka's last NCAA Outdoor appearance, freshman Chris Williams made his first individual run in the 110-meter hurdles. Williams was coming off a great PR of 13.82 seconds at Prelims, but he clipped a number of hurdles today and never got going. Williams ran one of his slowest times of the season, going 14.46, and will have to chalk the day up as a learning experience.
The same went for sophomore Liberty Miller, running in the 3,000-meter steeplechase semis today for the first time. Miller started out very well, and was sitting in sixth-place, one off the auto advancing spot, with three laps to go. But she suddenly looked to hit a wall and faded significantly over the final two laps, winding up 11th in her section in 10:28.27.
Washington Track & Field
NCAA Outdoor Championships
June 6, 2013 - Eugene, Ore.
Day 2 of 4
200m (Semifinal 3 of 3):
3,000m Steeplechase (Semifinal 1 of 2): 11. Liberty Miller, 10:28.27 (does not advance).
Taiwo Decathlon Day Two
110-meter hurdles: 14.16
Pole Vault: 16-4 ¾
Taiwo Decathlon Day One
Long Jump: 24-4 ¼
Shot Put: 44-11 ½
High Jump: 7-1 ½
Day One Total: 4,389