Miller Vaults To Fourth On Day One Of NCAAs
June 6, 2012
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DES MOINES, Iowa - One year ago, Logan Miller was a surprise qualifier for the NCAA Championships, and her 11th-place finish was a great effort for her nationals debut. Fast forward to today, and the junior from Reno, Nev. had bigger goals in mind. Miller cleared 14-3 ¼ in the pole vault today to place fourth at Drake Stadium, leading the Huskies on day one of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Miller nets five points for the Husky women's team on the first of the four day competition, already outpacing what the Huskies scored last year. Her fourth-place finish is the best by a Husky vaulter since Kate Soma won the NCAA title in 2005. Assistant Coach Pat Licari has now had five different women's vaulters score at an NCAA Championships meet. Miller's performance continued a recent string of success for Licari's vaulters, after Scott Roth won NCAA men's titles indoors and out last year. Freshman J.J. Juilfs will also vault in the men's finals on Friday.
Miller came in at 12-9 ½, the opening height, and missed her first jump, but after that she made five straight bars, clearing 13-3 ¼, then 13-7 ¼, 13-9 ¼, and 13-11 ¼, with the first attempt makes moving her up the standings. Seven women remained after 13-11 ¼, so Miller was assured of being in the points by then. She then missed her first two tries at 14-1 ¼, but got up and over on her last chance to stay in the mix. At 14-3 ¼, Miller got over on a first try again, wobbling the bar but leaving it up. Five remained after that height. Jumping at what would have been a new PR at 14-5 ¼, Miller had three solid attempts but dislodged the bar each time.
Stanford's Katerina Stefanidi, who kept Miller from the Pac-12 title last month, got the win with a clearance of 14-7 ¼, which matched the NCAA meet record. NCAA record-holder Tina Sutej of Arkansas finished sixth. This was Miller's third time this year over 14-feet; she broke the school record at Pac-12s with a 14-4 ½ clearance. She should be a qualifier for the upcoming Olympic Trials and is hoping to make the finals.
"I feel like I competed well. I wish I had made the next bar, which would have been a PR, but I'm happy with fourth," said Miller. "I'm a consistent 14-foot vaulter now, so I knew I could do that today. Girls were jumping really well and other girls were on their `A' game."
Redshirt freshman Georgia Reynolds was the surprise of the West Prelims, setting a new PR by eight inches to grab a spot in the national finals. But the North Bend, Wash. native couldn't get in the same rhythm today, as she was unable to clear the first bar of 12-9 ½. Still, she'll earn All-America honorable mention for making it to Iowa.
Junior James Alaka ran today in the semifinals of the 100-meter dash, but struggled in the first of three heats, clocking a time of 10.34 seconds. On a very fast day on the track, it would have taken a time of 10.09 seconds to make the final. Alaka will look to bounce back tomorrow in the semis of the 200-meters, where he is higher ranked and owns the Pac-12 title.
The men's 4x100-meter relay of senior Sam Rucker, Alaka, sophomore Maurice McNeal, and senior Ryan Hamilton was back at the final NCAA site for the fourth time in the last five years. But since the Huskies had the 12th and final qualifying spot out of Austin, they had the tough assignment of running out of lane one today. The Dawgs took sixth in the third semifinal heat, running a time of 40.09 seconds, which was 19th overall out of the 24 teams. It was the third and final NCAA run for Hamilton, the Vancouver, Wash. native, as he also anchored the relay here at Drake as a freshman in 2008, and again last season.
Thursday for the Huskies starts at 2:30 p.m. Central time with Jimmy Brookman in the men's javelin final. Then sophomore A.J. Maricich competes in the high jump, Alaka runs in the 200-meters, and Katie Flood goes in the semifinals of the 1,500-meters at 6:30 p.m. Central.
Washington Track & Field
Day One of Four