Flood Moves On To Finals On NCAA Day Two
June 7, 2012
LIVE WEBCAST: NCAA.com Wednesday; ESPN3.com Thursday-Friday
DES MOINES, Iowa - Three rounds down, one to go for sophomore standout Katie Flood, as the Des Moines native was impressive in qualifying for the 1,500-meter final on day two of the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Returning again to the Drake Stadium track where Flood won a myriad of prep titles, she navigated another talented field to reach her first outdoor final.
The road to the finals started two weeks ago in Austin, Texas, where Flood advanced through the first round and quarterfinal round to punch her ticket home. Last year, Flood's season ended in the semifinals, and after that disappointment in Iowa, she said it would serve as offseason motivation. Already having enjoyed one of the best seasons in school history, Flood is now in position to run for an NCAA title.
Flood ran in the second of two semifinal heats. The top five in each heat plus the next two fastest times would advance. The first heat was very fast, making a top-five finish in heat two all the more important. Flood was fifth through the first lap then continued to move up and stay out of trouble. She was third heading into the last lap. For a moment, it looked like she might get stuck on the inside around the final turn, but some space opened up and she pushed through on the rail, pulling it back a little down the homestretch as the top three runners crossed close together. Even so, her time of 4:12.65 was the second-fastest of her career.
With her high school, Dowling Catholic, just a couple miles up the road, Flood received a big ovation from the hometown fans when her name was read. "Right before the race, I heard all my friends and all my family," said Flood. "It calmed my nerves. It was a great experience and I'm so thankful to be here."
The day began with junior Jimmy Brookman making his NCAA finals debut in the men's javelin throw. Brookman is the third Husky in the past two years to reach the finals in the javelin. The Redmond, Wash. native was throwing for just the fourth time this season, after he started his season late following rehab from Tommy John surgery. Brookman was coming off a PR of 233-11 at the West Prelims. Today he started slowly, going 195-0 on his first throw, then 208-6 on his second. On his last throw he laid out and improved to 225-9, but it wouldn't be enough to make the finals and earn three more throws. Still, it was the second-best throw of Brookman's career, and placed him 15th overall, which will earn All-America Second Team honors. Not bad for a four-meet season.
The NCAA finals debut for sophomore A.J. Maricich in the high jump was a tough one, as the Spokane native cleared the first two bars, but never looked quite as sharp as he had in a second-place Pac-12 finish and at the Prelims where he set his PR of 7-2 ½. Maricich cleared 6-8 ¾, then 6-10 ¾, both on second attempts. But he was then unable to make 7-0 ½, catching the bar going up the first two jumps, then getting over on his third but just nudging it off. That placed him 23rd overall.
It was also a tough end to the collegiate season for Pac-12 Champion James Alaka. The junior was looking to bounce back after a difficult 100-meter semifinal on Wednesday, but it was clear he didn't have his usual high gear today either. Alaka was in a good spot around the turn, but couldn't turn it up down the homestretch, and he pulled up over the final ten meters, finishing eighth in his heat. It was an unfortunate time for an off-week, but Alaka will look to bounce back for the Great Britain Olympic Trials.
Friday will now be the J.J. Juilfs Show, as the freshman pole vaulter is the only Husky in action tomorrow. Juilfs gets underway at 4:30 p.m. Central time.
Washington Track & Field
Day Two of Four