Flood Runs, Rain Pours At NCAA Championships
June 9, 2011
DES MOINES, Iowa - One year after lighting up the Drake Stadium track with the fastest prep times in Iowa state history, Washington freshman Katie Flood was back on her home track, running against the NCAA's elite. Today, Flood found herself trailing the pack rather than leaving it in her wake, but the fan favorite handled it all in stride, and gained valuable experience from her first NCAA outdoor final. The final few events of the night were eventually postponed due to persistent thunder storms.
A winner of six junior Drake Relay titles and four state track titles in her senior year alone at Dowling Catholic high school in West Des Moines, Flood was constantly greeting well-wishers inside and outside of the track. The public address announcer made special mention of her Iowa state titles and Flood received a big ovation from the crowd.
She was positioned well through the first two laps of her 1,500-meter semifinal, but dropped back a bit on the third lap, and was separated from the top group with one lap to go. Flood ran hard to the finish, placing 10th in her heat in a time of 4:25.75, which wound up 20th overall out of the 24-woman field. She'll earn All-America honorable mention for the effort, but talked about what she'd really take away after the race, when Flood was faced with several television cameras and at least a half-dozen media members.
"I'm kind of glad I got my butt kicked because it shows how much I still need to work," said Flood. "I'm still just a freshman and I hope to improve every year. (Freshman year) has been a great experience and I'm really excited to start training for cross (country)."
Day two in the decathlon for junior Jeremy Taiwo will stretch into day three, as weather delayed the start of the second day by nearly two hours, and then ended the night early with yet another thunder storm. In-between, Taiwo squeezed in three and a half events.
He started his day in the 110-meter hurdles. A year ago it was a crash in the hurdles that derailed Taiwo's scoring opportunity and left him with a nasty concussion that lingered into the summer. Today, Taiwo made it safely through the hurdles with the fifth-fastest time, running 14.49 seconds. Things looked even better after the discus, as Taiwo tossed a personal-best 137-1 to take sixth in that competition. That was 18 feet farther than Taiwo had thrown in his Pac-10 victory.
But the pole vault would put a big bump in the road for the two-time All-American. Taiwo had cleared 15-9 at the Pac-10 meet, but made it hard on himself with two third-attempt clearances to get there. Today he was over 14-5 on his second try, then passed up to 15-1, but missed all three attempts. A disappointed Taiwo took a slow walk across the infield, knowing his point chances were now slim, only because of his elbow injury that would force him to throw the javelin with his left hand.
Taiwo was able to overcome the points lost in the javelin at Pac-10s, but will be hard-pressed to do the same here. He actually had a "lefty" PR on his first attempt of 118-9, and had one attempt remaining when the meet went on hold for what turned out to be the rest of the night. Taiwo will have one last throw and then the 1,500-meters to complete on Friday.
The sophomore season for Pac-10 Champion James Alaka came to a close in today's 200-meter dash semifinal. Running out of lane two, Alaka was slow out of the blocks, made up some ground but couldn't quite get all the way into the mix, and wound up seventh in 21.07 seconds. He'll earn All-America honorable mention for the 200-meters to go with his second team honor for the 4x1 relay.
NCAA Track & Field Championships - Finals
Jeremy Taiwo in the Decathlon
* All-America honors are unofficial until released by the USTFCCCA