June 11, 2003
Sacramento, Ca - Two-time defending NCAA 5,000 meter champion Lauren Fleshman finished first in her heat and Sara Bei placed second in her heat as Stanford began first day competition on Wednesday at the 2003 NCAA Track & Field Championships at Sacramento State.
Fleshman had the third-best time in the competition at 16:18.98. Sara Gorton of Colorado ran 16:17.34 while Molly Huddle of Notre Dame produced a 16:18.21.
"I was really relaxed and enjoyed a good last mile," said Fleshman. "I'm in great shape and ready to race (in the finals). There have been some really fast times this year, and it could be anybody's race."
Bei, a sophomore, ran a 16:20.40 to finish fourth in her heat and seventh-best overall.
"I feel great," said Bei. "I had (arthoscopic) knee surgery in March and I didn't think I would be here. I'm so thankful."
Sixteen runners will compete for the 5,000 meter title on Saturday (8:40 p.m.).
In the men's 5,000 meters, two of Stanford's three entries gained entrance into the finals (Saturday, 9:00 p.m.). Louie Luchini, Seth Hejny and Neil Davis all competed in the first heat of the 5,000 meters. Hejny finished second (13:59.18), Luchini fourth (14:02.03) and Davis finished 12th (14:20.43). Hejny and Luchini advanced to the finals.
"The conditions for running were perfect," said Luchini, who ran on an unusually cold, windy night in Sacramento. "I'm in good shape and ready to go."
Boaz Cheboiywo of Eastern Michigan had the best time in the two heats at 13:58.96.
Nick Welihozkiy advanced to Friday's final (10 a.m.) in the hammer with a throw of 217-0 (66.14m). Welihzokiy's mark was fourth-best among 26 competitors in the prelims. Lucais MacKay of Georgia had the day's best mark (226-11, 69.17m) with Spyridon Jullien of Virginia Tech second at 223-1 (68.01m) and Janne Vartia of UTEP at 220-8 (67.27m).
Jill Camarena, from nearby Woodland, Ca, reached the finals in the women's discus by throwing the discus 165-6 (50.44m), the ninth-best throw among 28 competitors in the prelims on Friday. Camarena, who will also compete in the shot put, threw her best effort of the day on her first attempt. Her next throw resulted in a foul, and her third attempt went 156-8 (47.76m). Becky Breisch of Nebraska produced the day's best throw at 184-10 (56.33m). Twelve athletes advanced to the finals (Friday, 2 p.m.), but 2002 NCAA champion, Chaniqua Ross of UCLA, finished 14th at 160-7 (48.95m) and failed to advance.
Milton Little, competing in his second long jump at the NCAA's in the last three years, long jumped 24-9 3/4 (7.56m) to finish 17th among 27 athletes in the prelims. Little did not advance. Tony Allmond of South Carolina had the day's best leap at 26-1 1/2 (7.96m). Allmond's mark was wind-aided.
Undine Becker finished 27th in the prelims of the long jump at 18-7 1/4 (5.67m).
Nine Cardinal athletes, and the men's and women's 1,600 meter relay teams will take to the track on Thursday during second day competition.
Wednesday's Results (6/12/03) - NCAA Track & Field Championships
Hornet Stadium - Sacramento State
Hammer (prelims) - 4. Nick Welihozkiy 217-0 (66.14m)q
Long Jump (prelims) - 17. Milton Little 24-9 3/4 (7.56m)nq
5,000 meters (prelims) - 2. Seth Hejny 13:59.18q; 4. Louis Luchini 14:02.03q; 12. Neil Davis 14:20.43nq
Discus (prelims) - 9. Jill Camarena 165-6 (50.44m)q
Long Jump (prelims) - 27. Undine Becker 18-7 1/4 (5.67m)nq
5,000 Meters (prelims) - 3. Lauren Fleshman 16:18.98q; 7. Sara Bei (16:20.40)q
For complete results, go to www.hornetsports.com or www.ncaasports.com