June 6, 2012
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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Two of Stanford's most decorated track and field athletes finished their collegiate careers on Wednesday and it was Katerina Stefanidi who came through with the NCAA title. The other, Chris Derrick, battled hard in the 10,000 meters, but had to settle for third.
Stefanidi's title capped a big day for the Stanford women who lead the NCAA meet after day 1 with 18 points. The men got the six points from Derrick and are tied for seventh after the first day.
The title from Stefanidi was the big news of the day, but the Cardinal women also set three new school records. Brianna Bain broke her own school record in the javelin on her way to a runner-up finish, while Justine Fedronic (800 meters) and the 4x100-meter relay also posted school-record marks.
Stefanidi who had been the NCAA runner-up a year ago, cleared 14-7 ¼ on her first try and was the only competitor over that height. Three had advanced to the winning height, but after the other two failed on all three tries, Stefandi clinched the title. She became the first Stanford woman to win an NCAA title in the pole vault.
After clinching the title, the bar was moved to 4.50 meters, which is the Olympic `A' Standard. On her final attempt, Stefanidi nearly cleared the height, but instead will have to wait to clinch her trip to London to compete for the Greek team.
In the javelin, Bain waited until her last throw for the record breaker that would clinch second place in the NCAA. She tossed 180-2 to smash her Stanford record that she set while winning the Pac-12 title last month. The finish will earn Bain her first All-America honor and got the Stanford women off to a strong start with eight team points.
In the 800 meters, Stanford got the top two runs in Stanford history, but it was not enough to advance to the final. Fedronic set a new school record of 2:03.54 to place fifth in her heat, but was one spot out of the final. She actually ran the seventh-fastest time of the day, but the top two spots in each heat earn an automatic spot in the final, costing Fedronic her spot. The record gives Fedronic both 800-meter school records as she also set the indoor record earlier this season.
Joy O'Hare also earned a personal best of 2:04.29, but was fourth in her heat and 12th overall. The time is No. 2 in Stanford history, just behind Fedronic's run minutes before.
The final school record came in the 4x100-meter relay where Stanford ran a time of 44.07. The team of Shataya Hendricks, Carissa Levingston, Katie Nelms and Kori Carter placed fifth in its heat and 11th overall, but will not advance. The Cardinal broke the record set back in 2004 by Janice Davis, Nashome Johnson, Christine Moschella and Ashley Pumell.
Hendricks and Nelms also competed in the 100 meters and although both set legal wind personal bests, neither advanced to the final. Hendricks ran the fourth-fastest time in school history of 11.38 and placed 12th overall in the event. Nelms ran 11.45, which is tied for fifth all-time at Stanford and placed 17th overall.
Finally, Carter competed in the 400-meter hurdles, but struggled, running 1:04.19 and will not advance.
On the men's side, Derrick settled for third after running with the lead pack until the final 200 meters. The senior ran a time of 28:17.28, but after taking the lead with 1,000 meters to go, could not hold off the blazing finishes of Cameron Levins of Southern Utah and Stephen Sambu of Arizona. Derrick will earn his 14th All-America honor and still has the U.S. Olympic Trials in July. Derrick will be one of the favorites to advance to London in the 10,000 meters.
Also running the 10k were Miles Unterreiner who placed 13th in 29:41.22 and Brendan Gregg who was 17th in 30:10.50.
Also running for the men was Amaechi Morton who cruised to a win in his heat of the 400-meter hurdles. Morton ran a time of 49.37 and is the top qualifier for the final on Friday. Morton is also running in his final NCAA meet and looking for that first national title.
The lone Cardinal thrower to advance to the NCAA meet was Geoffrey Tabor who competed in the discus, which was the first event. Tabor tossed a career best of 192-6 with his second throw and advanced to the final. The junior did not improve in the final, but still placed ninth for his best career NCAA finish. The toss of 192-6 ranks also sixth in Stanford history.
Stanford will be back on the track on Thursday with day 2 of the NCAA Championships. Arantxa King and Karynn Dunn will look to score big points for Stanford in the long jump, while several others will compete in prelims of running events.