June 8, 2012
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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Mission accomplished for Amaechi Morton. The senior ran a career-best time to win the NCAA title in the 400-meter hurdles on Friday at Drake Stadium. Morton joins Katerina Stefanidi with an individual title as she won the NCAA championship in the pole vault two nights ago.
Morton's time of 48.79 lowered his own school record and was the fifth-fastest time in the world this year. He edged Jamele Mason of Texas Tech by just a hundredth of a second. Morton came on over the final few hurdles to take the lead and refused to relinquish it over the final 50 meters, despite a good challenge from Mason.
The title is the first ever for Stanford in the 400-meter hurdles. Morton and Stefanidi became the first pair of teammates to claim NCAA individual titles since Ryan Hall and Michael Robertson in 2005. That year, Hall won the 5,000 meters and Robertson the discus.
The other competitor for the Cardinal men on Friday was Brendan Gregg in the 5,000 meters. Gregg placed 13th with a time of 14:03.29 to complete a tough double after running the 10,000 meters just 48 hours earlier. Cameron Levins of Southern Utah won the event, just as he did in the 10,000.
The Cardinal men are now in 10th place with 16 points. Florida leads the competition with 36 points with one more day to go.
The Cardinal women did not have any competitors on Friday, but still are sitting in fourth place with 22 points. Stanford trails only Oregon and LSU who each have 40 and Oklahoma who is third with 24.
Stanford will complete the NCAA Outdoor Championships on Saturday back at Drake Stadium. The men's lone competitor will be Benjamin Johnson in the final of the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Meanwhile, the women have three finalists going tomorrow as Arantxa King looks for redemption in the triple jump, while Kathy Kroeger (5,000 meters) and Katie Nelms (100-meter hurdles) will compete in a final on the track.