June 8, 2011
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Washington State senior Jeshua Anderson ran a semifinals time of 49.18 seconds to lead the 400m hurdles field and will race for his third national title at the NCAA Track & Field Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
Anderson, from Woodland Hills, Calif., came into the competition with the national-leading and fifth-best intermediate hurdles time in the world of 48.13 seconds. The four-time Pacific-10 400m hurdles champion, Anderson won his first NCAA title in 2008 at Drake Stadium. He repeated in 2009 and was the NCAA runner-up in 2010. He will run in the Friday evening final (6:45 p.m. Central Time, 4:45 p.m. Pacific Time) against familiar foes: conference competitor Amaechi Morton from Stanford, and Texas Tech racers Bryce Brown and Jamele Mason, all who finished behind Anderson at the NCAA West Regional in Eugene last month.
The CBS Sports Network (cable channel formerly called CSTV) will broadcast the NCAA Championships live Friday, June 10, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. PT.
"The race felt good," Anderson said. "It was real windy on the backstretch. I just ran as smooth and relaxed as possible and then pushed it the second 200. I knew Reggie was going to run up on me but I just ran the way I do in practice and finished pretty good. I tried to relax and get these jitters out. I'll feel better on Friday. The national prelims race is always a little scary."
When asked about the runners in the final, Anderson said, "We have some great hurdlers, especially in the West Region so I am looking forward to being able to run with them again and hopefully everybody will PR in the race."
Cougar hurdles coach Mark Macdonald said, "I think Jeshua ran a very professional race today: very mature. He didn't respond to USC's Reggie Wyatt running up on the inside of him, Jeshua knew his plan and stayed with it. He had a very good finish and was in control the whole way. The final field looks good - Amaechi Morton looked good today - but at the national championships they aren't going to give the spots away. Jesh will have some good racers on the lanes outside of him in the final but he's ready."
The men's 4x100m relay team did not advance to the final, running a semifinals time of 39.85 which was 15th overall. The relay squad of Greg Hornsby (sophomore, Moreno Valley, Calif.), Nate Washington (senior, Everett), Brett Blanshan (sophomore, Selah, Wash.) and Marlon Murray (senior, Des Moines, Wash.) won the 2011 Pacific-10 Conference title last month with a season-best time of 39.48. At the NCAA West Regional Preliminary rounds they had run a time of 40.26 seconds, eighth-best of the competition, but finished third in the first heat of the quarterfinals to advance to the NCAA semifinals.
Neither Cougar 800m runner advanced to the finals. Anna Layman (senior, Spokane Valley), the 2011 Pac-10 champion, ran a time of 2:06.60 which was seventh in her heat and 19th overall. Joe Abbott (junior, Reno, Nev.) ran a time of 1:47.73 which was fourth in his heat but 13th overall with only the top eight advancing.
"Anna and I both felt she was ready and that training went great, yesterday's practice was great, today's warm-up was great, thought the plan was great but she just felt sluggish," Macdonald said. "She made a move in the race but felt flat. That happened to several other runners in the women's 800 today and I think that happens in this event more than others. Today Anna just didn't have it."
Layman and Abbott, among other Cougars, plan to race again later in the month at the USA National Championships in Eugene, June 23-26.