June 9, 2010
EUGENE, Ore. -- Washington State's Jeshua Anderson ran the fastest time in the men's 400m hurdles semifinals Wednesday during the first day of the NCAA Track & Field Championships being held at Hayward Field in Eugene.
Anderson, a junior from Woodland Hills, Calif., cruised to win the second heat of the 400m hurdles semifinals in a time of 49.21 seconds. The two-time defending NCAA intermediate hurdles champion will race for his third consecutive title Friday night at 5:05 p.m. South Carolina's Johnny Dutch, who entered the race with the fastest national time of 48.12, won the third heat with a time of 49.23. Anderson's season-best time of 48.63 was run at the 2010 Pacific-10 Championships and he owns the school record of 48.47, set in 2009. Anderson will be racing familiar faces Friday as he has faced Dutch, also a junior, in USA junior and senior championships as well as at the previous NCAAs. Stanford's Amaechi Morton (49.29) and USC's Reggie Wyatt (49.85) were also among the top five times in the semifinals and will race in the final.
Anderson told Paul Merca (paulmerca.blogspot.com) after the race, "I'm happy with my performance. I tried to cruise through. I have been working on alternating my lead leg. Today I ran 13 strides through 9 hurdles. I exerted a little more energy than I wanted to. It worked out and now I have a day to rest."
Mark Macdonald, the Washington State hurdles coach, said, "Jeshua looked very good today but so did Johnny Dutch and Amaechi Morton. On Friday, Jeshua needs to focus on his lane and run his race. He's ready."
Holly Parent, freshman from Victoria, British Columbia, was one of nine women who did not clear the opening height of 5-feet, 7 3/4 inches (1.72m) in the women's high jump final. Just as the competitors were being introduced to the crowd of 9,000, the skies opened up and torrents of rain poured down. Parent, who was the first group of five jumpers, took two attempts when the official suspended the competition. As all the women took cover, the officials spent time using squeegees to get the water off the approach apron. The weather cleared and the approach dried but the five in the first group only had one attempt left. Amber Kaufman from Hawaii-Manoa won the high jump after clearing 6-1 1/4 (1.86m) on her first attempt. Parent cleared an outdoor personal-best height of 5-11 1/4 (1.81m) at the NCAA West Regional meet in Austin.
Cougar jumps coach Matt McGee said, "Holly did not have a very good warm up and never found the right rhythm and balance at the finish of her approach. The timing of the rain was unfortunate but of course could not have been controlled. She has a lot of jumping in front of her and even bad experiences like this one will continue to grow as a high jumper. I'm very proud of her season."
Anna Layman (junior, Spokane Valley) did not advance to the women's final as the 2008 All-American ran a time of 2:07.60 which was 14th overall. The top two finishers in each of three heats and the next two fastest times moved onto the Friday final. Layman ran a qualifying time of 2:05.17 at the West Regional meet and has run a personal-record time of 2:04.03 but has struggled with injuries throughout her career.
No Cougars will compete in Thursday's NCAA events but Friday evening All-American Trent Arrivey will compete in the men's high jump final and Anderson will run in the hurdles final. Javelin throwers Marissa Tschida and Courtney Kirkwood will throw Saturday morning in Eugene.
More quotes from NCAA.com:
Jeshua Anderson - Washington State Men's 400m Hurdles Prelims (1st Place, Heat 2) On today's race: "I feel good in this cold weather. I'm happy with my performance today. Getting the top seed was the goal for today." "I exerted a little energy down the stretch. It all worked out. I'll have tomorrow to rest." On the finals: "I don't think there's a limit for anyone. I think there's a world record out there to be had on this track. I know we're going to blow out fast. Everyone's hungry for that title."