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Lagat Claims Mile, 3K Titles at NCAA Track Championships

Men's track standout dominates in Indianapolis.

March 6, 1999

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Bernard Lagat, a Washington State University junior from Kapsabet, Kenya, won the men's mile and about 90 minutes later claimed the 3,000m race Saturday at the NCAA Div. I Indoor Track and Field Championships at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Ind.

Lagat's two victories, added to sophomore Arend Watkins' eighth-place in the 60m hurdles Friday night, gave the Cougars 21 points and 10th place in the men's team standings. Arkansas repeated as men's champions with 65 points and Stanford was second with 42.5 points.

Lagat's mile time of three minutes, 55.65 seconds is a lifetime best for him and a new WSU indoor mile record, eclipsing Samuel Kibiri's time of 3:58.91, run at the 1991 NCAA Indoor Championships. The runner-up in the mile was Colorado State junior Bryan Berryhill with a time of 3:56.76.

After a brief rest, Lagat returned to the oval and clocked a 7:54.92 personal-best time to win the 3,000m race with Arkansas senior Mike Power second at 7:55.36.

"I had plenty (of energy) left coming into this (3000m) race," Lagat said after completing his double national champion effort. "I just used half of my effort and I was feeling really great. I ended up leading the race the whole time and I realized I had to go slower or with my own pace and kick later. I know I have a good kick so I was ready for any kick (from others) at the end. I was really confident of myself."

"I've never won an NCAA individual race before so this was important for me. My coach (Rick Sloan) told me it was an odd combination - the mile and 3000m race - so if I win both it was a good improvement for me and it tells me that I have a good future."

The only other Cougar competitor Saturday was freshman Whitney Evans from Calgary, Canada, who finished tied for sixth in the women's high jump with a personal-best indoor mark of 6-0. Texas' Erin Aldrich won the event with a height of 6-3 1/2.

Texas won the women's team championship with 61 points and LSU was second at 57 points. Evan's 2.5 points placed the WSU women 53rd.

In Friday's competition, WSU's Watkins, from San Jose, Calif., finished eighth in the men's 60m high hurdles in a time of 7.87, and Alishia Booterbaugh, a junior from LaCenter, Wash., ran a time of 2:09.04 in the women's 800m preliminary heats but did not qualify for the Saturday final.

Washington State is now idle until opening the outdoor season at the Big Foot Invitational Meet March 20 in Spokane.

Washington State Cougars Athletics