Boise State's Keron Francis outclassed the field to win the javelin today at the NCAA West Regional Track and Field Championships in Provo. Francis joins hammer thrower Mattias Jons as NCAA West Champions for the Broncos.
Francis' top throw of 236 feet enables him to make a return trip to the NCAA Nationals, scheduled for June 7-10 in Sacramento. Francis placed fourth at the 2004 national championships. University of Washington senior Juan Romero was a distant second with a toss of 226-4, while Oregon's Matthew Maloney finished third (222-5).
Scott Viafore also qualified for the nationals with a season best 217-4 to finish fourth in the competition. The two will be going for Boise State's third consecutive national title in the javelin, following two straight national championships in the event by Bronco All-American Gabe Wallin.
The Broncos finished with a better than expected 33 points to finish eighth in the West, ahead of PAC-10 members Arizona State, Stanford and California. Favorite USC easily won the competition with 123 points, outdistancing host BYU, which finished with 86.5 points. Arizona (75 points) was third, followed by Washington (71), Oregon (63), UCLA (62.5), Washington State (39), Boise State (33), Stanford (28) and Arizona State (26).
Two Bronco women came through today with solid performances to also qualify for the nationals. Eleni Kafourou finished second in the triple jump with a mark of 43-1.75, achieved on her final jump of the day. Without it, Kafourou would have finished ninth. Stanford's Erica Mclain was a solid #1 with a jump of 44-08, while UCLA's Renee Williams finished third (42-10.25). Jackieann Morain turned in the performance of her life by finishing third in the 400 meters, completing the circuit around the track in 54.76 seconds. Morain was beaten only by Nashonme Johnson of Stanford (53.65) and Arizona State's Christinia Hardeman (53.74).
Kafourou and Morain combined to score 14 points today for the Bronco women, enabling the ladies to finish 13th. Stanford and USC tied for the women's team title with 94 points. Fellow Western Athletic Conference member Utah State finished eighth with 28 points, while Fresno State was 12th with 19 points.
In all, six Broncos will be competing in Sacramento--Jons and Simon Wardhaugh in the hammer, Francis and Viafore in the javelin, Jackieann Morain in the women's 400-meter dash and Eleni Kafourou in the women's triple jump.
Among Broncos in action today, Antoine Echols placed eighth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 48.36; Erik Whitsitt finished 13th in the shot put with a season best mark of 55-7.50; Nate Putnam finished 11th in the javelin (206-9); Eleni Ypsilanti was a disappointing 14th in the women's hammer with a throw of 185-0; and Annika Hjelm finished 16th in the hammer (179-0).