Bookman earns national championship

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- University of Kansas senior Leo Bookman won the national championship in the 200-meter dash at the 2004 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships held at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the University of Arkansas campus.

Bookman defended his 2003 indoor national championship title in a KU indoor record time of 20.42 and earned his third indoor All-America honor and fourth overall. The time tops Bookman's previous record of 20.53 set at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships and is listed as the fastest time in the world, according to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Bookman advanced to the finals after winning his preliminary heat in a time of 20.81.

"He has worked really hard all year and today was no exception," head coach Stanley Redwine said. "All of the odds were against him because Tyson Gay (Arkansas) was the hometown favorite. He did an exceptional job and I am really proud of him."

"This championship means more to me than any other," Bookman said. "It feels good to know that I have the fastest time in the world because it shows that all of my hard work payed off. It turned out great for me and now I can focus on my ultimate goal of making the 2004 Olympic team."

This is the second national title that Bookman has claimed and is the third overall (2003 Outdoor). The national title caps an impressive indoor season. The Dickinson, Texas native also won the 200-meter dash title at the 2004 Big 12 Indoor Championships in a time of 20.58. Bookman's time broke the Big 12 meet record and Devaney Center record.

Kansas' Leo Bookman, right, crosses the finish line ahead of Arkansas' Tyson Gay, left, during the 200-meter dash at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., Friday, March 12, 2004. Bookman won with a time of 20.42 seconds and Gay finished fifth at 20.58. (AP Photo/April L. Brown)


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