Track & Field NCAA Preview

The 2007 Outdoor Track & Field NCAA Championships are being held this week just a couple hours away from The Farm. At Hornet Field in Sacramento from Wednesday through Saturday, 20 Stanford athletes from the men's and women's teams will vie for championships in sprints, distances, throws and jumps. Plenty of Cardinal competitors should place, and a few are strong hopefuls for an NCAA title.

Stanford will have 20 athletes in 14 events at the NCAA Championships in Sacramento June 6-9.  The final day is made for TV, everything in two hours, and will be televised from 10am - noon (PDT) on CBS.

Stanford has four potential champions: Michael Robertson in the discus, Russell Brown in the 1500m, Erica McLain in the triple jump and Arianna Lambie in the 1500m.  So Stanford will be scoring points, although not a potential team winner.

The Women:

Stanford will have nine athletes in seven events.  Erica McLain is entered in both the long jump and the triple jump.

- Jakki Bailey.  11.45, #20.  Added to the field after finishing sixth in the West Regional.  It's going to be tough for the senior to make the final.

- Janice Davis.  11.56, #29.  Another senior, but she was a finalist last season and after early season problems, she might make the finals again.  However she's nearly .3 seconds behind #9, that being former Stanford star, Chauntae Bayne at 11.28.  Bayne, by the way, is #13 in the 200m.  She is the Stanford record holder in the 100m, 200m and 400m.

- Ashley Freeman.  2:06.12, #21.  She didn't qualify but was added based upon her time.  Each event has 26-27 athletes, so some who didn't qualify were added to reach a full field.  Freeman is a senior with loads of experience at this level, but she will have to run her best to make the finals.

- Arianna Lambie.  4:14.05, #2.  Lambie won the West Regional by seven seconds.  She's strong; she can kick; and she is really peaking.  This event on Saturday will be the final for a Stanford athlete at these NCAAs, and she could win.

- Lauren Centrowitz.  4:19.76, #18.  She placed third in the West Regional and for two years has been on the edge of greatness.

- Alicia Follmar.  4:20.19, #19.  Ran her best last week in the heats, then faded away to 12th in the final.  Is this high school star ready to bloom?

- Lindsay Allen.  10:14.46, #17.  Allen is third all-time at Stanford.  She was hurt early this season but is peaking now.  There are nine women at 10:03 or better, so she has to run a PR just to qualify for the finals.

- Teresa McWalters.  16:04.92, #9.  A potentially very high finisher.  She beat the number two 10K runner in the Pac10, running away the final few laps to win by nearly half a lap.  Two women are far ahead, Sally Kipyego of Texas Tech and Molly Huddle of Notre Dame, but I believe McWalters is going to shine in the heat of Sac Town.

Long Jump:
- Erica McLain.  20-10, 21-3 1/2w, #14.  She's been jumping hurt until recently and is a tremendous competitor. She probably needs a 22-footer to reach the top four.

Triple Jump:
- Erica McLain.  46-5 ¼, #1.  McLain is the strong favorite and the collegiate record holder.

I'm going to predict 29 points and Top 10 finish.

The Men:

Stanford will have 12 athletes in eight events.

- Michael Garcia.  1:49.22, #25.  11 sub-1:48 guys to pass makes this a tough road.

- Russell Brown.  3:41.51, #9.  Number one is only 1.4 seconds better, although Leonel Manzano of Texas is the defending champion.  Brown has a big kick, and he'll be up there fighting for first.

- Garrett Heath.  3:43.01, #22.  Another big kicker and like Brown an indoor placer.  I think he'll be in the finals.

- Jacob Gomez.  13:55.09, #18. The top three are 13:30 or better, but he has the speed for this event.

- Hari Mix.  14:03.20, #22.  This is great experience for the sophomore, but it'll be tough for him to make the finals.

- Brett Gotcher.  28:51.65, #15.  He ran a surprisingly fast 1500m converted to a 4:02 mile recently.  He could place if he doesn't get carried away running with Galen Rupp.

Pole Vault:
- Graeme Hoste.  17-6 ½, #12.  Hoste has a PR of 18-1 set last year, which would be number three in this field.  He's far behind number one, Tommy Skipper of Oregon who at 19 feet also graduated with a degree in engineering.  But Hoste could definitely place in the top two or three.

Triple Jump:
- Feranmi Okanlami.  50-7 ¼, #26.  His PR of 51-7 a year ago might place him, but he's a longshot to make the finals.

- Michael Robertson.  205-9, #3.  Robertson redshirted last year after winning this event in 2005.  He has a strong chance to win.  And flauntskc, if you are reading this, Wes Stockbarger of Florida is seeded fifth.

- Daniel Schaerer.  196-6, #11.  He was added to the field after a poor West Regional.  Certainly a potential finalist.

- Josh Hustedt.  7286, #14.  Keep in mind that Hustedt couldn't score a fair shot put at the Pac-10's, or he would have scored in the high 75's.  That would have seeded him fourth.

Bob Kinder is a fan first, so out on a limb: 31 points, Top 10.

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