NCAA Track & Field Day Three Recap

Friday at the 2007 NCAA Track & Field Championships was a bright sunny day, not only for the fans but also for Stanford. The Cardinal had three athletes pick up All-American honors with top finishes, including second place by Michael Robertson in the discus. He was joined by Teresa McWalters (5000m) and Graeme Hoste (pole vault). Also, Erica McLain made a statement in the triple jump prelims.

It was a much warmer day on Friday, and no wind at all.  There was quite a good crowd for Day Three at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento (Calif.).

A day after finishing third in the long jump, Erica McLain took a single jump Friday in the triple jump prelims, and she hit the automatic qualifier to advance to the finals.  The only jump she needed measured 44-2 3/4, and that ended up being the best jump of the day.  McLain is the #1 seed in the triple jump for these NCAAs and remains the favorite to win gold.

On the men's side, Feranmi Okanlami didn't have the same success in the triple jump, finishing last in the qualifying with a jump of 48-9.

Lindsay Allen drooped out of the steeplechase with two laps to go, obviously having a problem with health.  She was running about 10th at the time.  The winner ran the best time ever on American soil.

Jacob Gomez and Hari Mix ran well in the 5000m, but in a great field, Mix finished 11th despite near-PR 14:01.20.  He finished a bit ahead of Gomez, who was 13th in 14:03.79.

Teresa McWalters ran a great race to finish sixth in a PR 15:53.89.  She led for the first few laps, then the two leaders took off.  McWalters fell to fifth for the second half of the race and was overtaken by another runner at the end.

After the race I was able to talk to the redshirt junior from San Francisco, who was very upbeat about her race and her sixth-place finish.  McWalters said she started with great hopes and was determined to give everything she had.  In that respect she was very pleased - she ran a PR by about 10 seconds.  She was in an extremely fast race; the winner, a Rhodes Scholar from Wake Forest, ran a tremendously fast race.  McWalters has been a great cross country runner, but this was her best year on the track.  She says she'll be back next year for the Cardinal.  McWalters' desire to run in front for the first few laps shows her determination and her confidence.  Her finish Friday earned her All-American honors.

In the pole vault, Graeme Hoste cleared 17-6 1/2 to end in a three-way tie for fourth place.  It was a fine performance for the junior, also earning him All-American honors.

In the discus, Michael Robertson threw 198-08 in the first round and increased his lead to 203-08 in the second round, but one thrower in round five from BYU had a great 206-02 throw.  Roberton's final throw was over 200, but not quite a winner.  Second place is huge and a big eight points for Stanford in the team scoring of these NCAAs.  Robertson picked up his fourth All-American honor and fourth top-three finish at the NCAAs in the discus.  He won bronze as a freshman and sophomore at SMU and after transferring to The Farm was the 2005 NCAA Champion.  Robertson redshirted last year.

The Stanford men have 12 points and the women 13 heading into the final day.  Ahead are Stanford's five 1500m runners and Erica McLain in the triple jump.  This fourth and final day of the NCAA Championships will be televised live today on CBS.

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