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The WAC was well represented at the 2001 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Denver -- The WAC was well represented at the 2001 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships held in Eugene, Ore. last week, as 58 student-athletes took to the track to compete for national titles. Twenty-nine of the 58 garnered All-American honors. The TCU men saw their lead slip in the final event for the second time at a national meet this year, finishing second to Tennessee in the team competition. Behind the performances of Alice Falaiye and Allison Beckford, the Rice women captured a top-10 finish.

NCAA Outdoor Championships Recap:

In a situation similar to that at the NCAA Indoor meet, TCU had the national championship within its grasp heading into the final events in Eugene. However, it was not to be, as the Horned Frogs finished second in both the indoor and outdoor meets. Kim Collins false started in the 200 final and was disqualified, costing eight points on the Frogs' projected total. Tennessee's Justin Gatlin went on to win the 200 (20.11) to propel the Vols to their first title since 1991. Before that mishap, and despite a strong showing in the 100-meter final by Tennessee, TCU remained in the driver's seat in the NCAA men's team race with stronger-than-expected performances in the triple jump.

The 4x100 relay brought home a national title to Fort Worth, clocking the fastest collegiate time in the nation this year. It was the schools seventh 400 relay crown and the first since 1995. Senior Darvis Patton single handedly contributed 24 of the Frogs 49 point total. He took sixth and third in the 100 and 200, respectively, and placed fourth in the long jump, while also running a leg of the winning 4x100 relay. In the 100, Collins took second and was followed by Lindel Frater and Patton who finished fifth and sixth, respectively. TCUs second-place performance was the highest finish in school history. It was the second time this year that the Frogs were knocked out of the top by a one-point differential.

The Mustang men finished in 17th place with 18 points, while the women tallied 19 points to finish 13th. Janus Robberts of SMU barely missed a collegiate record in the shot put with career-best winning throw of 21.97 (72-1), winning the title by more than 1.5 meters. UCLA's John Godina set the existing record with his NCAA meet-winning throw of 22.00 (72-2 1/4) in 1995. On Friday, Robberts collected All-American honors with a fourth-place effort in the discus. Junior Andrey Borodkin also helped SMU's cause with a sixth-place finish in the shot put with a distance of 19.17 meters. Florence Ezeh set meet and Hayward Field records in the preliminary rounds of the women's hammer at 66.85 (219-4), and concluded the competition at the top of the NCAA field, becoming the NCAA's first three-time champion in the hammer, an event that has been in existence at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for only six years. Teammate Nancy Guillen also earned All-America status with a sixth-place finish in the hammer with a throw of 61.52 meters. Senior Liza Randjelovic closed out her collegiate career with a third-place finish in the javelin Friday. Her throw of 51.30 meters was her fifth throw, out of six, in the first flight of competitors.

UTEP's track and field returned from Eugene with 12 All-Americans. The men's team finished tied for seventh with 30 points, their highest since 1997, while the women were 24th with 12 points. Senior Caimin Douglas took advantage of favorite Kim Collins of TCU's false start to blaze to a second-place finish in the 200-meter dash final with a clocking of 20.56. The Miners 400-meter relay composed of Taiwo Ajibade, Douglas, Jermaine Joseph and Aaron Egbele took third to gain All-American honors, tying its school record of 38.98 established earlier this season. Sophomore Janne Vartia registered a season-best throw of 234-11 (71.34 meters) in the hammer to take fourth, only four inches behind third-place finishing Norbert Horvath of USC, and repeat as an All-American in the event after taking third in 2000. Javelin thrower Vesa Jppenin became the fourth Miner in the last three years to gain All-America honors in the event, with his runner-up finish. In the 3000-meter steeplechase, Carlos Suarez-Gonzalez was the front runner for nearly the entire race. However, with only 200 meters remaining Suarez-Gonalez ran out of gas and finished sixth in 8:43.60. Bashar Ibrahim then took 11th in the 1500-meter run with a time of 3:47.37. Ibrahim ran with the pack for the first 800 but fell back in the end. Ibrahim earned NCAA All-America honors finishing as one of the top eight American finishers. On the women's side, Svetlana Badrankova was the first to gain All-America honors, taking third in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:03.88. Badrankova took the lead after the start and led the field through the bell lap. It was down to a four-women pack with 400 to go. With 200 to go, Brigita Langerholc of USC accelerated past Bandrankova and won easily in 2:01.61. In the triple jump, Anna Tarasova captured back-to-back All-America honors finishing third. The Miners got a surprise finish in the women's hammer with junior Anne-Laure Gremillet finishing eighth. Gremillet unleashed a school-record of 196-3 (59.83 meters) on her third throw , breaking her own school record of 195-4 (59.54 meters), which she set at the 2000 WAC Championships. In addition, Gremillet became the first UTEP woman to garner All-America honors in the hammer throw.

Rice freshman Allison Beckford was a national champion in the women's 400 meters, claiming the first NCAA individual title for the Owls since 1995. Beckford posted a time of 52.33, striding past Demetria Washington of South Carolina (52.42) and Moushaumi Robinson of Texas (52.96). The WAC Freshman of the Year set a new school and league record in the 400 meters during preliminary qualification with a time of 51.50. She also finished second in the 400 meter hurdles and anchored the women's 4x400 meter relay team that did not qualify for the finals. Sophomore Alice Falaiye finished second in the long jump with a leap of 21-01 1/4. Falaiye and Beckford accounted for all of Rices 26 points that secured a ninth-place finish for the Owls.

Tulsas most decorated runner, senior Fride Vullum, completed her collegiate career with a sixth-place showing in the 5k at the NCAAs, a career-best finish at a national championship, to help the womens track squad to its best finish at a national competition as well, 40th overall. The Golden Hurricane tied with in-state rivals Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, as well as five other teams. Vullum clocked a time of 16:04.96 in the final heat of the 5k to cross sixth in a field of 23 runners. Freshman Shana Robinson set a school mark for the highest finish by a TU freshman at any NCAA Track Championship, after placing 15th in the 100 dash. Charlotte Sanderson clocked a seventh-place effort of 34:53.85 in the 10k, just under her school-record time she set earlier in the season. Less than a minute separated the top seven finishers in the field of 21 runners.

Ryan Beckenhauer, one of three Fresno State athletes to compete at nationals, put one point on the board for the Bulldogs, who finished in a tie for 71st place. In a field of 19, Beckenhauer drilled a mark of 60-7 1/4 in the finals of the shot put to finish eighth and garner all-American honors. In the prelims, he recorded a distance of 64-2 1/2.

Cheryl Smith, the lone Hawai`i representative, paced herself to a 12th-place performance in the 10k (36:01.41), crossing as the second WAC finisher behind Tulsas Charlotte Sanderson, who crossed seventh.

2001 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field All-Americans

Fresno State
Ryan Beckenhauer (shot put)
Adam Davis (800)
Alice Falaiye (long jump)
Allison Beckford (400 hurdles & 400)
Janus Robberts (shot put & discus)
Andrey Borodkin (shot put)
Florence Ezeh (hammer)
Nancy Guillen (hammer)
Darvis Patton (100, 200, long jump & 4x100 relay)
Kim Collins (100 & 4x100 relay)
Lindel Frater (100 & 4x100 relay)
David Spencer (4x100 relay)
Eliud Njubi (800 & 1,500)
Jason Howard (triple jump)
Addul Rasheed (triple jump)
Monica Twum (100)
Caimin Douglas (200, 4x100 relay)
Vesa Jappenin (javelin)
Aaron Egbele (4x100 relay)
Taiwo Ajibade (4x100 relay)
Jermaine Joseph (4x100 relay)
Bashar Ibrahim (1,500)
Carlos Suzarez-Gonzalez (steeplechase)
Janne Vartia (hammer)
Svetlana Badrankova (800)
Anna Tarasova (triple jump)
Anne-Laure Gremillet (hammer)
Fride Vullum (5,000)
Charlotte Sanderson (10,000)

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