Anderson Wins 400m Hurdles at NCAA Track & Field Championships
DES MOINES, Iowa. - Washington State University freshman Jeshua Anderson came from behind and leaned at the finish line to win the men's 400m hurdles Friday night during the third day of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships held at Drake Stadium.
Anderson, from Woodland Hills, Calif., ran a lifetime-best and school-record time of 48.69 seconds to edge out Auburn University senior Rueben McCoy's time of 48.71. Anderson added the national title to his long list of track accomplishments including winning the intermediate hurdles at the Texas Relays, the Pacific-10 Conference and the NCAA West Regional meets. The 2007 prep boys 300m hurdles record-holder, Anderson began his freshman year at Washington State in a football uniform, playing wide receiver in 12 games with 12 catches and two touchdowns.
"This is a blessing. I thank God for everything he's done for me," Anderson told CBS television commentator Dwight Stones after the race. "I haven't been able to race against fast people so just being in this race is a blessing. I set my goals high and for my collegiate year I accomplished what I wanted to and that was to be a champion at the NCAA Championships."
When Cougar hurdles coach and former intermediate hurdles All-American Mark Macdonald was asked if Anderson followed the race plan said, "That was exactly the race plan. Before he went out for the race we talked about what would happen and that was pretty much exactly what happened. Based on where he makes his changes in his race, going from 13 steps to 14, we knew he would fall back a little bit but the plan was to be set up for the 10th hurdle and the finish. With this plan he is all left-leg lead except for hurdle nine and that is where he fell back a little bit. Then he has about 80 meters of all-out sprint with his good lead-leg. You know Jeshua has this weird lean and he's good at it. It isn't something we taught him but maybe he learned it back in junior meets. He gets his chest way out there. It obviously served him well tonight."
Anderson's 48.69 seconds time is the fifth-best this year by an American man, and the third-best by a collegian, as Georgia's Justin Gaymon, who finished third at the NCAA final, ran a time of 48.53, and Johnny Dutch of South Carolina has run a time of 48.68. Anderson's time also surpassed the US Olympic Trials "A" standard. He will return to Pullman with the team late Sunday evening and then rest and mentally prepare for the US Junior Championships June 20-21 in Columbus, Ohio. Stating "there is still room for improvement," Macdonald said Anderson would watch race tapes and focus on the competition next weekend before thinking about the July Olympic Trials.
Cougar senior McKenzie Garberg became an All-American twice Friday, with a fifth-place finish in the women's discus and a sixth-place finish in the women's hammer. These were the second and third All-American certificates for Garberg, from Benton City, Wash., who was a 2007 All-American in the discus. Her Friday efforts provided the WSU women's team with seven points.
Garberg's hammer throw of 210-feet, 3 inches (64.09m) was a PR and improved her school record and Olympic Trials "B" standard mark set earlier this year. Garberg's previous hammer PR was 204-9 (62.42m), thrown at the WSU versus Washington Dual Meet May 3 in Pullman, made her the first WSU woman to throw the hammer over 200-feet. At the NCAA final Friday, Garberg had a total of four throws over 200-feet: 210-3, 203-11, 202-5, and 206-11. Her record toss was the first of the six attempts of the day. She missed a fifth-place finish by one inch as Loren Groves of Kansas State threw 210-4.
"After Wednesday's competition, I felt prepared but I was going in not to just become an All-American. I wanted to really hit my trial mark and make it to that next level," Garberg said. "Right off the bat I came out shooting bullets and hit my PR and then I really lost my focus after that. Now the girls following me at WSU are really going to have to put some stuff together in order to beat that record; it's going to stay for a bit."
Less than 30-minutes later, Garberg was shuttled to the women's discus competition where she finished fifth with a throw of 174-10 (53.30m). But it wasn't an easy path to the final. Garberg fouled her first and third throws but advanced with a second toss of 169-6 (51.68m). Her fourth and fifth attempts were unremarkable at 161-8 (49.29m) and 166-7 (50.79m). She pulled it all together for her sixth and final throw, earning her second consecutive top-eight national finish in the discus. She threw a PR distance of 177-3 in the Wednesday qualifying round.
"There were four of us who moved right from the hammer to the discus and there was no eating or resting. They kept us moving, which was probably more like our practice conditions," Garberg said. "My first throw was a very good long one but I was heavy in the back and didn't finish my front of the ring. The second throw was a pray-to-God, get it in, get it done throw. The next one I intentionally missed and I felt really heavy. Then I made a deal with myself because there was no way I was going to compete this whole year and not finish over 170-feet. On my last throw I pulled it out with a 174-throw. But I ended on a PR and it came in the same week. That 177 is third-best in school history."
Sophomore Trent Arrivey (Woodinville, Wash.) cleared seven-feet in the men's high jump for the ninth time in competition this year but his 7-0 1/4 (2.14m) clearance Friday landed him in ninth place. He opened the competition by clearing the bar at 6-10 3/4 (2.10m) on his second attempt. He cleared 7-0 1/4 on his first attempt but then missed all three at 7-1 1/2 (2.17m). In spite of not scoring in the high jump, Arrivey earned All-America status.
Senior Jon Jeffreys finished a disappointing 11th in the men's javelin final with a best throw of 207-3 (63.16m), just missing All-America status. Jeffreys, from Spokane Valley, Wash., fouled his first attempt of the day after heaving a huge throw. His next two throws were 206-11 (63.07m) and his 207-3. His PR of 237-4 (72.35m) was thrown at the WSU versus Washington Dual meet May 3 in Pullman.
Ebba Jungmark (freshman, Onsala, Sweden) finished tied for ninth in the women's high jump after clearing 5-9 3/4 (1.77m). She cleared the 5-8 1/2 (1.74m) and 5-9 3/4 (1.77m) bars on her first attempts but missed all three at the next height, 5-10 3/4 (1.80m). Jungmark was the 2008 NCAA Indoor champion with a clearance of 6-2 1/4i (1.89m).
With 13 events completed, the Cougar men have scored 11 points, which ties them for 15th place in the team standings. Florida State's men lead with 32 points followed by LSU with 31. After scoring 11 events in the women's team standings, Arizona State is in first with 31 points and WSU is tied for 27th with 7 points.