Feb. 27, 2010
AMES, Iowa -- The University of Oklahoma men's track and field program won the program's 18th conference title Saturday when it won the 2010 Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championship on the campus of Iowa State University. The Sooners earned a total of 114 points to hold off Nebraska, second with 110 points, for the crown. In an event that came down to the very last event of the day, the men's 4x400-meter relay, the Oklahoma men had their highest point total in Big 12 history while the Oklahoma women tied their Big 12 best finish by finishing fourth with 65 points.
In addition to the team title that saw every running event score for the Sooners, Ronnie Ash (60-meter hurdles), Mookie Salaam (60-meter dash) and Karen Shump (shot put) all won Big 12 titles Saturday to go along with K.P. Singh's weight throw win Friday night.
"I feel very fortunate to have a program with the kind of talent and effort that we displayed today," said OU head coach Martin Smith. "Our strength is the fact that our team is very balanced. We scored in every event on the track and the extra little bit of points from the field events were pivotal. We competed well and showed great fight and determination today and that effort was awarded by a championship. This was a real team effort."
In what was a complete team effort, the meet came down to the final event of the day, the men's 4x400-meter relay. Entering the event, Oklahoma held a one-point lead over Nebraska. After the Huskers relay recorded a time of 3:12.14 in the second heat, the quartet of Remuro Henry, Jarell Warren, Eric Bailey and Zach Dawson teamed to record an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 3:08.01 to earn six points to Nebraska's three and wrap up the crown.
Already the 2009 NCAA champion in the 60-meter hurdles, Ash added another title with his win in the 60-meter hurdles, recording a personal best 7.59. The time is the best among collegians this year and ranks fifth this year by an American on any level. The time also ties a Lied Center facility record and eclipses Ash's previous OU school record, 7.69, by a tenth of a second. The time also betters Ash's previous PR of 7.63, which was used to win the 2009 NCAA Championship.
Ash becomes Oklahoma's 10th conference champion in the indoor hurdles and the first since Russell Adams' 1990 55-meter hurdles win. Ash was one of two OU athletes in the finals of the event as teammate Malcolm Anderson was sixth with a time of 7.82.
One day after running a personal best 6.68 in the men's 60-meter dash, Salaam turned around in the finals and almost did it again, winning the Big 12 title in the event with a time of 6.69.
Salaam became the third athlete from the OU men's program to win a Big 12 title in the 60-meter dash as DaBryan Blanton did so in 2004 as well as Marcus Pugh in 2010.
Salaam returned to the track two hours later for a finals showdown in the men's 200-meter dash. While Salaam did not record the double win, the sophomore more importantly picked up an NCAA automatic qualifying mark by finishing second with a time of 20.80. The time lowered Salaam's program record, which he acquired Friday night, by over a tenth of a second from 20.92 and places Salaam in a tie for fourth nationally.
"I'm blessed again and it's exciting. I did what Coach (Matt) Kane said to do and hit a PR for the second day in a row," said Salaam.
Already the OU record holder in the event, Shump finished just a half inch of her personal best with a winning throw of 56-7.25 (17.25). The throw punched Shump's ticket to the NCAA Indoor Championships as it exceeded the NCAA automatic qualifying standard of 55-5.50 (16.90) and ranks second nationally.
"It's okay, I'm glad I got the win but I still have some technical things to work on," said Shump. "It feels great to see how hard my teammates trained and it's exciting because everything is building for the team race."
With the win, Shump claims OU's fourth conference title in the women's shot put. Cecil Hansen won Big 8 shot put crowns on three occasions.
Shump was just one of four Sooners to score as OU athletes accounted for half the finishers on the awards stand. Tia Brooks grabbed a PR of 54-2.00 (16.51) to finish second and move up to second all-time on the OU performance list. Amy Backel had the fifth-best effort in the event, an NCAA provisional qualifying throw of 50-5.25 (15.37), while Brittany Borman rounded out the OU finishers in eighth with a season best of 49-3.00 (15.01).
In what will possibly go down as the closest collegiate race this season, Scottesha Miller narrowly missed a Big 12 title in the women's 60-meter dash. Miller fell to Texas A&M's Gabby Mayo by just two-thousandth of a second, 7.295 to 7.297. Miller's PR is the second-best effort in OU history behind record holder Laverne Jones' 7.24 and is the second PR in as many days for the Daytona Beach, Fla., native. Miller was joined on the awards podium for the event by Sherine Wells who finished seventh with a time of 7.49.
Miller also earned All-Big 12 honors in the 200-meter dash with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 23.52, finishing fifth overall.
The men's mile placed two Oklahoma athletes atop the awards podium as Eric Harasyn and Jacob Boone finished second and third, respectively. Harasyn was almost able to run down the eventual champion, Iowa State's Hillary Bor, as he finished with a time of 4:12.65 to Bor's 4:12.59. Boone followed Harasyn across the finish line with a time of 4:13.05. The two still hold the distinction as the only athletes in the Big 12 to run a sub-four minute mile this season.
In the next-to-last race of the night, three Oklahoma men's distance runners provided the Sooners with 14 valuable points in the 3,000-meter run led by Kevin Williams in third with a time of 8:09.46. Sorrell followed Williams across the line in fourth with a time of 8:09.93 while Kevin Schwab took sixth with a time of 8:10.81.
The 2008 Big 12 champion in the event, Latoya Greaves was able to remain on the awards podium in the 60-meter hurdles as she finished third with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 8.31 after running 8.27 in the prelims.
Kevin Snyder brought home five team points with a fourth-place finish in the high jump. Snyder cleared a season-best height of 6-10.75 (2.10) and bested three other competitors at the same height in the event.
Jarell Warren and Zach Dawson added seven points to the OU team total as they finished fifth and seventh, respectively, in the 600-yard run. With a final push before the finish line, Warren clocked a time of 1:10.30 while Dawson was just behind in 1:10.34.
Freshman Marlena Wesh continued to move up the OU performance charts as she ran the fifth-fastest 400-meter dash in program history. Wesh's time of NCAA provisional qualifying time of 54.24 was good for sixth Saturday.
A second freshman, Kristen Rice, followed Wesh in earning All-Big 12 honors as she finished sixth in the high jump with a season-best height of 5-7.25 (1.71).
In the men's 800-meter run, Chris Sweeney finished seventh with a time of 1:52.00 to earn his second All-Big 12 honor and his first as an individual after doing so in 2009 as a member of the men's distance medley relay.
Jasmine Simmons was seventh in the women's triple jump with a top distance of 41-9.75 (12.74) while Eric Bailey finished eighth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 47.99.
Freshman Alex Muntefering earned All-Big 12 honors in his first year of collegiate competition as he finished eighth in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:30.67.
Women's 60-Meter Hurdles: 3. Latoya Greaves 8.31*
Men's 60-Meter Hurdles: 1. Ronnie Ash 7.59**, 6. Malcolm Anderson 7.82*
Women's 60-Meter Dash: 2. Scottesha Miller 7.30*, 7. Sherine Wells 7.49
Men's 60-Meter Dash: 1. Mookie Salaam 6.69*
Men's Mile: 2. Eric Harasyn 4:12.65, 3. Jacob Boone 4:13.05
Men's 600-Yard Run: 5. Jarell Warren 1:10.30, 7. Zach Dawson 1:10.34
Women's 400-Meter Dash: 6. Marlena Wesh 54.24*
Men's 400-Meter Dash: 8. Eric Bailey 47.99
Men's 1,000-Meter Run: 8. Alex Muntefering 2:30.67
Men's 800-Meter Run: 7. Chris Sweeney 1:52.00
Women's 200-Meter Dash: 5. Scottesha Miller 23.52*
Men's 200-Meter Dash: 2. Mookie Salaam 20.80**
Women's 3,000-Meter Run: 18. Lauren Watson 9:47.75, 21. Molly Ferguson 9:53.38
Men's 3,000-Meter Run: 3. Kevin Williams 8:09.46, 4. Rob Sorrell 8:09.93, 6. Kevin Schwab 8:10.81
Women's 4x400-Meter Relay: 7. Jalesa Walker, Marlena Wesh, Latoya Greaves, Sherine Wells 3:44.38
Men's 4x400-Meter Relay: 3. Remuro Henry, Jarell Warren, Eric Bailey, Zach Dawson 3:08.01*
Men's High Jump: 4. Kevin Snyder 6-10.75 (2.10)
Women's Triple Jump: 7. Jasmine Simmons 41-9.75 (12.74*)
Women's Shot Put: 1. Karen Shump 56-7.25 (17.25**), 2. Tia Brooks 54-2.00 (16.51*), 5. Amy Backel 50-5.25 (15.37*), 8. Brittany Borman 49-3.00 (15.01)
Men's Triple Jump: 5. Will Claye 52-2.50 (15.91*), 6. Neelon Greenwood 51-4.50 (15.66*)
Men's Shot Put: 15. Colin Quirke 50-1.25 (15.27)
Women's High Jump: 6. Kristen Rice 5-7.25 (1.61)
* NCAA Provisional Qualifying Mark
** NCAA Automatic Qualifying Mark