OU Women Make History with Fourth Place Finish
June 11, 2011
DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Oklahoma women made program history Saturday at the NCAA Track and Field Championships as they recorded their highest team finish ever by taking fourth with a program-best 42 team points. The team was bolstered by All-Americans Candyce McGrone (200-meter dash) and Tia Brooks (shot put). Oklahoma also added an All-American on the men's side in Mookie Salaam (200-meter dash). The OU men finished 20th with 11 points.
Prior to Saturday's finish, the Oklahoma women had a program-best finish of ninth at last year's NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., and a previous best of 29 points at the 1982 NCAA Championships. The Sooners got their big start in the points race on Thursday when Brittany Borman won the javelin title and Oklahoma added 10 more points on Friday night when McGrone grabbed a surprising win in the 100-meter dash.
Brooks waited for the final competition of the collegiate season to unleash her best throw of the year, breaking her own program record with a top throw of 59-0.75 (18.00) to finish second. The sophomore was in first with a throw of 55-8.25 (16.97) after the first flight of 12 women in the event before slipping to second heading into the finals.
The Grand Rapids, Mich., native fouled on her first attempt in the finals and was passed by Indiana's Faith Sherrill, but rebounded in a big way on her next attempt. The fifth attempt saw Brooks unleash a throw of 59-0.75 (18.00) to reclaim second place, a position she would not give up with a throw of 57-1.00 (17.40) on her sixth and final attempt. Arizona's Julie Labonte won the event with a throw of 60-1.00 (18.31).
"I had 60 feet on my mind the entire time, I just wanted to PR," said Brooks. "We were pumping each other up out there. Once I got passed for second, I knew that I didn't want to go out like that. Coach (Brian) Blutreich told me to stay level and use my legs. I was level and used my legs on my big throws."
The finish gives Brooks her third first team All-American honor after accomplishing the feat the last two indoor seasons.
Brooks was one of two Oklahoma athletes in the event as her classmate Karen Shump finished 10th in the event with a top throw of 53-9.00 (16.38). Shump was just an inch-and-a-half off advancing to the nine-athlete finals. The sophomore was a three-time All-American entering the meet and earned a second team All-America honor with Saturday's finish.
One day after winning the NCAA title in the 100-meter dash, McGrone returned to the track Saturday to compete in the finals of the 200-meter dash. The junior ran her second-fastest time of the season, 22.83, to finish fourth overall in the half-lap race. LSU's Kimberlyn Duncan won the event with a stadium record of 22.24. McGrone's time was just off her PR of 22.81.
Like McGrone, Salaam returned to the track after running in the finals of the 100-meter dash on Friday night. The junior was unable to capture the Friday night magic that saw him finish second in the 100 with a time of 9.97, however, as the Edmond, Okla., native finished sixth with a time of 20.54. Florida State's Maurice Mitchell won the event with a stadium record of 19.99. The loss was the first of the season for the Big 12 champion in the event.
Oklahoma Final Results
Men's 200-Meter Dash: 6. Mookie Salaam 20.54
Women's 200-Meter Dash: 4. Candyce McGrone 22.83
Women's Shot Put: 2. Tia Brooks 59-0.75 (18.00); 10. Karen Shump 53-9.00 (16.38)