McGrone Claims NCAA 100-Meter Dash Title

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

June 10, 2011


DES MOINES, Iowa — The shortest race on the track produced the most news for OU Friday at the NCAA Track and Field Championships as Candyce McGrone became OU’s 35th NCAA champion with a win in the 100-meter dash, breaking a program record in the process, and Mookie Salaam broke the Oklahoma record in the men’s division while finishing second.

McGrone’s win on a wet track under rainy conditions comes one day after Brittany Borman won the NCAA title in the javelin and that along with a point from Sarah Pappas Friday in the pole vault gives the No. 5 Oklahoma women 29 team points and second in the team standings heading into Saturday’s final day of competition. The Oregon women lead the women’s competition with 33 points. The Oklahoma men sit in 27th with the eight team points from Salaam’s 100-meter dash.

Using a strong start and an even stronger finish, McGrone raced away from the field and finished with a time of 11.08, shattering her own Oklahoma record of 11.17 in the process. LSU’s Kimberlyn Duncan was second at 11.09 as TCU’s Jessica Young took third with 11.14.

McGrone entered the meet ranked No. 14 nationally and was the lowest-ranked athlete in the final. Despite the ranking, the Indianapolis native had experience against the field, entering the final with a 6-0 head-to-head record against other athletes in the field. McGrone credited the ranking and the fact some score projections did not have the junior projected to score any team points for motivation.

“I had a chip on my shoulder coming into the race and I felt like I was going to win when I was warming up. I like being the underdog, it feels great to shock everyone,” said McGrone. “I just wanted to execute my race and I knew that I had to get a great start. I really just blanked out when I got into the blocks. I came out well and finished strong. I don’t even feel like I’ve won yet.”

The win by McGrone is just the eighth women’s national title in OU history, four each during indoor and outdoor, and the first ever sprints national title by an Oklahoma athlete. With McGrone and Borman’s wins, the Oklahoma women’s program won two NCAA titles at the same meet for the first time in program history.

Following McGrone’s blazing performance, Salaam stepped on the Jim Duncan Track for the men’s 100-meter dash. Like McGrone, Salaam entered the meet with a double-digit national ranking in the event, coming in at No. 13.

While the junior from Edmond, Okla., did not claim the win in the event, Salaam was hardly disappointed, finishing with a personal best and Oklahoma record 9.97 as Florida State’s Ngonidzashe Makusha won the event breaking a 15-year old collegiate record with a time of 9.89. Florida State’s Maurice Mitchell was third at 10.00.

Salaam’s time shatters his previous PR of 10.19 as the Big 12 champion in the event broke a 35-year old Oklahoma record in the event. The previous record entering the meet of 10.04 was set by John Garrison in 1976. With the finish, Salaam earns All-America honors in the event for the second straight year and is second Sooner to accomplish the feat, joining DaBryan Blanton (2003, 2005) as the only OU athlete to earn All-America honors in the event.

“I wanted to get out of the blocks and race that clock to show everybody that all the hard work in the fall pays off if you have patience,” said Salaam.  “It’s nationals, I can celebrate this time when the meet is over. Right now you have to let everything go and erase it from your mind and concentrate on the next race.”

That next race Salaam refers to is the final of the 200-meter dash on Saturday just one race after McGrone takes to the track in the finals of the 200-meter dash. Salaam enters the race with the nation’s No. 1 ranking in the event while McGrone is ranked No. 7 in the women’s 200.

Pappas was competing in her first ever NCAA Championships in the pole vault and the senior responded with a crucial team point for the Sooners as she took eighth with a clearance at 13-5.25 (4.10). The height is Pappas’ second-best height behind her PR of 13-8.50 (4.18) at the Arkansas Twilight on May 6.

Pappas opened at 12-9.50 (3.90) and cleared the height in two attempts. Pappas provided some drama at the next height, 13-1.50 (4.00), as she took all three attempts to clear the bar and move on to the next height, her eventual final height of 13-5.25 (4.10). The senior needed just one attempt to clear the bar and become just Oklahoma’s second ever All-American in the women’s pole vault, following in the footsteps of Leslie Dunlap who accomplished the feat in 1992.

Oklahoma Final Results
Men’s 100-Meter Dash: 2. Mookie Salaam 9.97
Women’s 100-Meter Dash: 1. Candyce McGrone 11.08
Women’s Pole Vault: 8. Sarah Pappas 13-5.25 (4.10)