SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Elizabeth Herrs got back on the awards stand Thursday with her fifth place finish at the United States Track and Field Association Senior National Championships. Her performance comes just two weeks after Herrs missed qualifying for the final in the javelin at the NCAA Championships by the slimmest of margins.
Herrs recorded her best throw, 187-8, on her first throw of the competition. That put her in second place in the 15-woman field through the first two rounds. She dropped to third in the final round of the preliminaries as eventual winner Kara Patterson of asics (204-10) and former Sooner Brittany Borman of NIKE/New York (203-7) both passed her.
Two others throwers passed her on their fourth attempts as none of Herrs’ remaining throws eclipsed her first one. Her 189-5 effort at the Big 12 Championships in May remains as Herrs’ career-best effort.
Borman, an Olympian in 2012, two-time NCAA champion and five-time All-American as a Sooner, took second with her 203-7, a mark she recorded on her third throw. Two fouls and a 198-7 in the final three throws kept her in second place. Borman still owns the top mark on the OU career list in the discus and the javelin.
Several other former Sooners have also competed in the first two days of the Senior National. Four-time NCAA Champion Tia Brooks, who competes for NIKE, finished third in the shot put with a 61-9.5. Brooks, who was an Olympian in 2012 and earned All-America honors seven times as a Sooner, had jumped from third to second on her fifth throw of the competition only to see her best mark passed on the final round of throws to finish third. Brooks, eventual champion Michelle Carter (63-9.75) and runner-up Felisha Johnson (62-11.25) were the only competitors in 12-woman field to pass the 61-foot mark. Brooks still holds the top spot on the OU career list in the shot put.
In the men’s 1500-meter run, a pair of former Sooners, Riley Masters and Pat Casey, advanced to Saturday afternoon’s final. Masters, who competes for Brooks, finished sixth overall in the 28-man field with a 3:43.02 and Casey, who runs with the Oregon Track Club, won his heat with a 3:44.41. The top four in each of two heats plus the next four fastest times advanced to the 2:14 p.m. (PDT) final Saturday. The two runners currently rank one (Masters-3:37.19) and two (Casey-3:40.04) on the all-time OU career list in the 1500. Both earned All-America honors in their OU careers that ended in 2013.
Mookie Salaam, an indoor NCAA champion in 2011 and seven-time NCAA All-American as a Sooner, advanced from the preliminary round of the 100-meter dash with a 10.36. Salaam, who competes for adidas, was one of nine automatic qualifiers and advanced to Friday’s 6:07 p.m. (PDT) semifinal. The final for the 100 will be at 8:52 p.m. Friday. Salaam’s time ranked 11th overall in the 29-man field. Salaam, who competed for the Sooners in 2010 and 2011 before turning pro after the 2011 season, currently has the top mark in the outdoor 100- and 200-meter dashes on the all-time OU list.
Candyce McGrone, a former national champion for OU and four-time All-American as a Sooner, finished 17th overall in the women’s 100-meter dash with a time of 11.58. McGrone, who also runs with NIKE, ran in the fastest of four heats and finished fourth in that heat, one spot out of an automatic qualifying position. She also missed qualifying to the semifinals on time by 0.03 seconds. She currently ranks first on the OU all-time list in the outdoor 100.
In addition to those former Sooners who advanced from the prelims, two more still have competition awaiting them. Luke Bryant, a former Sooner All-American, will compete in the discus at 3:15 p.m. (PDT) Friday. Bryant, who competed for the Sooners from 2009-2012, holds the top spot in the discus on OU’s career list. Masters, a qualifier for the 1500 final, is scheduled to run the 5,000-meter event Friday at 9:25 p.m. (PDT).
Live results are available throughout the meet at www.usatf.org.