Women's Track and Field finishes second at NCAA Midwest Region Championship
DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Texas women's track and field team used four top-three performances on the second day to place second at the 2007 NCAA Midwest Region Championship at Drake Stadium. UT scored 67 points behind runner-up performances by senior All-American Michelle Carter (discus) and both the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays.
UT recorded eight qualifying marks on the second day to add to the group headed to the 2007 NCAA Outdoor National Championships in Sacramento, Calif., from Wednesday to Saturday, June 6-9. The top five individual finishers and top three relays automatically advance to the national meet.
"I think we did a great job," said Texas women's head track and field coach Bev Kearney. "We had some places where we know what we're going better. We got more than what we could have asked for from this group.
Carter (Ovilla, Texas) had the best discus performance of her career, tossing 174-3 (53.12m). She improved her prior career best of 171-8 from 2006, and moved closer to UT school leader Laura Messner (177-7 in 1981). Carter's younger sister, D'Andra, finished in fourth place, earning an automatic bid to nationals with Michelle.
"I know (Carter) was a bit disappointed after the shot put so for her to come back shows her character," said Kearney. "It is representative of what this team is about and what we are trying to do. We are finally coming together as a team.
Carter was the favorite in the region in the shot put but finished in second place by less than three inches.
"I just knew that I had to focus and throw my best," said Carter. "I was trying to make up for the day before so I knew I had to throw well in the discus. I came into the discus finals in third place. Then I got passed and was in fourth. The last throw was my best throw. I wasn't sure of the placing but I knew it was a better than I had thrown."
"You go from (Carter's performance) to the 2:04 by Temeka (Kincy), and then to Chauntae (Bayne) and Alex (Anderson)," continued Kearney. "This is most definitely what (the team) need going into the national championships. This definitely was the toughest region in the country. When you look at the overall performances of our region, this maybe a preview of what's coming at nationals."
Bayne finished third in the 100, running a season-best 11.28 seconds. She returned to run to run her fastest time of the year - 22.95 - marking the first time this year she has run under 23 seconds. She contributed 11 points in the individual races and eight points in the relay.
Anderson clocked 11.39 seconds in earning the final automatic national spot in the 100. She took the final automatic qualifier in 23.23 in the 200. Anderson tallied eight individual points and eight points in the relay.
By far one of the most competitive races of the day, the Texas 1,600-meter relay repeated its performance from the Drake Relays, running 3:33.33, and earning one of only three Midwest region at-large berths to the national championships.
Bayne anchored the quartet to the runner-up finish. The senior received the baton in sixth-place, and ran down Kansas State, TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma, to move into second-place, crossing the finish line behind Texas A&M.
"Coach (Kearney) told us to focus on the top three," said an exhausted Bayne, who had to be carried from the finish line. "That wasn't enough for me so I just started going for the lead. When I got up (to the front of the pack), I only had A&M left, and I was focused on getting past them. Towards the end my leg started fatiguing but I just put it all out there."
Anderson was the second runner in the 4x400, sophomore Angel Williams (Clarendon, Texas) opened the final race of the meet, and freshman Devon Williams (Parksville, Md.) ran the third leg for the national berth.
Opening the day with the 4x100-meter relay finals, junior Jasmine Lee (Norwalk, Calif.) and Anderson ran the opening legs, that finished in a season-best 43.50. Senior Jerrika Chapple (Lancaster, Texas) ran the third leg and Bayne anchored the quartet to the second-place finish.
Junior Temeka Kincy (Indianapolis, Ind.) registered a new lifetime best and qualified for her first NCAA outdoor national championship. She clocked 2:04.21 in the 800-meter run to finish third. The time is the fifth in UT school history, and improves the personal best mark she ran in yesterday's preliminary (2:05.61). She entered the meet with the 17th fastest seed time and shaved over four seconds off her regular season best (run at the 2007 Texas Invitational on March 24).
"Yes, I knew the girls in the race, and my goal is not to get caught up in the pack, and to just be right there in the position to run my race in the last 200-meters," said Kncy. "I feel like the last 200 is when the race starts. I knew that if I was in good position at that point, I would have a chance of making the top five. I felt confident in running because I set a personal record yesterday and it's the best I've ever ran. This has come along with training. I had a rough couple of weeks during conference but I talked with my coaches and got my head focused and now it's come together."
Texas A&M won the women's team title, marking the fifth straight year a Big 12 Conference team has won the region championship. The Aggies scored 99 points, ahead of No. 2 Texas (67 points), third-place Nebraska (55 points), fourth-place Texas Tech (43 points) and No. 5 TCU (42 points).
2007 NCAA Midwest Region
4x100-meter (NCAA Reg.: 45.70)
4x400-meter (NCAA Reg.: 45.70)
Discus (NCAA Reg.: 47.30m)
Pole vault (NCAA Reg.: 3.80m)