Carter lands second finals berth to lead Women's Track and Field at NCAA Championships
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- It took one throw for Texas women's track and field senior Michelle Carter to land the top spot entering the shot put finals on day two of the 2007 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Carter tossed 56 feet, 3-1/4 inches (17.15m) to lead the field of finalists for the seventh-ranked Texas women's track and field team at Alex G. Spanos Complex.
"Michelle has really matured into a phenomenal competitor and a great team leader," said Texas head women's track and field coach Bev Kearney. "That's the one thing that Michelle is adding. She is an anchor for us right now. Her performances, both yesterday and today, say a lot about her focus, maturity and ability. It's going to be a competitive field in the discus and in the shot. Not only will she step up but her competitors will and she is prepared."
After meeting the automatic qualifying distance of 55-9.25 (17.00m), Carter (Ovilla, Texas) passed on her next two attempts.
"Michelle was relaxed and she knew what she wanted to do," continued assistant coach Rose Brimmer. "She made up her mind that she would hit the qualifying mark on the first throw and that's what she did."
As soon as Carter finished competition, she headed to the stands to join her teammates in cheering on the 4x400-meter relay. The momentum swung in their favor as the quartet finished with the fastest time in heat four (3:32.52), earning one of the automatic bids to the finals.
The true story in the group was anchor leg Chauntae Bayne (Fort Worth, Texas). The transfer from Stanford ran two open 200 races earlier in the day, and returned to dominate the 1,600-meter final lap. With the Longhorns in fifth-place in the heat and in danger of not making the final, Bayne had a clean exchange with junior Temeka Kincy (Indianapolis, Ind.) which allowed Bayne to gain ground and move into third heading into the first turn on the track. By the end of the final curve, only Texas A&M sophomore Katie Baker remained in front of Bayne.
Running along the final straightaway and behind the cheers of her teammates in the stands on the straightaway, Bayne caught and passed the Aggies' anchor for the win and automatic spot in Saturday's finals.
The race was even more special because in running her fifth race in 24 hours, Bayne was edged in the open 200 and did not make the event finals despite having one of the top 10 times in the nation in the event. Bayne registered a 23.22-second performance in the first round of the 200 to advance to the semifinals where she ran 23.27 and finished just outside of the qualifiers for the event finals.
"Sometimes bad things happen, so better things will," said Kearney in reference to Bayne's elimination from the open 200 finals. "After (Bayne) didn't make it, I talked to her about the mile relay and she said, `I got it.' She held her word, we are in the final."
Kearney continued, "(We talked about) patience and taking your time and absorbing the distance as opposed to gobbling it up. (Bayne) ran a smart race and did what she had to do and didn't break mechanics. That's a phenomenal team that we ran against (in Texas A&M) but right now its about making it to the next round."
Fellow sprinter sophomore Alexandria Anderson (Chicago, Ill.) pushed through to the 200 final. She posted a 23.11-second run in the first round and finished in 23.19 in the semifinals to earn her third finals berth of the meet (100, 200, and 4x100).
Kincy put together her third straight two minute, four second performance in the 800-meter run, to earn her first appearance in an NCAA Championships final. The third-place finisher from the 2007 NCAA Midwest Region Championship finished as the second at-large runner in the 800-meter semifinal in 2:04.24.
"Temeka has done a great job," ended Kearney. "She's our most gratifying athlete. It's good to finally see them knowing what they are doing. (Assistant coach) Steve (Sisson) and I knew how good she was and now she knows. That's the most rewarding thing you can see."
The Longhorns have the opportunity to score points tomorrow with the finals of the high jump (7:15 p.m.), discus (5:15 p.m.), 100 (8:25 p.m.) and 4x100-meter relay (6:40 p.m.). All times are Central.
2007 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships
4x400-meter relay semifinals
Shot put qualifying