Women's Track and Field uses four All-American performances to nab sixth place at NCAAs
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- For the second consecutive season, the Texas women's track and field team finished in sixth-place scoring 26 points at the 2007 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex.
On Saturday, the final day of action at the NCAA meet, UT used All-American performances by the 4x400-meter relay, sophomore Alexandria Anderson, senior Michelle Carter and junior Temeka Kincy to finish in the top six for the fifth straight season.
"This definitely builds a strong base for next year," said UT head coach Bev Kearney. "We have a lot of people coming back. We have the talent to win but what we don't have are the people who have that leadership to take us to the next level. We did a great job of putting ourselves in a position to win a national championship. We had nine out of the 10 events in the final. Another good thing is that we now have a team which is something we did not have at Big 12s. Hopefully this is foundation for next year."
Eight-time All-American Anderson (Chicago, Ill.) led the Longhorns with two of her three All-American performances of the 2007 meet. She finished in seventh place in the open 200 (23.23 seconds), and then returned to run a strong opening leg of the 4x400-meter relay that finished fifth overall and clocked the fastest time (three minutes, 31.06 seconds) this season.
Junior Temeka Kincy (Indianapolis, Ind.) earned two All-American nods on the final day of her first NCAA outdoor national meet. Kincy ran a lifetime best of 2:02.57 in the fastest 800 final in NCAA women's championship history. She returned in the final race of the day - the 1,600-meter relay - for her second national honor in as many events.
Senior Chauntae Bayne (Fort Worth, Texas) and freshman Devon Williams (Parksville, Md.) earned All-American honors as legs of the 4x4. Bayne anchored her first mile relay of the season, and Williams competed in her third relay of the season.
After scoring three points with a sixth-place showing in the discus, Texas senior Michelle Carter (Ovilla, Texas) ended her career with her seventh career All-American performance as she tossed 56-6.5 (17.23m) to finish in fifth-place in the shot put. She nailed the mark on her final throw of the preliminary round.
"It's been great the last four years," said Carter. "I would have liked to place higher but I'm not finished yet. I still have seasons to look forward to (as a professional). It was exciting to contribute in two events for my team. It could have been a little bit better. I've enjoyed my time at Texas but I'm happy that I can look forward to a new chapter in my throwing career.
Although the shot put is Carter's primary event, her discus marks have increased towards the end of this season, prompting Carter to consider both events.
When asked about continuing to throw the discus, Carter responded, "I'm still training and my goal is to compete at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. I'll continue to do both to see how it goes."
In the UT record books, the UT indoor shot put record holder leaves Texas with six top eight national performances including the 2006 NCAA Indoor Shot Put crown. Carter is second all-time in both events (discus and shot put), and even challenged the Longhorns' discus record in the qualifying round with a lifetime best toss (177-4) that fell three inches short of Laura Messner's 1981 performance.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, NCAA newcomer Kincy (Indianapolis, Ind.) earned UT's unofficial performer of the meet award as she continued to shave time off her career best mark. Running 2:02.57 for the first time in her career, Kincy ran then-career best marks during the NCAA qualifying round (2:04.97) and semifinals (2:04.24). The 800-meter field was full of talent as the top eight from the semifinals were separated by less than two seconds.
"We have to give Destinee (Hooker) credit for winning her event," said UT head coach Bev Kearney. "The next best performer had to be Temeka. She pr'd and then ran two 52-second splits on the mile relay competing for the first time."
Kincy's performance caught the national field by surprise as she did not make the 800 finals at the Big 12 Championship, and regionally qualified with the 80th fastest time in the country. Her career run started with a 2:05.61 clip during the preliminary race of the NCAA Midwest Region Championships. She came out of the Midwest region with the third fastest finals qualifying time (2:04.21).
"Obviously you want to go out there and win the NCAA finals but to be an All-American when I wasn't even a thought in people's minds, and to be out here running 2:02 and (set a personal best) by six seconds in the past two weeks, is amazing," said Kincy.
"I came off a poor Big 12 performance and I had a bad week after that," said Kincy, elated with her finish at the NCAA meet. "I had to readjust and refocus to figure out what I wanted to do with this season. During indoor, I asked (assistant coach) Steve (Sisson) what I had to do to be an All-American. From there, Bev and Steve helped me get my mind back together. My goal was to run 2:04 and I got down to 2:02 which is amazing.
"One of the things that Steve and I did was hold her training between 2:02 and 2:04," explained Kearney. "We knew she could do it but it just became a matter of believing. She didn't believe me when I told her that's what she split the first time (running the 4x4 relay) but she believed it the second time. She did an amazing job. Any other year, 2:02 would have her in the top four. This is the first time in history that 2:02 was seventh at a national meet."
Kincy made history as she was in the field of eight runners who ran the fastest final in NCAA history. The top two times were under the two-minute mark (Johnson - 1:59.29; Katie Erdman (Minnesota) - 1:59.35). Johnson's time was just two-tenths of a second from the NCAA meet record of 1:59.11 by Wisconsin's Suzy Favor (1990).
Kincy ends the season as the third fastest 800-meter on UT's all-time performers' list. She ran the fifth fastest time ever by a Longhorn and is within a minute of the UT school record held by Karol Davidson (2:01.50 in 1987).
"That was probably the fastest race in NCAA history for the women's 800," commented Kincy of the fast middle distance group. "The field was amazingly fastest. (The time) I went through in the 400, I have never gone through that fast in my life. Hanging on to the pace was hard enough and then to finish made it a really good race. I knew we went out really fast and I didn't have much left but I knew this was my last 800 of the season so i decided I'm just going to run because I cannot move anymore."
Texas has a break before the next meet on the 2007 outdoor schedule. The Longhorns will travel to the 2007 United States Outdoor National Championships from Thursday-Saturday, June 21-24 in
2007 NCAA Championships
NCAA All-Americans (top eight)
Shot put final