Cameron Levins wins 10,000 meters
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Canadian distance star Cameron Levins owned the recent Summitt League meet, winning the 800, 1,500, 5,000, and 10,000 meters to give Southern Utah a staggering 40 points.
Levins gave the Thunderbirds something much bigger Wednesday night, becoming the school's first NCAA champion.
Levins won the 10,000, holding off Arizona's Stephen Sambu by 2 seconds to win in 28 minutes, 7.14 seconds. Levins played it calm until the final lap, running his last 400 in 58.1 to become the first Southern Utah track athlete to win an NCAA individual title.
"That was the big goal for me. I wanted to leave them with that. They gave me the opportunity to run and improve. I am so thankful for that and to give back to them," Levins said.
Levins's landmark race highlighted the Wednesday session of the national outdoors, which is typically a light schedule loaded mostly with semifinals.
There were only six titles on the line. But Oklahoma's Brittany Borman went for two of them -- and won the javelin at 184 feet, 7 inches.
Nebraska sophomore Chad Wright took the discus at 206-0, and Texas' Marquise Goodwin won the long jump at 27-0. Stanford's Katerina Stefanidi won the women's pole vault at 14-7¼ as favorite Tine Sutej of Arkansas cleared just 13-11¼ and San Diego State's Whitney Ashley took the discus at 196-10.
Wright's winning throw in the discus came shortly after he noticed a small insect in the ring, which helped calm him down.
"I was so focused and then I saw it and I said, 'Hold it, there's a bug in the ring.' And I was laughing when I said it and it just relaxed me," Wright said.
Borman, the school record holder in both the discus and the javelin, took home her second consecutive championship in the javelin. But while the rest of the top eight was honored at midfield, Borman was back out at the discus.
Borman didn't fare as well in the discus, although she wasn't expected to. Borman failed to qualify for the final with a throw of 172-2, though defending her javelin title more than made up for it.
"I've been surrounded by a great team, great coaches, so I felt like they really prepared me for it," Borman said.
Duke's Curtis Beach, second in the decathlon a year ago, also competed in two events -- the 800 and the long jump. But Beach finished 16th out of 24 runners in the 800 and missed the final in the long jump.
Many expect the women's team title race to come down to either LSU or Oregon -- though Texas A&M can never be counted out since it's won the last three in a row.
The Tigers and Ducks both shone in semifinals on the track.
LSU's 400 relay team qualified first in 42.68, followed by the Aggies, and star sprinter Kimberlyn Duncan was first in her 100 heat in 11.11. Oregon's Anne Kesselring, the defending champion in the 800, qualified in 2:02.66 despite finishing second in her heat in part because she got boxed in by the rail.
"I went out too slow, which kind of surprised me. I feel like I was maybe a little bit asleep. But then I woke up and just gradually moved up and really attacked on the home stretch and it worked out for the best," Kesselring said.
The Florida men are going for their first outdoor title after finishing second four times since 2004.
Sprinter Tony McQuay ran a promising semifinal for the Gators by clocking in for the 400 at 44.67, which was more than a second faster than the time he posted to win the NCAA indoor meet earlier this year.
Texas A&M's men also have won the last three NCAA outdoor titles. The Aggie men are favored along with the Gators and Florida State, but they could be in trouble.
Sophomore Prezel Hardy Jr., counted on by Texas A&M for major points in the 100, failed to make the final. Hardy finished fourth in his heat in 10.11, missing out on the final spot by 0.02 seconds. Hardy had the fastest time of the year among the NCAA qualifiers, running a 10.03 in winning the Big 12 championship.
The Aggies women also suffered a major setback, as star Ashley Collier ran an 11.33 and finished fourth in her heat, 0.04 seconds out of the final qualifying spot.
Auburn's Harry Adams qualified for the 100 final in 9.96, the fastest qualifying time in the history of the outdoor meet.
Boise State's Kurt Felix leads the decathlon through five events with 4,187, just 10 more than Gunnar Nixon of Arkansas. The decathlon wraps up on Thursday, and unlike in 2011 it should be able to be finished by then.
California's Michael Morrison won the event a day later than scheduled and in an empty stadium because of heavy storms that forced a number of delays. But weather shouldn't be a problem this year, with temperatures expected to be in the high 80s with no rain in the forecast.