June 10, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Although weather problems would affect day one of the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the Tigers were still able to compete, paying off with three finals qualifiers in the hammer throw and pole vault and a top ten placing so far in five events of the decathlon.
The meet is four days long, and like other NCAA championship events, the goal for most athletes is to make it through to the big dance and five of the six athletes representing Missouri started competition today.
Both Chris Rohr and Krishna Lee qualified for the men and women's hammer throw finals Friday, while Lars Rise sits in eighth place in the men's decathlon competition. Brian Hancock was participating in the men's pole vault before thunder and lightning shut down the event, but when activity resumed, finished second in his flight clearing 17 feet, 2.75 inches (5.25 meters). Besides the decathlon and heptathlon, every competition on Wednesday and Thursday are preliminaries to determine the top 12 to 18 athletes who make the final round.
"It was a very strong first day," Coach Rick McGuire said. "Three of our four athletes successfully moved to the finals, and we have both combined event athletes still to go in the competition. You have to be pleased with successes like that. I am very proud of how our kids competed!"
Rohr made easy work of the preliminary round, only needing one throw to qualify for the finals. On his first toss, Rohr threw 225 feet, 2 inches (68.63 meters) to automatically qualify and sits in the third spot going into the championship round. Lee would make the finals on her second toss, throwing 200 feet, five inches, putting her sixth among the 12 finalists. Lee also threw in the women's shot with a throw of 15.56 meters (51' 0.75") to finish 18th in the nation. Both Lee and Rohr will now prepare for Friday's hammer final, in which the slate is wiped clean and each of the 12 remaining competitors on both sides will vie for team points and the title of National Champion.
"I am extremely pleased with how dialed in both Krishna and Chris are technically, and I am sure they are as excited as I am for a fun hammer competition on Friday," Associate Head Coach Brett Halter said.
A first place and second place finish in the first five events of the men's decathlon has Rise in favorable condition after his best first five events ever going into the last five tomorrow. He blew away the competition in the shot put, throwing 52 feet, 3.75 inches (15.94 meters) for first place, while leaping 24 feet, 5.75 inches (7.46 meters) in the long jump for second place.
He began the first day of the two-day competition with a near personal best in the 100m dash (11.09 seconds), After a high jump of 1.72 meters (5' 7.75"), Rise closed out the day with another personal record by running 49.99 seconds for the 400m dash. At 3989 points, Rise is on pace to repeat his All-American honors from a year ago.
While Lee was finishing up in shot put, junior Brian Hancock began competing in the first round of the men's pole vault. Hancock advanced to Friday's final with a clearance of 5.25 meters (17' 2.75"). "The weather started getting bad just as the decisive attempts began," said Coach Dan Lefever. "Brian stayed composed and competed very well."
Shannon Leinert ran a strong race and finished sixth in her heat of the women's 800-meter run, clocking in at 2:06.54 for the 19th best time of the race, just one spot from making the two heat finals.
Live video of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships can be viewed at NCAA.com. CBS College Sports will provide television coverage of Friday's events from 6 pm to 9 pm, Central Time with full results posted at http://www.flashresults.com.
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