San Diego State University’s Renee Ross and Liz Mueller led a strong performance by the Aztecs’ women Thursday in qualifying for the finals in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the University of Texas.
Ross won her heat in the 400-meter dash in 52.03 and was the second qualifier overall for Saturday’s final behind Sherri Howard of Cal State Los Angeles (51.95). Mueller threw the javelin 160-8 and finished 10th of the 12 qualifiers for Saturday’s final. The Aztec’s women’s 1,600-meter relay team had the fourth-best time overall in qualifying for the final (3:30.57).
The SDSU men did not fare quite so well, however. Sprinter’s Hurvie Milner and Aaron Thigpen failed to advance to the finals. Milner finished second in his heat in the 100 (10.22) and Thigpen was seventh in his heat (10.55).
Sweetwater High School graduate Gail Devers, now a UCLA freshman, qualified in two events Thursday. The San Diego Section prep multi-record holder won her heat of the 100-meter dash in 11.24 and is the second qualifier for the finals. Devers trails only Juliet Cuthbert of the University of Texas (11.18).
Devers finished second in her heat of the 100-meter hurdles in 13.15. She qualified sixth overall for the final. Devers’ UCLA teammate, Jackie Joyner, had a strong day as well, qualifying in the triple jump, 100-meter hurdles and 1,600-meter relay. Joyner is in five final events this weekend.
The University of Arkansas moved back into a heavy favorite’s role after qualifying six different athletes for the finals. The strong performance puts the Razorbacks in position to complete the triple crown of college track. Should they win the team track title this weekend, the Razorbacks would complete the academic year with NCAA cross county and indoor and outdoor track championships.
Michael Conley led the way for Arkansas. Conley qualified for the triple jump final, the event in which he was a silver medalist at last year’s Olympic Games.
Also Thursday, USC’s Wendy Brown turned in the best triple jump ever by a woman, 44-6 3/4. Brown broke the previous world best of 43-4 by Texas’ Terri Turner, but the mark will not count as a world record because the International Track and Field Federation does not recognize the event.