Smith Claims 400-Meter Hurdle Title At NCAA Championships

June 11, 2005

Sacramento, Calif. - Senior Shauna Smith didsomething on Saturday at the 2005 NCAA Championships, in Sacramento,Calif., that no one has ever done in the history of the University ofWyoming outdoor track and field program in an individual event. Hergutsy performance down the stretch in the 400-meter hurdles earned her the NCAA Championship Title.

The Sheridan, Wyo. native entered Saturday's final with the thirdfastest time from the preliminary rounds, but the fastest timerecorded in the nation over the season. The two other highly rankedwomen that stood in Smith's way were Melaine Walker of Texas andTiffany Ross-Williams of South Carolina.

The race started off with both Walker and Ross-Williams coming fastout of the blocks in the first 200-meters. Smith trailed, but kept aclose radar on the two. Heading into the second to last hurdle, Smithstarted her strong finish from sixth position. She cut it down tofourth place over the final hurdle and with 40-meters left to thefinish, she started reeling the others in. The senior got even withthem with only ten meters remaining and leaned across the tape for thetitle.

"I wasn't going with Melaine (Walker) and Tiffany (Ross-Williams)like I would have liked, but I saw how far behind I was and I knew Ihad to make a move and bring it on after that," said Smith.

Not to mention Smith's time of 54.32 was a new UW an Mountain WestConference Record. This is the third consecutive outdoor season thesenior has earned All-American honors in the event.

"Unbelievable," said a speechless UW head coach Don Yentes.

"She has a tendency of not getting out fast, but she has thestrongest last 150-meters I have seen in the event."

In the last event of the meet, the Cowgirl 4x400-meter relay teamcompeted in front of the 10,200 people in attendance. The team,consisting of seniors Smith and Jessica Fox, sophomore Amanda Hopper,and freshman Sharon Larrier, got caught up in some traffic early andpushed back in the pack. After that, the team held on strong andended the race in seventh place with a time of 3:31.29.

This finish is the best a UW relay team has ever done at nationalsand gave the team All-American honors. It makes Smith a four-timerecipient and Fox a two-time recipient during the outdoor season. ForHopper and Larrier, it is their first time ever receiving the honor.

After it was all said and done, the Cowgirls earned 12 team pointsand an 18th place finish. This is the best ever finish a Cowgirl teamhas performed at the NCAA Championships.

"Obviously, it was a fantastic team finish," added Yentes. "Itis a great way to finish the season with the Shauna's performance,the 4x400-meter relay team running their second fastest time ever, andthe best team finish ever."

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