Smith Claims 400-Meter Hurdle Title At NCAA Championships
June 11, 2005
Sacramento, Calif. - Senior Shauna Smith did something on Saturday at the 2005 NCAA Championships, in Sacramento, Calif., that no one has ever done in the history of the University of Wyoming outdoor track and field program in an individual event. Her gutsy 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 third fastest time from the preliminary rounds, but the fastest time recorded in the nation over the season. The two other highly ranked women that stood in Smith's way were Melaine Walker of Texas and Tiffany Ross-Williams of South Carolina.
The race started off with both Walker and Ross-Williams coming fast out of the blocks in the first 200-meters. Smith trailed, but kept a close radar on the two. Heading into the second to last hurdle, Smith started her strong finish from sixth position. She cut it down to fourth place over the final hurdle and with 40-meters left to the finish, she started reeling the others in. The senior got even with them with only ten meters remaining and leaned across the tape for the title.
"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 I had 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 West Conference Record. This is the third consecutive outdoor season the senior 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 the strongest last 150-meters I have seen in the event."
In the last event of the meet, the Cowgirl 4x400-meter relay team
competed 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 and
pushed back in the pack. After that, the team held on strong and
ended 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 nationals and gave the team All-American honors. It makes Smith a four-time recipient and Fox a two-time recipient during the outdoor season. For Hopper and Larrier, it is their first time ever receiving the honor.
After it was all said and done, the Cowgirls earned 12 team points and an 18th place finish. This is the best ever finish a Cowgirl team has performed at the NCAA Championships.
"Obviously, it was a fantastic team finish," added Yentes. "It is a great way to finish the season with the Shauna's performance, the 4x400-meter relay team running their second fastest time ever, and the best team finish ever."
For complete results see www.ncaasports.com.