McCullough Places Second In The Weight Throw At NCAA Indoor Championships|
March 13, 2015
Conor McCullough placed second in the men's weight throw with a new school record and Dior Hall in the 60m HH, Ky Westbrook in the 60m dash and Andre De Grasse in the 200m race advanced to tomorrow's finals during the first day of the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships being held at Randal Tyson Track center in Fayetteville, Ark. The men's team has eight points thanks to McCullough and is tied for sixth in the team competition, while the women's team did not compete in a final on the first day.
"Today was action packed and full of ups and downs," said USC's Director of Track & Field Caryl Smith Gilbert. "We had some exciting performances in the hurdles with Dior Hall lowering her previous American junior record and qualifying for tomorrow's finals. Ky Westbrook was just over her personal best in the 60m and Andre De Grasse ran a personal best in the 200 which is very difficult to do from lane three. His time of 20.55 will earn him an excellent lane in the finals and is close to Aaron Brown's school record and Canadian indoor record of 20.53. It is very important in the indoor 200m to have a preferred lane to have an advantage on the banked track. I was looking for a few more finalists in the 60m, but we didn't execute 100 percent like we should have. Tomorrow will be exciting with finals in the 60m hurdles, 60m, 200m and the 4x400m relay."
Hall got things started for the Trojans on the day by winning her 60m HH semifinal heat and having the second-fastest qualifying time overall to advance to the finals with a new PR of 8.01. That time also bettered her USC freshman record in the event and she became the only freshman to reach the finals. Hall currently has the fifth-fastest indoor 60m HH time by a U.S. women this season.
The redshirt senior McCullough demonstrated his immense talent and competitive spirit to take second in the men's weight throw by bettering his school record with a mark of 80-3.75 (24.48m). McCullough stood in second place entering the final round with a slight PR of 77-5.50 (23,61m), but dropped into third place as Michael Lihrman of Wisconsin excited the crowd with an NCAA indoor meet record of 80-10.25 (24.64m). After Purdue's Chukwuebuka Enekwechi threw 79-4 to also better the previous meet record, it was McCullough's turn with the last throw of the event. Needing something special, McCullough PR'd again by nearly three feet, but came up seven inches short of winning. McCullough's throw also bettered the previous NCAA Indoor Championships record of 78-9.75 (24.02m).
The Trojans had a record four entries in the women's 60m dash, but only the freshman Westbrook advanced to the finals tomorrow. Westbrook ran 7.19 to place third in the first heat and fifth overall to advance to the finals. The top two of each heat plus the next four best times would move on. Also in heat one and placing sixth was freshman Deanna Hill (7.37) and taking seventh was redshirt junior Tynia Gaither (7.44), who finished respectively 11th and 13th overall. Junior Alexis Faulknor was fifth in the second heat and 10th overall with a time of 7.36.
Senior BeeJay Lee had a time of 6.69 to finish eighth in the first heat of the men's 60m dash, 13th overall. Junior Andre De Grasse was in the second heat and was called for a false start along with Trayvon Bromell of Baylor.
"Andre flinched and reacted to the movement by another athlete on the line," said Smith Gilbert. "After protesting Andre's disqualification, the official upheld the decision that more than one person can be disqualified for a false start if it is determined there was determined that there was any movement before the gun. That is the beauty of track and field, anything can and will happen."
De Grasse bounced back from disappointment in the 60m dash earlier in the night to run a PR of 20.55 in the 200m dash to advance to tomorrow's final with the second-fastest qualifying time. The only person to run faster was Bromell (20.23), the other sprinter who had the false start in the 60m race. De Grasse and Bromell now have the two fastest indoor 200m times in the world this season.
Redshirt junior Tynia Gaither ran in the women's 200m race and placed third in her heat and 11th overall with a time of 23.43. Gaither was .06 seconds out of second in her heat and out of the eighth spot for the finals.
USC athletes scheduled to compete in finals tomorrow are: Andre De Grasse (200m), Dior Hall (60m HH), Ky Westbrook (60m) and the women's 4x400m relay (Kendall Ellis, Amalie Iuel, Vanessa Jones and Jaide Stepter).