June 8, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa – Two Oklahoma State track and field athletes finished in the top eight on Friday during the third day of competition at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, as Toni Young placed fifth in the high jump and Girma Mecheso placed eighth in the 5,000 meters.
Young continued her incredible season in the high jump with the fifth-place performance, recording a season-best and new school record of 1.87 meters/six feet, one and a half inches. The importance of that mark is doubled, as it not only earned Young first-team All-America honors, it also set the Olympic Trials “A” Standard mark. Young is now automatically entered to compete at the U.S. Olympic trials at the end of June in Eugene, Ore.
Young’s fifth-place finish gave the Cowgirls four team points, and she becomes the first Cowgirl to ever score at the national meet in the high jump.
“I’m very proud of her, and everybody is very proud of her,” jumps coach Zivile Pukstiene said. “She did a very, very good job, just getting the school record, the “A” Standard for the Olympic Trials and got fifth. After a three-year break, to do that is amazing.”
Mecheso ran a 13:57.08 in the 5,000-meter race to place eighth and give the Cowboys their first team point. Mecheso hung with the front of the pack for the majority of the race, but fell off the leading pace in the final lap. Still, he was able to hold on to eighth to earn first-team All-America honors.
It is the second time Mecheso has finished in the top eight at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, as he placed seventh in the 10,000 meters as a freshman at Auburn in 2009.
“He competed exceptionally well today,” coach Dave Smith said. “He went for it; he was with the lead pack with 650, 700 meters to go. It ended up getting away from him, but it was an extremely tough field, but he held his own.”
Freshman Nick Miller placed 14th in the hammer throw after recording a throw of 62.84 meters/206 feet, two inches on his first throw. His second and third throws were better than the first, but he was called for fouls on both attempts.
“He fouled two throws that probably would have pushed him through to the finals – 68 meters, 66 meters – but the unfortunate thing is they’re fouls,” throws coach John Baumann said. “It’s a rough way to end this season, but he’s never thrown this long, he’s never had this many meets.
“He still has the Junior Worlds to go to, so he’s still driven to go there and place high.”
OSU will wrap up competition at the NCAA Championships on Saturday morning, as German Fernandez will run the men’s 1,500 meter final at 11:17 a.m. and Natalja Piliusina will run the women’s 1,500 meter final at 11:28 a.m.
NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships
Women’s High Jump
Men’s 5,000 Meters
Men’s Hammer Throw