Kara June Finishes One Spot Away From NCAA Steeplechase Finals
June 10, 2004
AUSTIN, Texas- Senior Kara June (Santa Maria, Calif.) finished two seconds away from a berth in the national women's steeplechase finals on Thursday night at the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, ultimately closing out a stellar Bulldog career.
June, a four-time WAC champion and Fresno State record holder, placed 15th overall in an event where only the top 14 finishers advance to Saturday night's national finals. Checking in seventh within her heat, June ran a 10:27.56 on Thursday evening and was edged out by Maureen Scott of Arkansas (10:25.70) for the 14th spot.
Briana Shook, the 2003 United States champion, set a stadium record and led all competitors at 10:05.18. Ida Nilsson of Northern Arizona ran a 10:15.58 for a runner-up finish, while Nebraska's Ann Gaffigan clocked a 10:12.46.
Thursday's performance caps a tremendous Bulldog career for June, who was making her second consecutive NCAA Championships appearance. Just like this year, she qualified for the 2003 NCAA Championships via an at-large entry and finished 21st overall. June received an at-large berth this year after recording a personal-best time of 10:15.22 back on Apr. 17 at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays.
She also established a new conference meet record with a 10:23.61 showing on May 15 at the WAC Outdoor Championships. June, who is considered a pioneer of the steeplechase, ran three races under the 10:25.00 mark in 2004 and took seventh overall at NCAA West Regionals.
Also on Thursday, senior Joe Vasquez (Selma, Calif.) finished 26th overall in the qualifying round of the hammer throw, eliminating him from national contention.
Vasquez, who will also be competing in the discus throw on Friday at 1:45 PST, finished 14th in his flight and 26th overall with a toss of 191-4 (58.31m). That turned out to be the best throw of three attempts for Vasquez, who fouled twice.
Freshman Mallory Webb (Dundee, Ore.) will continue her quest for All-America status on Friday when the women's javelin finals get underway at 6:15 PST. She finished ninth overall with a toss of 153-4 (46.75m) during Wednesday's qualifying session to earn a berth in the national finals. Webb, who is the only freshman among the final top-12 competitors, will need to finish among the top-8 American athletes to be granted All-America recognition.