Senior Sirena Williams has been a dominant force in the 100m hurdles all season breaking her own school record five times before this weekend.
The Regional Championships was more of the same.
Williams started the meet off by placing second in the prelims on Friday. By clocking 13.50, she broke her school record for the sixth time this season.
“It feels amazing,” Williams said. “I called it last year. It was my goal set for this year, so I definitely had happy tears the day I broke the record. Just running a 13.50 this year is a great accomplishment for me and I’m really happy about that.“
In Saturday’s finals, Williams ran close to that mark, crossing the line at 13.59 to take seventh. She was just 11 hundredths away from fifth place, which would have earned her a berth to the national championships.
“I had a good race,” Williams said. “I feel my [Saturday] race was more solid than the race I ran breaking the record in terms of hurdles, though my start breaking the record was way better. It was just that first step. I didn’t really get out as hard as I did [Friday].“
Though Williams is graduating, there are four sub-15 second hurdlers returning in Anikia Jackson, Suzanne Howard, Ofunne Okwudiafor and Chelsea Azevado to give the Aggies a strong hurdle contingent heading into 2010.
“Hopefully my being as fast as I am will encourage my teammates to run at their potential,” Williams said. “Hopefully I can pull them to their max speed.“
Chid Onyewuenyi did double duty at the meet, taking ninth in the hammer throw on Friday. She then took 15th in the shot put on Saturday. While her shot mark of 13.63m was far below her season best of 14.60m, her hammer throw of 56.12m was close to her best of 56.84m. Her ninth-place throw in the hammer was less than 1.5m away from fifth place, which would have earned her a spot at the national championships.
Ugo Eke – who missed much of the season due to injury – capped her season by placing 14th in the 400m with a time of 55.25.
“She was in lane eight, and that’s not easy for her,” coach Deanne Vochatzer said. “She had no one to go off. She got out well, then had a bit of a lapse around 250m. She finished strong, but got surged on around 250m. It was not a great race, but it was good to build on for next year. She had a great season, especially considering the ankle injury.“
Also competing were seniors Lorin Scott and Kim Conley in the 5,000m and Ashley Hearn in the discus throw. Hearn was unable to get a legal throw, so ended up with no mark.
Conley – the school record-holder in the event – continued her string of bad luck at big meets by having her shoe knocked half off early into the race, then tossing it a few laps later before dropping out. Scott, thanks largely to a strong last mile, finished 13th in the largely tactical final, clocking 17:03.65.
“We had some really good things happen, and then we had some downs,” Vochatzer said. “It’s a learning process. This technically is the first round of the NCAA championships. The going gets tough. But it’s cool, because you can say this is what we’re going to be doing. Now we’ve got to build on it and learn from our mistakes and get people used to being here.“
ALEX WOLF-ROOT can be reached at email@example.com.