Senior Jeneva McCall
June 7, 2012
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois senior Jeneva McCall won the NCAA title in the hammer throw Thursday afternoon at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
McCall posted the winning throw of 225-03 on her fourth attempt to earn the third NCAA title of her career. The effort beat Missouri Valley Conference rival Brittany Smith of Illinois State by eight inches.
"I was very tired. I didn't come into the meet with the top mark and I had competed yesterday," McCall said. "I knew (Smith and UNLV's Amanda Bingson) didn't throw yesterday would have more energy, so I had to be on my guard. I had to make sure I had enough left."
McCall, who won the NCAA weight throw title in March and was the discus national champion in 2010, has now won more NCAA titles than any athlete in SIU track and field history. She overtakes Brittany Riley, who won two titles in the weight throw in 2007 and 2008, and Darrin Plab, who was a two-time national champion in the outdoor high jump in 1991 and 1992.
Along with McCall's hammer title came the 12th All-America honor of her career, and she isn't done yet. She will compete for the national title in the shot put Friday.
SIU freshman DeAnna Price also competed in Thursday's hammer throw, finishing 10th with a throw of 204-02 to earn Second Team All-America.
Thursday was a bittersweet day for Saluki junior Zach Dahleen at the NCAA Championships. Dahleen broke a 50-year-old school record in the men's 1,500-meter run during the preliminaries, but fell painfully short of qualifying for Saturday's final.
Dahleen ran 3:41.18 to overtake Bill Cornell's 1962 time of 3:42.74 atop the SIU record book. The effort was two-tenths of a second shy of the final qualifying spot. The top five finishers in each heat along with the next two fastest times advanced to the final. Dahleen's time was better than the five automatic qualifiers in the second heat, but slower than seven qualifiers from his heat.
Other Salukis competing in the NCAA Championships Friday will be Doug Palacious in the triple jump and Cody Doerflein in the pole vault, which both begin at 4:30 p.m., and Kim Fortney in the shot put, which begins at 5 p.m.