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Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - June 7, 2013

Women chase NCAA track titles

Carter reaches 400 hurdles final, Weissenbach and Fedronic in 800 finale

by Rick Eymer

Stanford junior Kori Carter hopes to repeat her efforts from Wednesday's semifinal in Friday's championship race of the 400-meter hurdles at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Carter, who was named Women's West Region Track Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Monday, ran the fastest women's 400 hurdle preliminary race in meet history (54.67) and joined 800-meter runners Justine Fedronic and Amy Weissenbach in Friday finals.

Carter won the Pac-12 championship in the 100-meter hurdles, in which she was scheduled to compete Thursday, and 400 hurdles and is ranked among the top 10 in the world in both events. She is also scheduled to compete on Stanford's 1,600 relay team.

Carter's season best of 54.21 in the 400 hurdles ranks her No. 3 in the world and No. 1 in the United States. She has three of the top five times in that race in the U.S. Her 100 hurdles time of 12.76 ranks her No. 8 in the world and No. 2 in the NCAA.

Friday's 400 hurdles race promises drama as Carter looks to complete an undefeated season against 2012 Olympic finalist Georganne Moline of Arizona. The two women already have raced against each other four times. Moline holds the other two-fastest times in the U.S.

Carter's 54.67 in the prelims surpassed the previous NCAA preliminary record of 55.35 by Virginia Tech's Queen Harrison in 2010.

In their fourth matchup this season, Carter used a late-race surge to maintain her undefeated record — against her Pac-12 rival and for the season. Moline was second in the heat in 54.89.

This is the first time Carter has qualified for an NCAA final, after three previous appearances in NCAA indoor and outdoor championship meets. Her time is nearly 10 seconds faster than she ran in this meet last year (1:04.19) and more than four seconds faster than she ran as a freshman (59.14).

Carter has broken 55 seconds four times this season. No other collegian besides Moline has done so even once.

Fedronic and Weissenbach became the first Stanford teammates to reach the final of the 800. Fedronic, who attended nearby Carlmont High in Belmont, was second in her heat with a time of 2:04.07. They also become the first from Stanford to reach a women's 800 final since Ashley Freeman in 2006.

Weissenbach, who improved her own school freshman record, was third in 2:04.19, and was the first to advance on time. She remains No. 2 on Stanford's all-time performance list behind Fedronic, who owns the school record of 2:03.54.

Fedronic qualified with the sixth-fastest time among the 24 competitors and Weissenbach was seventh.

Also competing Friday, Stanford junior Jessica Tonn and sophomore Aisling Cuffe will look to earn their first outdoor All-America honors in the 5,000. Tonn's 15:54.90 is the 13th-best time in the field and Cuffe, a two-time American junior record-breaker in the indoor 3,000, is 24th at 16:15.53.

Stanford senior Alyssa Wisdom competes in the shot put on Saturday. Stanford junior Erik Olson, who squeezed into the last qualifying spot at the NCAA West Prelims and is on the verge of his first All-America honor, will compete in Saturday's 5,000.

Stanford sophomore Brianna Bain, meanwhile, collected her second top-three javelin finish on Wednesday. Bain, the 2012 NCAA runner-up, rallied from seventh to third on her fourth throw, but was unable to improve upon her mark of 176-11 or her place.

"I didn't accomplish what I set out to do," said Bain, who entered the meet with a collegiate-leading throw of 183-10. "But at the same time, I feel like I competed well."

Also, freshman Steven Solomon was unable to escape his opening heat in the men's 400, placing sixth in the race and 15th overall, and senior Karynn Dunn placed 15th in the women's long jump.

Bain, a native of Beaverton, Ore., was competing on familiar ground, having thrown at Hayward Field an estimated 20 times, she said, in high school and even in open meets such as the 2012 Olympic trials.

With three attempts remaining for each in the nine-thrower final, Bain sat in seventh at 168-1, more than 10 feet behind the leader. However, that was not a concern.

"I didn't worry about that," Bain said. "I knew I had one in me."

She uncoiled the 176-11, and may have thrown farther on her fifth try, but we'll never know. It floated to the right of the sector for a foul.

Dunn earned her third All-America honor, this time with a second-team distinction. Her best jump of 20-3 came on her first attempt. She followed with a 20-0 1/4 and fouled on her third try. Only the top nine were awarded three additional jumps.

Baseball

Stanford senior pitcher Mark Appel is one of five finalists for the 2013 Dick Howser Trophy presented by Easton Foundations, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association announced Thursday. The award, given to the top player in collegiate baseball, is based on two rounds of national voting.

Appel, Stanford's all-time strikeout leader (372), ranks third in the Pac-12 with a 2.12 ERA and boasts a .203 opposing batting average. The Houston, Texas, native leads the conference and ranks fourth in the nation with 130 punchouts.

A Louisville Slugger All-American, Appel went 10-4 in 14 starts and tossed four complete games. He issued just 23 walks and allowed 17 extra-base hits in 106.1 innings. The Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Appel is in contention for a number of other national postseason awards, including the Senior CLASS Award.

Tony Kemp and Tyler Beede of Vanderbilt, Colin Moran of North Carolina and Kris Bryant of San Diego complete the list of finalists.

Women's tennis

Stanford junior Nicole Gibbs earned her second straight Honda Sports Award for tennis. Her selection by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) program recognizes Gibbs as the country's top female player in her sport.

An All-American in singles during each of her first three seasons, Gibbs collected her fourth career singles title when she became the NCAA's first repeat champion since former Cardinal standout Amber Liu (2003-04) and Stanford's 16th all-time collegiate singles winner (14 NCAA, 2 AIAW) overall.

Gibbs, who also joined Linda Gates as only Cardinal players to claim an NCAA team, singles and doubles crown in career, is the fifth Stanford netter to win multiple NCAA singles titles, joining Patty Fendick-McCain (1986, 87), Sandra Birch (1989, 91), Laura Granville (2000, 01) and Amber Liu (2003, 04).

Women's water polo

Stanford 2012 Olympic gold medalist Melissa Seidemann was named the 2013 Peter J. Cutino Award winner, the Olympic Club of San Francisco announced Saturday night.

It is the first such honor of Seidemann's career. She was previously a finalist for the award, given annually to the nation's top male and female collegiate water polo player, in 2011.

Seidemann is Stanford's third straight Cutino Award winner and fifth overall, joining Kiley Neushul (2012), Annika Dries (2011), Jackie Frank (2003) and Brenda Villa (2002).

Women's crew

Stanford lightweight rowing's I Eight made it four national championships in a row Sunday, capturing the IRA Championships Grand Final with a four-second victory over the field at Lake Natoma.

The Cardinal jumped out to a quick lead and took the championship with a fine wire-to-wire performance. After 500 meters the Cardinal lead was one second, and a sustained push increased the lead to two and a half seconds by the 1,000-meter mark and to three seconds with 500 meters to go.

Over those final 500 meters the Cardinal boat out-pushed its competition, crossing the line in 6:47.68, just under four seconds ahead of second-place Harvard.

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