After placing third in the SEC decathlon, he was seeded to finish in the top ten at the national meet. But an outstanding second day, led by strong
performances in the 110m hurdles and pole vault (his main event from high
school) moved him all the way from eleventh to fifth, good enough to score four points for the Bulldogs.
Hardee's MSU teammate, sophomore Tiffany McWilliams from Red Bay, AL, has been one of the nation's star distance runners all season. On Thursday she lived up to her billing as one
of the favorites to win the women's 1500 meter championship. In typical T-Mac fashion,
McWilliams had the fastest prelim time in the field, 4:10.8. That clocking is a
two-second personal best for the sophomore sensation and just two more seconds
off the NCAA meet record. She will compete for the 1500m championship (and perhaps the record) on Saturday.
Alabama's other hopeful for a national crown is Southern Miss high jumper Cedric
Norman. Norman, a 2000 Central-Tuscaloosa graduate, has been consistently over 7 feet
all season, including a 7-3 effort to win the Alabama Relays, a 7-5.25 jump to
win the Conference USA meet, set a new conference and school record, and automatically
qualify for the national meet. Norman was also the Mid-East Regional champion and
yesterday tied with eight other jumpers at 7' 1.25". All nine advance to Saturday's
finals, where Norman will have the top seasonal performance amongst all competitors.
The only athlete who's jumped better than Norman's 7-5.25 this season failed to make
Auburn University senior Tim Green, an Auburn High School graduate, runs a leg of the
Tiger 4x400m relay team. In yesterday's prelims, Green and his teammates won the third
heat in 3:05.08 to qualify for Saturday's finals.
Finally, Pelham High graduate Althea Thomas, now a senior at LSU, ran 1:00.10 in her
400m hurdle prelim race. Though Thomas did not advance to the semifinals with that
time, she may represent Alabama as the only member of a national championship team.
Updated rankings from Trackwire project the Lady Tigers to claim the title in a
five-point victory over Texas, 62 to 57.
Follow Alabama's athletes and the rest of the NCAA action at http://www.hornetsports.com/ncaa/results.asp.