Gay serves notice that he's not just a 100 man
The result was sensational.
Gay was timed in 19.93 seconds in the semifinal round Thursday night, the fastest time in the world this year and third-fastest in the history of the NCAA track and field championships.
''I feel like I'm in the `19' club now,'' Gay said. ''I'm pretty satisfied.''
The senior's performance gave Arkansas the world's two fastest times in the event in 2005.
Gay's teammate Wallace Spearmon ran 19.97 in April. Both will be in Saturday's finals, part of a powerful field that includes freshmen sensations Xavier Carter of LSU and Walter Dix of Florida State.
''I didn't expect to run that fast, but when I did, that's the first thing I thought about I've got the school record back,'' Gay said.
Carter, who beat Gay and Spearmon at the Southeastern Conference championships and Mideast Regional, was second-fastest in the semis at 20.14 and Dix third at 20.18. Spearmon, who broke the American indoor 200 record in the NCAA championships in March, has been bothered by a sore right knee and was the fourth-fastest qualifier at 20.31.
Gay, a senior, isn't competing in the 100 in the NCAA meet because he was disqualified by a false start in the Mideast Regional.
''I was motivated a lot,'' he said. ''I was motivated for the four-by-one (400 relay) yesterday and that motivation carried over to the 200.''
Arkansas, two-time defending men's team champion, has three runners in Saturday night's 200 finals.
Another freshman, Shalonda Solomon of South Carolina, led qualifiers for the finals in the women's 200 at 22.82 seconds. Charlette Greggs of Miami was second fastest at 22.85, just ahead of Tremedia Brice of Texas Southern (22.90).
Kenyan Robert Cheseret of Arizona, the defending NCAA 5,000 champion, passed Oregon freshman Galen Rupp with just over a lap to go to win the 10,000 in 28:20.11. Rupp, who set the pace almost from the start, was second at 28:23.75. Peter Kosgei of Arkansas, also a Kenyan and the favorite in the 3,000 steeplechase, was third at 28:39.29.
Rupp, 19, is the personal project of former U.S. marathon great Alberto Salazar.
''My only chance to win was to run hard,'' Rupp said. ''I don't have the fastest kick, so I tried to take the kick out of them.''
The UCLA women saw their hopes for a repeat team title fade when defending champion Chelsea Johnson passed on her first two heights, then missed three times at 13-1½ in the qualifying round of the pole vault. Johnson set the collegiate record at 15-0 last year.
Texas, the women's team favorite, got a second-place finish from Marshevet Hooker in the long jump at 21-8. Sophomore Tianna Madison of Tennessee, the reigning indoor champion, won the event at 21-10¼.
Australian Fabrice Lapierre of Texas A&M won the men's long jump, going a wind-aided 26 feet, 9 inches on his final attempt, 1½ feet farther than he'd gone in any of his first four jumps. Oliver Koenig of Iowa State was second with a wind-legal 26-3, also on his final jump.
Sara Slattery of Colorado pulled away from Caroline Bierbaum of Columbia to win the women's 10,000 in 33:02.21. Two-time defending champion Alicia Craig of Stanford, never fully recovered from post-concussion syndrome after falling from a bunk bed ladder last fall, withdrew from the race with 11 laps to go.
Trey Hardee of Texas held off Mustafa Abdur-Rahim of Dartmouth to win the decathlon. Hardee had 7,881 points to 7,739 for Abdur-Rahim.
''After last night, I was so down and I thought I was out of it,'' Hardee said. ''I ended yesterday well in the 400 and I just kicked it off with the 110 hurdles. I had a lifetime best, and then went over to the discus and had a lifetime best in that. It was the hurdles that really set it off.''
Even without its usual anchor Olympian Jonathan Johnson who had just finished the 800 semifinals Texas Tech ran the fastest men's 1,600-meter relay in the world this year at 3:01.69 in the preliminary round, topping the 3:01.91 by the U.S. ''Red'' squad at the Texas Relays in April.