UI's Ridley captures All-America honors
BOISE, Idaho – Illinois sophomore Babatunde Ridley finished seventh in the long jump Thursday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, leaping 24 feet, 71/2 inches to claim All-America honors.
Ridley, who placed second May 23 at the Big Ten meet, was unable to compete in the event all last season while recovering from a back injury.
In 1997, Ridley earned indoor All-America honors as a freshman by finishing seventh. He qualified for the outdoor meet that year and earned 14th.
"I'm very happy for Tunde," UI coach Gary Wieneke said. "He really had to battle through some tough times over the last year and a half. This was a great way to end the season and should give him confidence for the future."
In the women's shot put, UI senior Collinus Newsome took ninth with a toss of 51-93/4. Senior Stacy Ann Grant placed 10th in the high jump, leaping 5-111/4.
"Collinus and Stacy Ann didn't necessarily post their best marks tonight, but they still end their careers as champions," Illini coach Gary Winckler said. "They epitomize what Illinois track and field is all about after combining for eight Big Ten titles and 10 All-America honors over the last five years."
Illini junior Kerry Ann Richards earned a spot in today's 100-meter semifinals, clocking 11.44 seconds in her heat. Sophomore Aleisha Latimer did not advance in the 100, running an 11.62 in Richards' heat.
Sophomore Sherman Armstrong advanced to the semifinals of the 110 hurdles, finishing fifth in his prelim in 13.94.
UI senior Bobby True is competing today in the 800 finals.
Thursday's winners included Tennessee's Tom Pappas in the decathlon with 8,184 points, SMU's Kajsa Bergqvist in the women's high jump at 6-23/4, UCLA's Seilalu Sua in the women's shot put at 57-9 and Leigh Daniel of Texas Tech in the women's 10,000 meters in 34 minutes, 1.63 seconds.
Pappas led virtually throughout the decathlon despite being hobbled by a tender hamstring and a bruised heel. He won four of the 10 events: the shot put at 50-51/2, the high jump at 7-01/2, the 110 hurdles in 14.24 and the javelin at 211-4.
Kansas State's Attila Zsivoczky also surpassed the 8,000-point barrier, finishing second with 8,129.
Bergqvist, the 1997 high jump champion, regained the title after finishing second last year. She and Dora Gyorffy of Harvard each cleared 6-23/4, but Bergqvist, a 1996 Swedish Olympian, won on fewer misses.
Daniel fell nearly a half-lap back early in the 10,000 when she had to stop and put her shoe back on. Gradually, she worked her way back into contention and surged into the lead with two laps remaining.