FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Felisha Johnson claimed her second national championship in three years as she closed out her 2013 Indoor season claiming the 2013 NCAA National title in the women’s weight throw Friday and breaking the school record twice during the process.
Men’s action for Indiana State also began Friday with Sycamore junior Greggmar Swift advancing to the finals of the 60 meter hurdles.
“Fe did a tremendous job today,” Angela Martin, Indiana State women’s track & field coach, said. “She really composed herself and had some great throws enroute to winning her second NCAA championship in the weight.”
Johnson won the NCAA title in 2011 but finished fourth a year ago. This year she was determined to reclaim the crown against some of the top throwers in the nation.
Five of the six throws by the Sycamore senior were over 70-feet as she dominated the completion. Johnson, who had set the Indiana State record twice already this season, set the new mark for the third time with her third throw of the competition when she went 76-feet-8.5-inches (23.38 meters).
But she was not done yet.
Johnson’s next throw went 76-feet (23.06 meters) and her fifth 72-feet-1.75-inches (21.99 meters). She saved the best for last, breaking the school record for the fourth time this season and winning the competition with a throw of 77-feet-2-inches (23.52 meters).
“One of the neat facts about Fe winning today is that this is the 10-year anniversary of Coach (Erin) Gilreath winning the NCAA title,” Martin said. “We are all so happy for her.”
Beth Rohl of Michigan State finished second with her best throw going 73-feet-2.5-inches (22.31). Brittany Waller of Clemson was third at 70-feet-10-inches (21.59 meters) with Chelsea Cassulo of Arizona State fourth at 69-feet-8-inches (21.23 meters). Illinois State’s Brittany Smith was fifth at 69-feet-7.5-inches (21.22 meters).
Johnson’s winning throw is the fifth best in collegiate history and gives the Missouri Valley Conference three of the top five collegiate marks.
Three of the top four marks were established at the NCAA Indoors in previous years led by former Southern Illinois thrower Brittany Riley who posted the top mark of 83-feet-10.25-inches (25.56 meters) at the 2007 Championship. Candice Scott of Florida threw 79-feet-3.75-inches (24.17 meters) at the 2005 Championship while Jenny Dahgren of Georgia went 78-feet-10.5-inches (24.04 meters) at the 2006 Championship. Former Southern Illinois athlete Jeneva McCall went 77-feet-10.5-inches (23.76 meters) during the 2012 season.
Johnson will seek her second national title of the championships on Saturday when goes in the women’s shot put starting at 5 p.m. (ET).
Indiana State’s Greggmar Swift began his quest for the NCAA title in the 60 meter hurdles by running 7.72 in the first heat and advanced to Saturday’s finals. Swift was fourth in the opening heat and has the seventh fastest time overall heading into the finals which will be run at 7:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday.
“Greggmar was a little close to the first hurdle which caused him to be a little high and caused hurdle two to be a little slow,” John McNichols, Indiana State men’s track & field coach, said. “He regained his rhythm on three and raced out very well. He came in seeded sixth and is sitting seventh heading into the finals which is a good position to race the field on Saturday.”
Florida junior Eddie Lovett posted the fastest time in the preliminaries at 7.53 to win the second heat. Clemson senior Spencer Adams won the opening heat in 7.62. Texas senior Keiron Stewart, who beat Swift at the Tyson Invitational earlier this season, is third at 7.63.
The rest of Saturday’s final will have California senior Ray Stewart (7.68), Texas A&M junior Wayne Davis II (7.68), Kentucky senior Keith Hayes (7.69), and Oregon sophomore Johnathan Cabral (7.73).
Sycamore Brandon Pounds will be in the competition on Saturday as he begins his quest for an NCAA title in the men’s weight throw at 3 p.m. (ET) Saturday.