Hooker posts fastest 100-meter time of year at Texas
AUSTIN, Texas -- Marshevet Hooker keeps putting up fast times and winning races.
And with another victory in the 100 meters Saturday at the Texas Relays, the Texas junior cranked up her pursuit of another NCAA championship.
Hooker posted the fastest women's 100 in the world this year at 11.13 seconds, holding off LSU's Kelly Ann Baptiste by one-hundredth of a second.
Hooker won the NCAA 100 in 2005. Her second race of 2006 came on a sunny but windy day, and the breeze died down just long enough to give Hooker a chance to set the early world standard for this season.
"I'm trying to get the job done to get another championship," said Hooker, who also won the indoor national title in the 60 last month. "It's going to take everything clicking. Whoever wants it the most, that's who it's going to be."
Texas dominated its home event last year, using it as the launching pad for the NCAA team title. The Longhorns put on another strong showing but not quite the same overall performance, winning three individual events and two relays over four days.
Three of them came Saturday. Melaine Walker got things started by winning the 400 hurdles in 54.87.
Running in lane 5, Walker cruised through the front stretch into the headwind, then held off Miami's Dominique Darden, who briefly held the lead, over the last 70 meters.
"I didn't have a strategy today because of the wind. I just let it take me in," she said. "I felt the girl from Miami next to me. I felt I got her."
The Longhorns followed that by turning in the fastest time in the world this year in the 400 relay in 42.80.
Texas seized control of the race on the second leg by freshman Alexandria Anderson. She gave the baton to Walker before Hooker took a sizable lead into the anchor leg and cruised to the finish line well ahead of second-place LSU (43.38).
But the Longhorns also skipped some events they might have won. Hooker, the NCAA indoor champion in the long jump, didn't jump at this meet.
The Longhorns also skipped the 800 relay, which LSU won with a time of 1:32.70, and faded badly to a sixth-place finish in the 1,600 relay, won by Miami in 3:28.07.
Texas women's coach Bev Kearney said she uses the Texas Relays as the first step in a season-long building process for the NCAAs. Her team's home event is one of the first major outdoor meets of the year and a perfect gauge for where the Longhorns need work.
"No one anticipated the national championship last year," Kearney said. "We're more of a target this year."
On the men's side, LSU's Kelly Willie won the men's 100 in a wind-aided 10.18, sneaking past Florida A&M's Chris Hargrett (10.24).
Jackson State's Michael Tinsley set a meet record in the men's university 400 hurdles at 48.70, smashing the mark of 49.20 set by Southern Illinois' David Lee in 1981. Tinsley finished third at last year's NCAA championships, and his time was the fastest by an American this year.
Eric Brown of Arkansas won the men's javelin with a toss of 245 feet, 10 inches, the best collegiate mark this year. Lacy Janson of Florida State won the women's pole vault at 14-7¼.
Also Saturday, Texas officials said men's track coach Bubba Thornton has been selected as the head coach for the U.S. men's squad in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"You're humbled to be part of one of the most elite groups of coaches in the world," Thornton said. "This is good stuff."
A spokeswoman for USA Track & Field wouldn't confirm the appointment.
Thornton, 49, has international experience. He was the head coach for Team USA at the 2003 world outdoor championships, where the team won 19 medals, including nine golds. He also was an assistant coach for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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