Carl Blackhurst of Haines fell short of his national championship dreams, but the Adams State University senior did finish second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase event at the NCAA Division II national championships held Friday night in Edwardsville, Ill.
Blackhurst, who was the top-seeded runner entering the national meet, couldn't stop Central Missouri State's Vladimir Golias from claiming his fourth national championship in the event. Golias, who competed for Russia in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, became just the second four-time event-winner in NCAA Division II meet history.
Blackhurst covered the 7 1/2-lap course, which features barriers and water jumps, in 8 minutes, 50.62 seconds, the fastest time Blackhurst has ever posted in a national championship meet but slower than his seed time of 8:42.93 from a meet at Stanford on May 13. Golias won the event in 8:44.02.
Despite missing out on a national championship, Blackhurst did earn his seventh NCAA Division II track or cross-country running all-American honor with his performance. Blackhurst has earned four all-American honors for the steeplechase and three for cross-country running. Blackhurst finished fifth in the steeplechase last year, despite a foot injury that sidelined him most of the season, and he was third in 1999.
Blackhurst is scheduled to compete in the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships that will be held June 21-24 in Eugene, Ore.
Syracuse University junior Rachael Kirchhoff of Juneau was a member of her school's varsity eight boat as it claimed sixth place in the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships on Saturday at Lake Lanier, Ga. The sixth-place finish was the best ever for Syracuse at the NCAA championship meet. Syracuse covered the course in 7 minutes, 19.56 seconds. The University of Washington won the race in 7:04.00, followed by Brown in 7:05.30 and Michigan in 7:08.40. Kirchhoff was also a member of Syracuse's varsity eight boat last year when it finished ninth in the NCAA national championships.
Oregon State University junior Andy Dietrick of Juneau will compete with his school's second varsity eight boat this weekend in the International Rowing Association's men's national collegiate championships, which will take place Thursday through Saturday in Camden, N.J. This is the first year Oregon State has sent three eight-man boats to the national championships, and Dietrick said he's been rowing in the five seat of the second varsity eight all season. All three OSU boats -- the varsity eight, second varsity eight and freshman eight -- took third place behind California and Washington at the the Pac 10 championships on May 13.
Long Beach State University sophomore left-handed pitcher Chad Bentz of Juneau is featured in a pre-draft article called, "The next Jim Abbott?" on Major League Baseball's official Web site, http://www.mlb.com. Bentz, whose 49ers were eliminated from the NCAA Division I national championships last weekend, is eligible for the amateur baseball draft which will take place June 5-6 in New York City. Bentz, who was selected in the 34th round by the New York Yankees two years ago, posted a 2-3 record with one save and a 7.42 ERA this year with the 49ers, striking out 62 batters in 60 2/3 innings.
The Juneau Empire's College Corner feature is compiled by sports editor Charles Bingham from college Web sites and tips from local coaches and readers. College Corner runs about once a month during the school year. If you know of a college athlete from Southeast Alaska who should be included in a future College Corner feature, please fax the information to 1-907-586-3028 (attention sports) or you can e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org (please no text attachments).
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