Aug. 8, 2005
UCLA alumnae Amy Acuff placed eighth in the women's high jump final, and Bruin senior Monique Henderson (400m) and UCLA alumnae Tracy O'Hara (pole vault) both advanced to their event finals during weekend and Monday competition at the 2005 World Track & Field Championships held at Helsinki, Finland. The championships conclude on Aug. 14.
On Monday, Acuff placed eighth in the final, with a leap of 6-2.25. In weekend qualifying, her mark of 6-3.75 advanced to the final. She's a five-time USA champion and three-time Olympian. The high jump winner was Sweden's Kajsa Bergqvist, with a world-leading mark 6-7.50. Second-place went to USA's Chaunte Howard, with a personal-best 6-6.75 (she's the first American woman to win a world championship high jump medal since 1983).
"I'm really lucky to be here today and to get eighth-place," Acuff said. "I'm one wheel short on the cart this season. It's my take off ankle, a ligament. I thought I could mentally overcome it. It's affecting my run-up and my take-off, so it's been frustrating. But it'll probably work out for me in the long run to probably have kind of a down year and come back next year. I think I would have jumped the same if it were sunny. It's just hard to run."
Henderson, the in-season collegiate record-holder in the 400m who last June in Sacramento won the NCAA Outdoor 400m, will run in Wednesday's 400m final. During Monday's semi-finals, Henderson placed fourth in heat three, and advanced to the final with a mark of 50.73. During Sunday's preliminaries, she advanced to the semis with a time of 51.65.
Following her semifinal race on Monday, Henderson, who won an Olympic Gold Medal on the U. S. 4 X 400m relay at last summer's Athens Olympics, said, "Can't say (what's going to happen Wednesday). I am getting better every round. I'm excited to be in the finals." On Sunday, O'Hara, the runnerup at the 2005 U. S. meet advanced to Wednesday's pole vault final, by clearing 14-5.25 in prelims. Also on the weekend, Seilala Sua, a four-time U. S. champion and two-time Olympian, failed to advance to Tuesday's discus final, with a mark of 189-3 in qualifying.
On Tuesday, Bruin greats Michelle Perry and Joanna Hayes will run in the 100m hurdle qualifying rounds. Perry, the 2005 U. S. Champion and Hayes, the 2004 Olympic Gold Medal winner, are 1-2 in the world (Perry 12.44/Hayes 12.47). The semis are on Wednesday and the final on Thursday.