June 8, 2012
Turquoise Thompson might have finished second in the 400m hurdles at the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive season, but the junior All-American did so in impressive fashion as she ran the No. 16 mark in the world this year on Friday in Des Moines, IA.
Thompson was the top qualifier out of the semifinal heats and was running out of lane five in the final. She was running even with LSU's Cassandra Tate for most of the race, but took a slight lead going into the 10th hurdle. Tate was able to move into a slight lead over the Bruin down the stretch. Thompson gave it her all as she dove across the finish line in the hopes of securing first, but ended up second by .06 seconds. Last year, she finished in second-place by .004 seconds. She earns first-team All-America honors with her second-place finish.
Thompson ran a new lifetime-best of 55.28 in today's final, a huge PR for the junior who came into the meet with a previous career-best of 55.53. That times ranks fifth on the 2012 USATF outdoor list and 16th in the world this season. Her time also moves her from eighth to seventh all-time in conference history.
"I am so proud of Turquoise," said Head Coach Jeanette Bolden. "She gave it her ultimate best. If you are going to place second, then you are going to place second by doing your best and she did that. She was having a lot of problems over the last few weeks with cramping and hasn't really run a lot this season. For her to come out here and run the way she did today shows nothing but Bruin Pride. Winners don't always come in first-place and today she showed that. TQ had one of the best hurdle races I have ever seen her run and I'm so proud of her.
"Overall, I am very proud of our team. We have a very young team and for all three of our individual competitors to score at this meet is a great thing. We knew it would be a little hard on our team finish when we held Turquoise out of the 4x400m, but we wanted her to be at her best today and it shows we made the right decision by her performance in the hurdles final. Last year, we scored eight points and this year we nearly doubled that and that shows we are working our way back to what is expected of our team.
"I'm especially proud of Kylie Price. She was the only freshman in the long jump final and she showed so much grace under pressure. To come into a meet this big and jump a personal-best is huge.
"Ida Storm bounced back from a disappointing showing last season and placed fifth this year. She fought through a lot of nerves and it's great to see her get that All-American honor."
The women's team totaled 14 points at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships. They have no athletes competing on Saturday and their team finish will be updated after completion of the meet then.