March 10, 2007
Allie Bohannon and Ingrid Kantola picked up the first All-American honors of their career on Saturday at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, AR. Bohannon finished second in the mile, while Kantola was fourth in the vault. The Bruins finished seventh overall (23 points) with just three scoring athletes. Arizona State won the meet with 38 points.
Bohannon, who ran the fifth-fastest time in the prelims of the mile on Friday, finished second to Duke's Shannon Rowbury (4:42.17) in a time of 4:43.36. She becomes the first Bruin since Lena Nilsson in 2002 to earn All-American honors in the mile, when Nilsson also finished second in that event.
"I'm so excited about the race," said Bohannon. "Everything felt great. It was a good experience for me because it was the first National meet for me at UCLA. Yesterday's prelim was a similar race as today - I had a comfortable start and got a good feel for the competition. I felt really confident coming into today's race because I knew I could hang with the other girls.
"I think this will be a pretty good springboard for my outdoor experience," added Bohannon. "I hope to continue on from here and build on what I was able to do during the indoor season."
"First of all, I'm so proud of the effort Allie gave today," said distance coach Eric Peterson. "I'm also proud of the effort she's given the whole indoor season. Allie's been so consistent and so competitive and I had a feeling that if she could come in here and treat this meet like every other track meet, then she would be successful.
"I was hopeful today that the race pace would be fast because I know how fit she is," noted Peterson. "They went through at 800m at 2:30, and ended up running 4:43; that just shows you how much the pace went up over the second half of the race. Allie was awesome. She ran the final like a veteran and this is a big accomplishment for her and for our program.
"What I think this will do is give her the perspective she needs (psychologically) to prepare for the outdoor championships. We have to give credit to the Duke runner because she made a big move at a critical time and it surprised Allie, but she was able to recover and respond to close the gap. She needs to race more and have more experience of running in high level races and know how to change gears and move more aggressively and decisively at critical times in the race. This is the first time she's raced in a race like that. Allie will definitely be a factor outdoors, whether she can win is a matter of how much she can learn in the next few months."
Kantola, who was also competing in her first NCAA competition, finished fourth in the vault with a mark of 13-9.25. She came into the meet ranked fourth in the nation with a best vault of 13-10. Kantola cleared 12-7, 13-1, 13-5 and 13-9.25, all on her first attempts, eventually bowing out of the competition with misses at 14-1. Elouise Rudy of Montana State won with a vault of 14-1.25.
I was really excited to get my first All-American honor," said Kantola. "My goal coming into the meet was to finish top-five and jump 14-feet or higher. I finished fourth and that was great, and although I didn't clear 14-feet, I had good attempts at the height and I'm happy.
"I feel like this sets me up really well for outdoor," noted Kantola. "It's a good way to start off - jumping high on big poles, and getting a good feel of going against good competitors. I hope to carry this experience into outdoor nationals and repeat if not finish higher.
"I'm also really proud of how our team performed at the meet. We had just four athletes, three of which scored, and I think that's pretty huge for us to finish so high with such small numbers."
"She was on fire!" said pole vault coach Anthony Curran. "Ingrid hit her first attempts at every bar, and cleared the highest opener of her career at 12-7 on the first attempt. She had the best jumps I could ever expect of her at 14-1 and came really close to clearing the bar. I'm so excited for her and the outdoor season.
"I talked Ingrid into giving up the heptathlon last year to focus on the vault with me because I knew I could make her a Pac-10 finalist, and even an NCAA finalist," added Curran. "It was a tough separation for her, but she committed and today she is reaping the benefits. It's a dream come true."
Bohannon and Kantola join NCAA champion Rhonda Watkins as UCLA's All-Americans for the 2007 Indoor meet. Watkins won the long jump on Friday with a mark of 21-6.75.