April 6, 2007
Sophomore Rhonda Watkins, the 2007 NCAA Indoor long jump champion and No. 1-ranked jumper in the world leaped out to another top world mark with her win in the "A" section of the long jump on Friday at the Texas Relays in Austin. Watkins posted a wind-aided mark of 22-0.25 (6.71m/+3.0 wind) to win the event, out-distancing her nearest competitor by nearly two feet. The mark also set a new Myers Stadium record and Texas Relays meet record. She now holds the top wind-aided mark and non-wind-aided mark in the world this year.
Watkins remains the No. 1 jumper in the NCAA this season and maintains her No. 3 spot all-time at UCLA.
I did not know that [about setting the meet record]," said Watkins. "I cannot even describe how I feel. I am so happy. This is my first time at this meet. I really wanted to come out here and jump well because I knew this was a big meet."
"Rhonda jumped 22-0.25 in cold weather, which no jumper likes, especially someone from Trinidad," said jumps coach Mike Powell. "I was unable to be with the team in Austin and in the middle of her competition, she had to go run on a 4x100m relay. Considering all of the distractions throughout the meet, I couldn't be more proud of her.
"She's doing what I want her to do. She's competing well when the conditions aren't great and she does what she needs to do to jump well. I couldn't be more happy or excited for the upcoming months of competition."
The Bruins also had two more victories on Friday as senior Jacqueline Nguyen won the "B" pole vault and junior Renee Williams won the "B" long jump. Nguyen equaled her season-best with a mark of 13-3.50, while Williams jumped just ½ inch shy of her season-best with a mark of 20-3.75 (wind +4.0).
Also in the "B" pole vault, junior Megan Jamerson finished fifth with a mark of 12-5.50.
Junior Keneisha Creary, competing in her first meet since the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships in early March, picked up her NCAA regional qualifier in the high jump (5-10.75) to finish fourth overall. Creary has not jumped lower then 5-10.75 in any meet this year.
In the triple jump, junior Nicole Duhart placed 11th with a mark of 40-3.50. The 4x100m relay team won heat two and finished 11th overall in a time of 45.61.
The 4x400m relay team finished second in heat five and fifth overall to advance to Saturday's final. The team's time of 3:37.48 was over a two-second improvement on the season and one of the top-15 marks in the nation this year.
In the sprint medley relay, the Bruins finished second in section two and 10th overall in a time of 4:00.09.
On Saturday, the Bruins will compete in the 4x200m and distance medley relay races. Ingrid Kantola will compete in the "A" section of the pole vault and Ashley Caldwell and Allie Bohannon will run in the "A" section of the 1500m.