June 14, 2008
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DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa seniors Tammilee Kerr and Kineke Alexander became the third and fourth Hawkeyes to earn All-American honors Saturday on the final day of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field National Championships inside Drake Stadium.
A gutsy effort in the 800-meter run allowed Kerr to place eighth in the heptathlon. Kerr used a monster second day to amass 2,447 points in three events and move up 10 spots after the first four events. Kerr finished with a career-best point total of 5,633.
“I had an 800 workout in practice last week and Coach said my times were fast enough to go out quickly,” Kerr said. “I decided to go out and stick with the pack as best I could.”
The fifth and sixth events of the heptathlon put Kerr in position for All-American honors. She placed 11th in the long jump (19-feet-6) and had the best throw in the javelin (155-8) for a combined 1,642 points which put her ninth overall with just the 800 remaining. Kerr trailed Annett Wichmann of Hawaii-Manoa by seven points heading into the final event.
Wichmann raced behind Kerr for the first 600 meters before closing strong to finish fourth overall in 2:19.18. Kerr was seventh in the event with a career-best 2:21.38 — good enough for her first All-American honor.
“The heptathlon in general is just grueling,” Kerr said. “It shows the best of the athletes because you have seven events and you have to take them one at a time.”
Kerr was disappointed in her first event — the 100 hurdles Friday — because it put her in a hole and she spent the rest of the competition digging out.
“Unfortunately I had a mishap in the hurdles which probably cost me a top five finish,” Kerr said. “I had to rally back and do the best I could in events to make up points.”
Alexander became an eight-time All-American in the 400 dash by finishing eighth in 52.53-seconds. Alexander was a four-time All-American during the indoor season and matched that by becoming a four-time All-American during the outdoor season.
Iowa crowned four different individual women’s track and field All-Americans in three events. Joining Alexander and Kerr are seniors Meghan Armstrong and Racheal Marchand, who were sixth and eighth in the 10,000 run Thursday evening.
“It was an all-around solid weekend,” said Layne Anderson, UI women’s head track and field coach. “We were competitive in everything we did.”
Kerr missed the All-American awards-stand presentation for the heptathlon because she was scheduled to throw in the javelin finals a mere minutes after the completion of the 800 race. Kerr passed on her first and third attempts in the javelin and finished 12th with a distance of 143-6.
“I didn’t see the point because my legs were so tired (from the heptathlon) and I was having problems with my run-up,” Kerr said.
Renee White finished 11th in the triple jump final with a leap of 43-4 ¼.
The Iowa women scored six points and shared 43rd place with Georgia Tech and Nebraska.
“I don’t think our placing at nationals was indicative of how well we performed during the championships,” Anderson said.
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