O’Brien A Hit In Hurdles And With Fans
Two meet records fell at Friday night’s 21st Vandal Indoor track meet in the Kibbie Dome.
But, as it has been for the past seven or eight years, the cheers and autograph requests were once again primarily aimed at home-town star Dan O’Brien.
A crowd of nearly 2,000 showed up to see the decathlon world-record holder clock one of his fastest times ever in the 55-meter hurdles (7.20) while shuttling back and forth to the high jump (he cleared 6-10-3/4 for fifth place) and also taking second in the 55-meter dash (6.37).
O’Brien has beaten former Olympic gold-medalist Roger Kingdom in two recent meets, and kept up the torrid pace by winning his fifth Vandal Indoor hurdles title.
“I was looking for a fast time heading into the (U.S. Indoor Championships) at Atlanta,” O’Brien said.
He was pleased with his three misses at 7-1 in the high jump, but concedes that he was rushing his attempts so he could get back to the starting line for the hurdle finals.
O’Brien kidded friend Marieke
Veltman that she inspired him Friday night.
Her 6.97 time in the 55 meters was inspiring, indeed, as it nipped the meet record owned by Eastern Washington’s Joyce Rainwater.
“It was a big surprise for me because I’ve been lifting weights really hard this week,” said Veltman, a heptathlete from UCLA. “I’m surprised I didn’t fall on my face.”
The other meet record was set by Idaho’s 1600 relay team (3:10.75). Vandals football player Kevin Hill led off, followed by Jason St. Hill, Felix Kamangirira and Tawanda Chirwira.
That record, owned by Moscow USA Track Club, had stood for eight years.
A couple other strong efforts in men’s events came from former WSU sprinter Augustin Olobia, who won the 55 in 6.30, and Marc Davis, the American record-holder in the 2-mile, who won the mile in 4:04.98.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the meet was WSU sophomore Leo Slack, a multi-event performer who improved his PR in the high jump by 3 inches with a 6-10 clearance.
“I really wanted to beat Dan, but I ended up tying him, so that was good,” Slack said.
“No, I think I beat you on fewer misses,” O’Brien corrected.
Another impressive time was notched by Margaret Butler of Kajaks Track Club (British Columbia), who clobbered the field in the high school girls’ mile. Her time of 5:06.88 was nearly 20 seconds quicker than second place.