BOISE, Idaho -- For the second straight year, Stanford runners finished 1-2-3 in the 10,000 meters, helping their team take the early lead in the NCAA men's track championships.
Senior Nathan Nutter won the event in 29 minutes, 11.96 seconds with a burst in the final yards, and teammates Jason Balkman and Brent Hauser were right behind him.Stanford, runnerup to Arkansas last year, moved into first place with 24 points, 11 ahead of Auburn. The Cardinal also led after the first day of last year's championships.
Finals were scheduled Thursday in the women's shot put, men's long jump, women's high jump and women's 10,000 meters. Competition on the Boise State University track continues through Saturday night.
Abdi Abdirahman of Arizona came into the race with the fastest time this season in the 10,000 meters and led the first two-thirds of the race. But the Stanford runners stayed close, burst into the lead in the final laps and won going away.
Pittsburgh's Trecia Smith wons her seventh national track and field title, but wanted to talk more about her upcoming events than winning the long jump.
She competes Friday in the triple jump and Friday and Saturday in the heptathlon.
She had no problems Wednesday, winning her second outdoor long jump championship with a leap of of 21 feet, 8 1/4 inches.
Florence Ezeh of Southern Methodist won the women's hammer with a toss of 207-2.
The LSU women's team, which saw a string of 11 straight championships broken by Texas last year, saw its chances fall when the 400-meter relay team dropped the baton on the first exchange and didn't finish, failing to qualify.
A freshman who has been in the United States only since January, Auburn's Gabor Mate won the discus at 202-1, and immediately pronounced himself "the happiest man in the world."
Mate, a native of Hungary, said it was the first time he'd ever won against major competition.
SMU, Kansas State and Pittsburgh held the first-day lead in the women's competition with 10 points each.
BIG 5 UPDATE
BRIGHAM YOUNG: Ten BYU tracksters survived to see another day at the 1999 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, while two BYU long jumpers competed in finals action on Wednesday.
Kirstin Bolm recorded a 10th-place finish in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, 03.5 inches. Teammate Alicia Brimhall finished 12th with a mark of 20-00.5.
Though BYU has yet to score in women's action, five other Cougars advanced to final-round action following performances on Wednesday. Maggie Chan (9 minutes, 34.73 seconds), Sharolyn Shields (9:38.33), Lindsay Jones (9:38.82) and Tara Haynes (9:39.73) each advanced in the 3,000 meters, with the finals taking place Friday
Treva Bryant finished third in her heat with a time of 2:07.64 to advance to the 800-meter finals, also on Friday.
In men's action, speedsters Leonard Myles-Mills and Kenneth Andam advanced to the semifinals in the 200-meters with times of 20.93 and 21.24, respectively.
Andam also teamed with Thobias Akwenye, Slad Combs and Clayton Patch to record the top time in the 4x100-meter relay semifinals. The top-ranked BYU men's relay team will compete for the national title Friday evening.
UTAH STATE: Utah State's Corey Murdock advanced to the finals of the 400-meter hurdles here by finishing second in his heat and third overall with a time of 50.21.
Meanwhile, Jane Durfey finished her season by placing 11th in the women's 400-meter hurdles with a time of 58.42, which was good enough for third in her heat.
Murdock entered the championship meet ranked third in the country with a season-best of 49.55, which was set in Boise earlier this year. He has finished in the top 10 in the country the last two years in the 400m hurdles, including a fourth-place finish last year. The finals of the men's 400m hurdles will be Friday evening.
Utah State will also have two other athletes competing Saturday at the NCAA Championships: sophomore Shae Jones-Bair in the pole vault and fellow sophomore James Parker in the hammer throw.
SOUTHERN UTAH: Southern Utah's Natalie Gibson qualified for the finals in the women's 400-meter hurdles. She placed third in her heat and had the eighth-best time of the three qualifying heats with a time of 58.04.
Gibson will run in the final Friday evening. If she places sixth or higher, she will become SUU's first-ever track All-American.
The senior qualified for the NCAA meet by running the 18th-best time in the nation April 16 (57.78), at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational in Claremont, Calif. The time broke her own school record by just under one second (0:00.98) and was the fastest time recorded in the Mid-Continent Conference this season. She finished second at the Mid-Con Championships last month.