It’s tough enough just running in an NCAA final; it’s even more so when you can’t see what’s in front of you. The rain fell so heavy during the 100 it was difficult for the runners to find the finish line, let alone the competitors to the left or right.
Aleia Hobbs was the favorite coming in, and the LSU senior only solidified that with her 10.91 in semi III, the No. 4 collegiate time ever and a low-altitude meet record. In the first semi Tennessee’s Shania Collins, coming on strong in her senior year (her PR when the year began was just 11.34), had run a lifetime best 10.98 to become the =No. 5 collegian ever in equaling the meet’s fastest prelim ever.
Prevailing wind conditions dictated that the loaded final—5 of the 8 contestants having posted sub-11 seasonal bests—would be switched to the backstretch and start in front of the south end of the East Grandstand, much to the delight of the fans on that side… and distress of those in the West.
Hobbs was the clear favorite in lane 5, but she still had to contend with Collins on her left in 4 and USC’s Deanna Hill on her right in 6. This was an important race for the team standings, as USC also had super-frosh Twanisha Terry in 8, while LSU also had defending champ Mikiah Brisco in 2. The remainder of the field consisted of Auburn’s duo of Jonielle Smith in 1 & Natalliah Whyte in 7 and Oregon’s Ariana Washington in 3.
With the rain pouring down, Hobbs and Whyte had the best starts, but it was Hobbs’s race after 20m. Never challenged, she pulled away from the field to win comfortably in 11.01, a time that surely would have been in the low 10.9s or high 10.8s had the rain not come down in a deluge. Still, it was the No. 9 performance in meet history.
Hobbs related how the rain had affected her race. “We first walked out in the rain and it started hitting me, and it was cold. But I had to just try and tell myself, ‘Everybody’s feeling the same,’ and I just tried not to think about the weather. The rain was coming down harder than I expected. So, the whole race I really couldn’t see anything. I was just running. I couldn’t even see where the finish line was at, and I just kept running until I was like, OK I guess I’m done.”
Whyte (11.24) was a clear 2nd, while Terry got important team points for the Trojans, edging Smith and Collins for 3rd, 11.39–11.40–11.41. Brisco finished 6th in 11.44, just ahead of Hill’s 11.45 and 7th-place points and Washington in 8th.
NCAA WOMEN’S 100 RESULTS
FINAL (June 09; wind –0.7)
1. Aleia Hobbs (LSU) 11.01 (x, 9 NCAA);
2. **Natalliah Whyte’ (Aub) 11.24;
3. ***Twanisha Terry (USC) 11.39;
4. Jonielle Smith’ (Aub) 11.40;
5. Shania Collins (Tn) 11.41;
6. Mikiah Brisco (LSU) 11.44;
7. Deanna Hill (USC) 11.45;
8. *Ariana Washington (Or) 11.50.
SEMIS (June 07)
I(1.5)–1. Collins 10.98 PR (=5, =5 NCAA) (=fastest NCAA prelim);
2. Washington 11.08; 3. Terry 11.08;
4. ***Celera Barnes (Ky) 11.19 (=fastest NCAA non-qualifier);
5. ***Jasmin Reed (Or) 11.24; 6. *Gabby Thomas (Harv) 11.26; 7. Leya Buchanan’ (Ok) 11.38; 8. **Rebekah Smith (Clem) 11.41.
II(3.1)–1. Hill 11.17w; 2. Brisco 11.18w;
3. ***Ka’Tia Seymour (FlSt) 11.18w; 4. **Cassondra Hall (LSU) 11.19w; 5. **Angie Annelus (USC) 11.28w; 6. *Caitland Smith (ArSt) 11.46w; 7. ***Tamara Clark (Al) 11.50w; 8. **Jada Baylark (Ar) 11.51w.
III(0.0)–1. Hobbs 10.91 (x, 4 C; 2, 2 NCAA) (lo-alt MR);
2. Whyte’ 11.11; 3. Smith’ 11.11 PR;
4. *Ashley Henderson (SDi) 11.23; 5. **Brianne Bethel’ (Hous) 11.32; 6. *Teahna Daniels (Tx) 11.34; 7. Brittany Brown (Ia) 11.51; 8. *Kianna Gray (Ky) 11.73.