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MSU's McBride wins NCAA title

 

From Special Reports

 

EUGENE, Ore. -- Brandon McBride is an NCAA champion times two. 

 

On Friday evening in front of a national TV audience on ESPNU and a raucous crowd at historic Hayward Field, Mississippi State's McBride won his second NCAA title after holding off Florida's Ryan Schnulle. 

 

McBride, a sophomore from Windsor, Ontario, posted a time of 1 minute, 46.26 seconds in the 800 meters, the second-fastest time of his career. 

 

"Awesome. Just awesome. Not only for Brandon, but for Mississippi State," MSU coach Steve Dudley said. "What a great day to be a Bulldog." 

 

In March, McBride won the indoor crown before taking top honors at the SEC Championships back in May. He entered Friday's showdown undefeated this year and ranked No. 1 nationally. 

 

"I know the SEC is such a strong conference, and I knew coming in there would be a lot of SEC competitors the last 80 meters," McBride said. "I just thank God I had enough to hold Ryan off. It means a lot to me I could bring an outdoor national title to Mississippi State. It's so prestigious. I'm so thankful. You run for what's on your chest, not for yourself. 

 

"I new coming in having already won the indoor title, it gave me some confidence, but it added pressure, too. It put a big target on my back. I go into every race thinking everyone has an equal chance of winning and that help keeps my nerves down. I run every race as if it's my last race." 

 

Kentucky's Keffri Neal finished third, while Arkansas's Patrick Rono placed fourth. 

 

"Coming down the stretch, I saw the guy from Arkansas on the JumboTron," said McBride, who led from start to finish. "I didn't even see the guy from Florida. When I crossed the finish line, Ryan was right there with me. I was like, 'Oh, hey.' It was close, but like I said, I knew it would be." 

 

Alabama also had a championship day Friday, as freshman Hayden Reed won the discus title on his final throw, joining junior Remona Burchell, who won the 100 championship earlier in the day. 

 

Reed, who redshirted his first season at Alabama, uncorked a throw of 205 feet, 10 inches (62.74 meters) on the last of six throws to beat two-time NCAA champion and collegiate record holder Julian Wruck of UCLA by more than two and a half feet. It was the Orange, Texas native's second best throw of the season. 

 

"That last one was a big one and that's when it needed to be done," Reed said. "After that throw, he (Wruck) still had one to go, that was the longest three minutes of my life." 

 

Reed became just the second freshman in NCAA history to win the outdoor discus title, joining Gabor Mate in 1999. Reed is also the third thrower in Alabama men's history to win an NCAA championship. 

 

In the women's 100 final, even running into the wind, Burchell raced away from the elite field to win the Crimson Tide's first women's NCAA 100 title. 

 

"It was a good start," Burchell said. "I was ahead and just wanted to get to the finish line and stay ahead of the other girls. It was a tough competition and there were fast girls in the final, I was expecting everyone to be coming up from behind me, but I was able to stay in front." 

 

Burchell overcame a strong headwind (3.4 meters per second) to clock a time of 11.25, well ahead of Texas sophomore Morolake Akinosun, who finished runner-up with a time of 11.33, and the rest of the field. 

 

Burchell is the first Alabama woman to win an outdoor national title in any event since Beth Mallory won the discus title in 2005. 

 

The Montego Bay, Jamaica, native adds the outdoor 100 title to her NCAA title in the 60 meters during indoor season, becoming the first Alabama sprinter to win indoor and outdoor titles in the same year. 

 

Burchell has dropped almost three tenths of a second off her personal best in the 100 this year. 

 

On Saturday, Burchell teamed with senior Sarah Thomas, freshman Quanesha Burks and junior Dominique Kimpel to take sixth in the 4x100 relay. 

 

"To get to this point is a blessing in itself," Thomas said. "It was nerve wracking out there today, but we had a good time and had fun. It was our last race of the season together. It was nice to score at the national championships, and really we just took it as it came." 

 

The quartet crossed the line in a time of 44.19. It marked the first times since 2001 that the Crimson Tide made it to the national finals in the 4x100 and Alabama's best finish since 1993 when the Tide was second. 

 

In his second consecutive NCAA Championship appearance, sophomore Imani Brown finished 20th in the triple jump with a leap of 51 feet and .75 inches (15.56 meters). 

 

A dropped baton cost the men's 4x100 relay of senior Alex Sanders, sophomore Dwight Davis, senior Akeem Haynes and senior Diondre Batson a chance at the national title. 

 

"I've been training hard, working on my block start and my technique and listening to what my coach has to say," Burchell said of her improvement this season. 

 

Taking the headwind into consideration, Track Town USA calculated the adjustment to Burchell's winning time of 11.25, had there been no wind, to be a world-leading 10.96. 

 

Sophomore Justin Fondren also made the podium, taking fifth place in the men's high jump with a leap of 7-2 1/2. The Oxford native was 13th in the high jump as a rookie at last year's NCAA Championships.

 

 

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