Jeshua Anderson, center, nails third NCAA championship title in intermediate hurdles ahead of Stanford’s Amaechi Morton, left. Photo courtesy of WSU Athletics
 
 
DES MOINES, Iowa — Washington State’s Jeshua Anderson won the men’s 400m hurdles Friday at the NCAA Track & Field Outdoor Championships.
 
This marks his third NCAA title in four years, and his second NCAA title at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, where he won in 2008.
 
After a 60-minute delay because of lightening in the area, Anderson ran the race on a wet track with light rain, clocking a time of 48.56 seconds. Stanford’s Amaechi Morton took second with 49.08 seconds.
 
Only one faster
Anderson, from Woodland Hills, Calif., came into the competition with the national-leading and fifth-best intermediate hurdles time in the world this year at 48.13 seconds. Only one man has run this event faster, South Africa’s L.J. vanZyl.
 
In the NCAA final race Friday evening, the soft-spoken Cougar senior took the lead from the starting gun and motored through the 10 hurdles with his trademark smooth and consistent pace. He easily out-distanced Morton in the final sprint to the line.
 
The four-time Pacific-10 Conference 400m hurdles champion, Anderson won his first NCAA title in 2008 as a freshman and repeated in 2009, but was the NCAA runner-up in 2010.
 
Dan O’Brien interviewer
Anderson spoke with former Cougar volunteer assistant coach, decathlon world champion and Olympian Dan O’Brien immediately after the race for the television broadcast. 
 
“The big thing was to stay focused,” Anderson said. “Last year we did a little different training. I came here focused. The track was wet, and there was the delay, but I’m blessed with the time and thankful for another title. I wanted to run faster, but within the conditions I’m thankful.”
 
Coach’s perspective
“Jeshua wasn’t bothered by the rain delay probably because the same thing happened to him at the U.S. Junior Championships (in 2008 at Columbus, Ohio) his freshman year,” Cougar hurdles coach Mark Macdonald said.
 
“He isn’t really fazed by this kind of thing probably because he knows he’s better at recovering and warming up faster than anybody else. He was not rattled at all, just confident the whole time.
 
“The entire week he was very professional in how he handled the wind of the qualifying round and then the wet conditions today. The past few weeks he’s had the added pressure of agents telling him that another NCAA win would mean so much money for his professional career. And he did a great job of managing that factor too,” said Macdonald.
 
In and elite class
Only four men have won four NCAA titles in the same event and now 44 men have won an NCAA Championships event three times. Anderson joins former Washington State greats and three-time winners:
Gerry Lindgren (three-mile run 1966-67-68, and six-mile run 1966-67-68)
John van Reenan (discus 1968-69-70)
John Ngeno (six-mile run 1974-75-76).
 
Two men have won the NCAA intermediate hurdles three times: Ralph Mann of BYU (1969-70-71) and Danny Harris of Iowa State (1984-85-86). Mann was a double Cougar: at BYU as an undergraduate and he received his doctorate degree in biomechanics at Washington State in 1976, later authoring instructional books about sprinting, hurdling and golf.
 
Coach grateful for opportunity
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to have Jeshua Anderson on our track and field team for the past four years,” WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. “He exemplifies everything we want from a student-athlete. I’m happy for Mark Macdonald and the work that he’s put in with Jesh to get him to this point. I look forward to watching Jesh in the Olympic Games hopefully.”
 
Anderson plans to compete at the USA National Championships in Eugene, June 23-26, and will continue training over the next year in order to pursue a place on the 2012 Olympic team.
 
 

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