Alexander, Hooper Capture All-American Honors
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Long Beach State sophomore Willie Alexander and UC Riverside senior Ted Hooper garnered All-American accolades to cap off Thursday’s day two action of the 2014 NCAA Track & Field Championships at the University of Oregon’s historic Hayward Field.
Alexander finished as the NCAA runner-up in the long jump. He soared 25-04.50 on his first attempt to put himself in immediate contention for the championship. The mark, which was just an inch off his personal record, was the second-best during the qualifying round and advanced him to the final round in which the top-nine received three additional jumps.
Alexander hit the 25-foot mark again on his sixth and final attempt, clearing 25-03.50, but his initial jump stood up as his best and granted him runner-up status in the event.
Florida junior Marquis Dendy won the event with a jump of 26-3.
He becomes a first-team All-American for Long Beach State, the school’s first since Brent Gray (200m) and Chris Richardson (decathlon) accomplished the feat in 2008. Alexander was an honorable mention All-American in 2013 in the long jump.
The Fresno, Calif. native also provided the 49ers their top individual finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 16 years. Borya Celentano finished runner-up in the pole vault in 1998.
Hooper, who hails from Arcadia, Calif., captured second-team All-American honors in the long jump for the second straight year. He gives UC Riverside another dual All-American, after Ryan Swafford claimed second team honors in 2012 and 2013 in the triple jump.
A three-time Big West champion in the long jump, Hooper finished 14th overall at the NCAA’s. He placed 13th at the 2013 national meet. Hooper’s best attempt came on his first try when he reached 23-11.50.
In other action Thursday, UC Davis junior Raquel Lambdin competed in the semifinals of the women’s 1,500-meter run. The junior from Camarillo, Calif. placed 12th in her heat and 22nd overall with a time of 4 minutes, 30.55 seconds. The top five finishers from each of the two semis plus the next two fastest times advanced to Saturday’s finals.
Lambdin was the second NCAA competitor for the Aggies in Eugene, joining junior sprinter Ashley Marshall who finished 21st in the 100 on Wednesday. Lambdin and Marshall will receive All-American honorable mention plaudits for their efforts.
Long Beach State junior Chris Low is the lone remaining Big West athlete who will compete in the 2014 NCAA meet, as he races for a national championship in the 800-meter run Friday at 5:15 p.m. His race will be televised on ESPNU.