Mallory, Mataoanu Earn All-America Honors

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The Alabama women’s track and field team picked up a pair of All-American honors on Friday at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif.  Beth Mallory earned her fourth straight honor in the discus and Miruna Mataoanu picked up All-American honors in the high jump.

“I’m very happy for them,” Alabama head coach Sandy Fowler said.  “I don’t think that either of them is happy with where they finished, but to be an All-American is something that no one can ever take away.”

Mallory saved her best throw on the day for last but came up just short in her attempt to repeat as the NCAA discus champion.  Mallory’s throw of 179’7” was just 15 inches shy of the winning throw as she came in second place.

“That was a test of a true champion to have her best throw on her last throw,” Fowler said.  “She had the resolve and the mental focus to get it done.”

The meet was the last for Mallory in an Alabama uniform and the Ashland, Ohio native leaves as one of the most decorated athletes in Alabama history.   She earned four All-America honors in the discus, two in the hammer throw and was the 2005 NCAA discus champion.

“Beth’s been a leader,” Fowler said.  “Everything she has brought to the program on and off the track has been outstanding.  I think she has been some that the team has looked up to because of the way she is and the way she carries herself.”

After breezing through the qualifying round on Wednesday, Mataoanu struggled early on in the final of the high jump.  She passed on the first height but needed two jumps to clear the bar at 5’9 ¾”.  The Romanian went over the bar on her first attempt at 5’10 ¾”. Mataoanu then cleared a height of 6’ on her second attempt but was unable to clear a higher bar to place sixth in the high jump final to earn her first All-America honor for Alabama.  She was also an All-America in the high jump two seasons ago before transferring to the Tide.

“Miruna is a little disappointed right now and rightfully so because she felt so good after the qualifying round,” Fowler said.  “She did an awesome job and I am very, very proud of her.  She needs to be proud of herself.”

Also on Friday for Alabama, LaTasha Pharr had a leap of 40’8.25” in the qualifying round of the triple jump but failed to advance to the finals of the event.  Tahesia Harrigan clocked a time of 23.42 in the semifinals of the 200m dash but was not able to advance to the final of the event.  Kou Luogon ran 53.39 in the 400m semis but did not advance.

Harrigan and Aymara Albury return to action on Saturday afternoon with the finals of the 100m and the shot put, respectively.  Fans can watch the final day of competition on CBS beginning at 2:30 CT on Saturday.  Harrigan’s 100m final is scheduled to be the first event shown by CBS.

“I’m looking for us to pick up two more All-Americans tomorrow,” Fowler said.  “Both girls are feeling good.  I think they are both going to surprise themselves.”