June 12, 2005
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Baylor senior Darold Williamson (San Antonio, Texas) clocked a time of 44.51 seconds in the 400-meter final to claim his first individual national title at the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships Saturday at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex on the campus of Sacramento State.
"I just wanted to execute like I did yesterday, I ran strong and held them off," Williamson said. "It was very important to me (to win an individual title), I've worked hard all year - I've worked hard for four years. That's one of the main reasons I stayed (instead of signing a professional contract), to get the individual 400-meter title and improve my worth for when I turn pro."
Williamson was not seriously challenged, finishing .24 ahead of Mississippi State's Jamel Ashley (44.75). Texas Tech's Andrae Williams finished third in 44.90 and Florida State's Ricardo Chambers took fourth in 45.03. Baylor has captured the last two titles in the event with Olympic gold Medalist Jeremy Wariner taking the crown last year.
Williamson earned his sixth individual All-America honor and was an outdoor All-American all four years. He was also the anchor on seven All-America 4x400-meter relay teams, giving him a total of 13 for his career. He ties Michael Johnson and Brandon Couts for third on Baylor's all-time list, trailing only Tony Miller (15) and Deon Minor (14).
The 4x400-meter relay team of sophomores Kevin Mutai (Round Rock, Texas) and Mark Teter (San Antonio, Texas), junior Wil Fitts (Desoto, Texas) and Williamson turned in a season-best time of 3:01.83 to finish sixth in one of the best fields in the history of the event. LSU set the collegiate record to take the gold with a time of 2:59.59, while five other teams ran below 3:02. Only two teams ran below 3:02 when the Bears won the event in 2004. The top-eight finish marks the 25th consecutive year the relay has earned All-America honors.
The men's team scored 14 points to tie for 19th in the team standings. Baylor has finished among the top 20 seven of the last eight years and 14 of the last 17.
Williamson will begin preparation in Waco for the USA Track & Field Championships June 23-26 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and the IAAF World Championships Aug. 6-14 in Helsinki, Finland.
Senior Darold Williamson won the NCAA title in the 400 meters Saturday.