Sports Briefs

Posted: Sunday, June 03, 2001

Tennessee, USC win track team titles

EUGENE, Ore. -- Angela Williams of Southern California accomplished what some of the greatest women sprinters never did -- win three straight 100-meter titles at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Williams, anointed the next great sprinter when she was 12 by Florence Griffith Joyner, sped across the finish line Saturday night in a wind-aided 11.05 seconds, beating runner-up Shakedia Jones of UCLA by .05, and led the Trojans to their first NCAA title.

Justin Gatlin, the sensational freshman from Tennessee, swept the men's 100 and 200, helping the Volunteers to their third title, the first since 1991.

Southern California finished with 64 points, besting arch-rival UCLA, the runner-up with 55 points. UCLA had beaten the Trojans twice recently, in a dual meet and at the Pac-10 Conference Championships, the latter when Southern California dropped the baton in the final event, the 1,600-meter relay.

This time, the relay didn't matter, as the Trojans had an 11-point lead going into the race, worth 10 points to the winner.

In the men's competition, Tennessee had to only finish the 1,600 relay to win, since the Volunteers and TCU were tied at that point, but the Horned Frogs were not entered. The Volunteers did finish -- last, for one point.

Gilliam leads Florida to national title

DURHAM, N.C. -- Nick Gilliam won the individual title and led Florida to its fourth team crown Saturday at the NCAA men's golf championships.

Gilliam shot a 1-under 71 in the final round at Duke University Golf Club to finish at 12-under 276. He beat teammate Camilo Benedetti and Augusta State's Jamie Elson by three shots.

Gilliam had never won a college event; he had eight top-10 finishes in 37 tournaments before Saturday. His best finish was second at the 2000 Gary Koch/Cleveland Intercollegiate.

''I won't say he underachieved, but I expected something like this from him a lot earlier,'' Florida coach Buddy Alexander said. ''He just hadn't ever busted loose in a tournament.''

Elson, who tied a course record with a 65 in the second round, shot 71 in the final round. Benedetti matched the record in the final round. Arizona State's Chez Reavie and Kris Mikkelsen of Georgia Tech tied for fourth at 7 under.

Brack, Castroneves in front row after qualifying

MILWAUKEE -- This might be the easiest pole Kenny Brack has ever won.

Rain washed out Saturday's qualifying for the Miller Lite 225, so the field was based on driver standings. Brack, CART's points leader, has the pole for Sunday's race at the Milwaukee Mile, with Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves next to him.

''Hey, you've got to take them any way you can,'' said Brack, who also won the poles at Monterrey, Mexico, and the race at Texas Motor Speedway that was later canceled.

This is only the third time in CART history that a pole has been awarded based on points. Qualifications were rained out at the Motorola 300 in 1998, but Greg Moore was awarded the pole based on his practice session times.

Riggs wins Dover truck race

DOVER, Del. -- Scott Riggs passed Jack Sprague with 39 laps remaining Saturday, then drove away to give Dodge a record-tying eighth straight victory in the NASCAR truck series.

The victory in the rain-delayed MBNA e-commerce 200 at Dover Downs International Speedway was the second of the season for Riggs, who opened a 118-point championship lead over eighth-finishing Joe Ruttman.

The victory allowed Dodge to match the series record of Chevrolet, which won eight times in a row in 1995.

Two-time series champion Sprague, driving a Chevy, finished 0.694 seconds behind Riggs. Sprague's teammate, Ricky Hendrick, was third, followed by the Dodge of Ted Musgrave and the Chevy of Coy Gibbs.

Sprague, who led twice for 69 laps, was the victim of a truck that lost its handling edge in the waning laps. Riggs set him up with a move from high groove to low exiting the track's second turn and completed the pass entering Turn 3.

Spencer wins wet Dover crashfest

DOVER, Del. -- Jimmy Spencer waited out two rain delays and managed to stay out of a rash of accidents over the final 40 laps Saturday to win the MBNA Platinum 200.

Spencer put his car in front on the 179th of 200 laps when he got by Mike Skinner, who spun out leader Bobby Hamilton Jr. on the high-banked third turn at Dover Downs International Speedway.

''I just feel bad for Bobby,'' Spencer said. ''That was the only way I was going to win the race.

''Bobby was trying to win the race and Mike has been on a downslope and he wants to win bad, too. The sky just opened up and I got through there.''

Skinner wasn't certain which car moved into the other, but regretted the contact.

''I didn't want to wreck him,'' he said. ''I didn't want to win that way. He's probably mad at me now.''

Hamilton, seeking his first career victory, wouldn't speak with reporters.

All that remained after the crash was for Spencer to stay in front through two more cautions. He managed to do that and pulled away when the green flag waved for the final time on lap 190.

Matt Kenseth, among those who will join Winston Cup regular Spencer in the MBNA 400 on Sunday, finished second, about 20 car-lengths behind. It was the second Busch series victory of the year for Spencer in a race that took more than 5 hours to complete.

Kenseth lost in part because he was among the leaders who failed to pit just before the late rain caution became a race-stopping red flag. He was forced to pit later and gave up eight positions when he did.

''With the weather the way it was, you just couldn't take a chance and give up the lead,'' he said. ''We just got back in the traffic and couldn't catch up.''

Kevin Harvick was third, followed by Skinner and Steve Park as Chevrolets and Winston Cup drivers swept the first five positions. Elton Sawyer was sixth in a Ford.

Polesitter Jeff Green, who had a stuck accelerator, crashed on the 159th lap and wound up 29th. He lost the series lead to Harvick, and now trails by 75 points.

Not a single lap was completed before rain caused the cars to be slowed. After another lap, the event was halted. It resumed 2 hours, 22 minutes later. A second red flag waved with 70 laps left, stopping the race for another 29 minutes.

It was the second straight day rain interrupted the NASCAR weekend. Qualifying for both Busch and Winston Cup cars was rained out Friday.

The Craftsman series truck race also was postponed Friday. Points leader Scott Riggs won that race after a delayed start Saturday morning. He didn't even make it to the winner's circle before rain began falling again.

Harvick, who started second in the Busch race, took the lead on the 37th lap by passing Greg Biffle and looked like he might pull away. But Kenseth, who started 10th, steadily moved up and reached the rear bumper of Harvick's car on lap 85.

Their battle intensified on the next lap and they raced side by side for five more. Kenseth tried repeatedly to get beneath Harvick on the turns but was held off until finally getting in front on lap 92.

Harvick led 59 laps and Kenseth 42. Spencer held the lead twice for 27 laps, and averaged 91.394 mph in a race slowed by caution 10 times for 47 laps.

There were eight lead changes among eight drivers.

Spencer earned $36,440 from a purse of $798,158 for his 10th career Busch victory.

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