Ashley Spencer came from behind to finish second in the women’s 400 meters Saturday night in the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships at Portland, Ore.
Spencer, 22, a Lawrence North graduate, thus qualified to represent Team USA in the 400 and 1,600 relay in next week’s World Indoor Championships, also at Portland. She already has three international medals: two golds from the 2012 world juniors and a relay silver from the 2013 World Championships.
Quanera Hayes won her first national title, clocking 51.09 seconds. Spencer’s time of 51.29 was her indoor best. Top two qualified for indoor worlds.
Hayes and Spencer rank Nos. 2 and 3 in the world this year, behind the 50.69 by Texas’ Courtney Okolo, who won Saturday’s NCAA title. Okolo and Spencer are former Texas teammates.
Spencer overtook early leader Natasha Hastings, who faded to third in 51.34 after sprinting the first 200 in 23.85. American record-holder Phyllis Francis was fourth in 52.08. Spencer’s closing 200 of 26.69 was fastest in the race.
Elsewhere, 18-year-old Vashti Cunningham won the women’s high jump, setting a world junior (under-20) record of 6 feet, 6 ¼ inches. She is the daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham.
Sandi Morris became the third-highest ever in the women’s pole vault, clearing 16-2 ¾. Olympic gold medalist Jenn Suhr, who set a world record of 16-6 on Jan. 30, was second at 16-0 ¾.
Notre Dame women fifth in NCAA
Molly Seidel completed a distance double and led Notre Dame’s women to fifth place, best in school history, in the NCAA Indoor Championships at Birmingham, Ala.
Seidel won the 3,000 meters in 8:57.87. It was her fourth national title within nine months, including Saturday’s 5,000 in 15:15.21, the No. 3 time in collegiate history.
Oregon men and women swept team championships.
In women’s standings, the Ducks scored 53 points, Arkansas 50, Georgia 45, Texas 44 and Notre Dame 35.
Oregon scored 62 points for a third successive men’s championship. Arkansas had 39, Tennessee 34 and LSU 28. Purdue finished 13th with 15 points.
Chukwuebuka Enekwechi scored 13 for Purdue, adding a fourth place in the shot put to his second in the weight throw. Enekwechi’s shot distance of 65-5 1/2 was a school record.
Also for the Boilermakers, Devynne Charlton was third in the women’s 60-meter hurdles in 7.99. Michigan’s Cindy Ofili, who lost to Charlton in the Big Ten meet, finished first in 7.89.
Elsewhere, Oregon’s Robert Cheserek became the second man ever to win a 3K/5K/distance medley triple, after the Ducks’ Galen Rupp. TCU’s Ronnie Baker won the men’s 60 meters in 6.47, just .02 off the collegiate record.
Texas freshman Teahna Daniels set an American junior record of 7.11 in winning the women’s 60.
Call IndyStar reporter David Woods at (317) 444-6195. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.