UA’s Moline runner-up in NCAA 400 hurdles final

Arizona track star Georganne Moline knew she’d have to run the race of her life to win the NCAA 400-meter hurdles final on Friday afternoon.

She did. But it wasn’t quite good enough, as Moline finished second at the NCAA outdoor championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Moline ran the 400 hurdles in 53.7 seconds. And there is no shame in finishing second, especially to Stanford’s Kori Carter, who finished in 53.21 and has long been Moline’s rival.  Moline’s time was the third-best in collegiate history. Carter’s time was an NCAA record.

Moline, a senior from Phoenix, will look at her personal best and her improvement as a highlight of her young and promising career. Her previous best was 53.92 seconds.

“I can’t be upset,” she said. “I’m in a great position to do great things. I’m excited about what’s coming my way.”

That would be the world championships in Russia later this summer. She got a glimpse of her competition in the last week, having finished second in the annual Prefontaine Classic and second again on Friday. Last week in the Prefontaine, she defeated 2012 Olympic Games 400-meter hurdles gold medalist Natalya Antyukh of Russia and silver medalist Lashinda Demus of the United States.

“I wouldn’t say that I was disappointed, but I’d say that I wasn’t satisfied,” she said in a telephone interview about Friday’s performance. “I’m very happy. The coaches were happy, and they are happy where I am going.

“I felt good, and there’s always room for improvement and things I could do better. I’m working to do better and getting to where I need to go.”

Her runner-up finish on Friday was in stark contrast to last year, when, as one of the favorites, she fell after hitting one of the final hurdles in the semifinals. This year, she’s an NCAA runner-up and first-team All-American.

“When I came in as a freshman, I ran it in 60 seconds,” she said, laughing. “I was this lanky girl, but because of my coaches, I could not be where I am.”

Also on Friday, UA senior Edgar Rivera-Morales tied for eighth in the men’s high jump competition with a clearance of 7-2.5 (2.20m). In the process, Rivera-Morales earned first-team All-America honors in the outdoor season for the first time in his career. He was also a 2013 first-team indoor All-American.

“I’m happy (about being an All-American). It’s fine,” Rivera-Morales said. “It’s my last year, and I was never an All-American, so it’s good. I didn’t expect to get eighth place with clearing 2.20m; I thought I was going to get 10th place or something. It’s a little tough, because I had high expectations for myself. I was doing well during the season. It was just a tough way to go out. It’s nice to have an award to remember the meet.”

Freshman Nicci Corbin took 14th place in the 5K with a time of 16:18.56, earning second-team All-America honors. It was the second-best time of Corbin’s career. Senior Jen Bergman accomplished the same feat, clocking a time of 16:20.55 and taking 15th place overall. This is the second-straight year that a UA runner has earned either first- or second-team All-America honors in the women’s 5K.

Heading into the final day of competition, the Arizona women are in seventh place in the team standings with 19 points. Kansas leads with 48 points, Oregon is second with 33 points and Arizona State is third with 26 points.

The UA men’s squad has 10.5 points and sits in 16th place. USC and Texas are tied for first place with 32 points, and Arkansas is in third with 30.5 points.