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Women's Cross Country/Track and Field

May 26, 2005

Perry lays claim to USI women’s second national title,
Cooksey, Stock advance to 3,000-meter finals


ABILENE, Texas—University of Southern Indiana sophomore Candace Perry (Anderson, Indiana) became the second women’s competitor in school history to win a national championship Thursday as she took home the crown in the long jump at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Perry’s third-round leap of 20 feet, 3.75 inches was half a foot better than that of the second-place performer and elevated the now four-time All-American into elite status. Perry, who was less than an inch away from winning the national championship as a freshman last season, joins junior Heather Cooksey (Brownsburg, Indiana) as the only women in any sport at USI to win a national championship.

She also joins former men’s competitor Elly Rono and the 1995 men’s basketball team on USI’s all-time list of national championships.

“I actually knew that I won before the final results came out,” Perry said. “There was only one person that had a chance to beat me and she jumped before me in the finals. After her jump I asked the judged what she jumped and she said ‘19-six.’ I shook my head and realized then that I was a national champion.

“I was pretty excited when I won,” Perry continued, “but I don’t know if it has hit me yet.”

Perry has jumped 20 feet or better three times this season, with her season-best of 20-feet, 4.5 inches coming at the GLVC Championships the first weekend of May. She finished third at the NCAA II Indoor Championships in March.

Cooksey along with senior Crystal Stock (Mt. Vernon, Indiana) qualified for Friday’s 3, 000-meter finals. Cooksey, the defending national champion in the event, ran the prelims in nine minutes, 59.06 seconds, while Stock finished in 10 minutes, 0.03 seconds.

Sophomore Missy Burgin (Sellersburg, Indiana) finished 15th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase prelims and did not qualify for Saturday’s finals.

Dan McDonnell,
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