March 9, 2007
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Dominic Berger of the University of Maryland finished third in the final of the men's 60-meter hurdles Friday night at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships being hosted by the University of Arkansas, earning All-America status for the third time.
Berger, a junior from Mitchellville, Md., ran 7.70 seconds in the final, finishing 0.004 seconds behind Alleyne Lett of LSU in a photo finish for second place. Jeff Porter of Michigan was the national champion in the event, running 7.64 seconds.
In the preliminary round, contested earlier Friday, Berger posted a mark of 7.67 seconds to set a Maryland school record. The mark eclipsed the 7.69 set in last year's NCAA prelims.
"He floated through the first two hurdles, but attacked the rest," said Maryland head coach Andrew Valmon of the final. "He came home like a bandit and really looked good. This was probably one of the most competitive series he's had."
Berger placed fifth at last year's NCAA Indoor and was second in the 110-meter hurdles last year at the outdoor nationals. Friday's third-place finish earned Berger his third All-America certificate, given to the top eight finishers at nationals.
Berger's previous season-best was a 7.75 posted when he won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship in the 60 hurdles at Clemson.
"He's a big-time gamer," Valmon said of Berger's ability to run his best races in important meets. "He knows how to compete when it counts most. He's one of those athletes who responds well to pressure.
"I want to thank all those people who put in time to work with him. He gets a lot of support, and he does rise to the occasion when it counts most."
Berger is the lone Maryland student-athlete who qualified for nationals during the indoor season. He scored six team points for the Terrapins in the meet, which ends tomorrow.
Maryland begins its outdoor track and field season next weekend.
MEN'S INDIVIDUAL EVENTS
60-Meter Hurdles Final - 1. Jeff Porter, Michigan, 7.64; 2. Alleyne Lett, LSU, 7.70; 3. Dominic Berger, Maryland, 7.70; 4. John Yarbrough, Ole Miss, 7.73; 5. Marlon Odom, Texas Tech, 7.73; 6. Thomas Hilliard, South Carolina, 7.78; 7. Mike Wray, Pittsburgh, 7.92.