June 9, 2010
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EUGENE, Ore. – “Finish the job.” That is the theme for Vanderbilt senior Buky Bamigboye, as she is poised and ready to compete in the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships at historic Hayward Field at the University of Oregon.
Bamigboye is Vanderbilt’s first national qualifier since Erika Schneble and Josie Hahn in 2004, and second heptathlon qualifier along with Hahn. Hahn placed fourth in the heptathlon with a score of 5,444, a mark that Bamigboye has already surpassed. Hahn was a four-time All-American and competed in five national championships.
Bamigboye joins an elite group of former Commodores, becoming only the ninth Vanderbilt track athlete to qualify for the NCAA national championships. This is Bamigboye’s third Outdoor Championships, having also competed twice for the Georgetown Hoyas while completing her undergraduate degree.
“We believe Buky is peaking at the right time,” Vanderbilt head coach D’Andre Hill noted. “The couple of weeks we had to train have really helped us. She looks good, feels great, and is excited to get the competition underway.”
“She’s healthy, happy, and ready to go,” Vanderbilt assistant coach Clark Humphreys commented. “She is a tough, strong chick and she’ll get in there and compete.”
Bamigboye will be competing in the heptathlon, consisting of seven events with four events on Wednesday afternoon (beginning at 3 p.m. CT/1 p.m. PT) and finishing up with three on Thursday afternoon (beginning at 3:45 p.m. CT/1:45 p.m. PT). Bamigboye’s season high in points is 5,527 at the SEC Outdoor Championships, while her career high came at Georgetown with a score of 5,644.
100 meter hurdles
Bamigboye’s season high in the hurdles was 14.08 at the SEC Outdoor Championships at the University of Tennessee. Her personal best was during Bamigboye’s tenure at Georgetown, where she ran a 13.94.
“Hurdles have given Buky the most trouble,” Humphreys commented. “We know she is capable of doing well in the hurdles, but because of her injury at SECs (abdominal strain), we certainly know what she is up against. Buky is fully healed and we’re hoping for under 14 seconds or 14 seconds flat.”
Buky’s personal best in the high jump also came at the SEC Outdoor Championships, where she cleared 5-08.75. Humphreys is looking for Bamigboye to clear 170 to 175 centimeters (approximately 5-06.00 to 5-08.75) in order to stay competitive in the Championship field.
“Buky has been very consistent in the high jump,” Humphreys said. “She has improved at nearly every competition and we think she can clear low to mid 170 in order to stay in the pack.”
Bamigboye’s season high came at the Sea Ray Relays at the University of Tennessee, where she came in second with a throw of 38-05.50. Humphreys is looking for Buky to be as consistent in the event as she has been throughout the season.
“If we can stay in the same range Buky has been in all season, we’ll be good,” Humphreys noted. “We’re hoping for somewhere around 11.80m (approximately 38-07.00). She kept upping the ante throughout the season and improving every meet, so we’re hoping the same will come for her here.”
200 meter dash
The final event on Wednesday is the 200 meter dash, an event that has slightly plagued Bamigboye this season. Bamigboye’s season high came at the Sea Ray Relays where she ran to a fifth place finish with a time of 25.41. However, she did not run to her potential at SEC Outdoors and is looking for redemption.
“Buky ran almost a full second slower at SECs than her time at Sea Rays and it was because of her abdominal strain, so if we could get to 25 seconds flat, that would be phenomenal,” Humphreys remarked. “She hasn’t run to her potential in the 200 this season, so it would be a huge deal for us if she could come out and perform to the best of her ability.”
Bamigboye owns the Vanderbilt record in the long jump, along with Commodore great Ryan Tolbert, with a jump of 19-10.25 at the Tennessee Invitational. Her career high occurred while she was at Georgetown with a jump of 20-00.50. Humphreys is counting on Bamigboye’s consistency to pull them through this event, the first event of the second day of the heptathlon.
“We've been consistent, jumping over 18 and a half feet,” Humphreys noted. “The consistency will really pay off, and we're hoping for a high 19 or a low 20. We just want Buky to set the tone and show she's here and ready to compete.”
Bamigboye’s season high in the javelin throw was at the Sea Ray Relays, where she threw for a distance of 119-11. Humphreys has high expectations for Bamigboye in Eugene, looking for a 38 to 40 meter (124-67 to 131-23) performance from the Nashville native.
“We’ve been okay in the javelin,” Humphreys commented. “We haven't had a real high or low, but this is a bit of a ‘Steady Eddie’ event for her, and if we can push Buky to a 38 to 40 meter barrier and make it into the top three or top five, that would be phenomenal.”
800 meter run
The final heptathlon event for the NCAA Outdoor Championships is the 800 meter run, an event that has not been Bamigboye’s strong suit this season. Bamigboye’s season high is 2:18.33, coming in fourth at the SEC Outdoor Championships. Buky’s career high in the 800 meter run is 2:11.78, occurring during her time at Georgetown.
“The weather here in Eugene is a bit cooler than Nashville. There’s no humidity and fresher air and we’re hoping that works in our favor,” Humphreys remarked. “We think Buky can improve two or three seconds on her current season high of 2:18.33 and really make a run for the top.”
Bamigboye has never placed higher than 15th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and Humphreys is looking for Bamigboye to complete her collegiate career with a much higher finish.
“The theme for nationals is ‘let's finish the job,’” Humphreys said. “Let’s finish the season strong, because this is the third time at outdoors for nationals for her and every time, she's finished 15th and never put together the kind of competition of which she is capable. Let's not give 85%, but 110% and concentrate on the small details.”
Commodore fans can follow Bamigboye throughout Wednesday and Thursday by clicking on the links above.