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CV grad places eighth at NCAA championships
Latrisha Jordan had a record-breaking season for the Fresno State women's track and field team.

The Central Valley High School graduate capped off her freshman year with an eighth-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA Division I Championships on Friday, June 12 in Fayetteville, Ark.

"I love surprising people and doing the impossible," said Jordan, who ranked 20th in the 27-person event at the year-end competition.

Latrisha earned a team point and became the first female hurdler in Fresno State history to earn All-American status.

"Hard work really does pay off," she said. "I'm proud of myself. I competed with the best of the best. It was a great experience."

Jordan crossed the finish line in 58.19, .05 seconds off her school record. She defeated University of Miami sophomore Tameka Jameson (58.73). Latrisha finished behind UCLA senior Nicole Leach (55.39), Miami sophomore Ti'erra Brown (55.98), University of Southern California freshman Dalilah Muhammad (56.65), Virginia Tech junior Asia Washington (57.05), Illinois senior Deserea Brown (57.31) and Penn State junior Fawn Dorr (57.44).

"I could have done better," said Jordan, who was seeded sixth for the finals. "I wasn't nervous. I was just doubting myself."

Jordan earned a spot in the finals after finishing third in her heat in a career-best time of 58.14 seconds during the semifinals on Thursday, June 11. She shattered her own school record for the fifth time this year.

"Latrisha did really well," Fresno State coach Scott Winsor said. "She was in lane nine; so she was running blind, not able to see any of her competitors. She came off the fourth turn, when she could finally see everyone, determined to catch people ahead of her. It's a huge accomplishment for a freshman to advance to the finals at the NCAA out of lane nine."

Jordan watched another former Stanislaus District athlete compete during the final day of the NCAA Championships on June 13.

Riverbank graduate/Oklahoma State freshman German Fernandez won the 1,500-meter men's title.

"That's pretty cool," she said.

Latrisha will try to improve on her eighth-place showing in 2010.

"I'm going to do way better next year," she said. "If I learn form and believe in myself, I know I could be in the top three. That's a realistic goal."

Jordan made a name for herself at the collegiate level with memorable performances. Latrisha excelled in a sport she took up at Central Valley three years ago to avoid P.E. The Western Athletic Conference freshman of the year won titles at the league, University of Southern California and Cal-Nevada Championships. She took third at the NCAA West Regional Meet.

"I feel the same," she said. "I just love competition. I hate to lose. I also really enjoy all the traveling. I get to see a lot of different places."