William-Mensah Caps Historic Collegiate Career Off at NCAA West Prelims

Senior Persis William-Mensah concluded her historic run as an Anteater this past weekend at the NCAA West Preliminaries in Sacramento, California, where she competed in the 100m, 200m and 4×100 relay.

In her signature 100m event, William-Mensah shattered UCI’s program record for the fourth consecutive year in the first round Friday with a wind-legal 11.58 finish. Placing 19th, she registered her best career finish in the respective field, but did not advance into the next round. With Friday’s run marking her third 100m NCAA west prelim appearance, William-Mensah is in a space of her own as the sole Anteater to have ever qualified in the event that many times.

On the same day, William-Mensah did, however, earn an automatic bid to the quarterfinals of the 200m after eclipsing her personal and program record at 23.56, .21 better than her previous best at 23.77. The following day, she would clock in at 23.76 for 22nd in the quarterfinal, her fifth and final run over three days.

William-Mensah was also joined by juniors Hope Bushnell and Julia Sambvani as well as freshman Mikayla Scott for the 4×100 relay in which the squad snagged 18th overall (fifth in heat 3) after coming in at 45.17. The quad had put up a great body of work during the 2017-18 campaign, tallying three team victories on the season.

William-Mensah has put up quite a challenge for future Anteaters to chase, as she sits atop the summit in both the 100m and 200m. Her impressive resume is highlighted by a 100m Big West Championship crown that she had earned two weeks ago, becoming the first titleholder since 1996.

Two years ago, she was also a part of the 4×100 team that snagged gold in the conference postseason after putting up a school record-breaking performance, clocking in at 44.51. During the summer of that year, William-Mensah was one of five runners considered for the 4×100 relay team representing Ghana at the Rio Olympics. In 2017, the UCI Athletics department also announced that the Estancia High School product would return to the Ghana 4×100 relay team to compete at the 2017 IAAF World Champions in London.

Update on Barbara Coward

After blowing away the competition at the Big West Championships in the discus (first place) and hammer throw (runner up) two weeks ago, Coward heaved out a 165-04 for 27th in the former Friday but was held out of the latter event Saturday after sustaining an injury.

Nonetheless, Coward thrived in the 2018 season, putting up notable performance after notable performance. Arguably her best outing came back on April 27 when she stamped her name into the books, throwing out a 192-03 in the hammer at the Steve Scott Invitational.  

With only the top-12 participants advancing in each individual and relay event, the Anteaters were left out of NCAA Championships, which will commence on June 6 and will run through the ninth at world-renown Hayward Field.