ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Omo Osaghae never won an NCAA championship while running for Texas Tech, but he just keeps getting better with age.
The former Monterey and Tech standout won the 60-meter hurdles title Sunday at the U.S. indoor track and field championships, the second time in three years he’s taken the title.
Easy to spot in a bright yellow top and matching bright yellow shoes, Osaghae tore down the track at the Albuquerque (N.M.) Convention Center in 7.62 seconds to beat Brendan Ames (7.72) and world champion decathlete Trey Hardee (7.74). The field also included Olympian Jeff Porter, who stumbled before the finish line and got last.
Osaghae ran the fastest time in two semifinal heats earlier Sunday, a 7.59. Then in the finals, he had to weather a series of false starts that eliminated two other runners.
“It’s just one of those things you have to account for in your mind,” Osaghae said in his post-race interview on NBC Sports. “It can happen at any time, which you’ve seen a number of times. It’s something you have to account for before the race. If it happens, so be it. If not, then you’re fine.”
The 24-year-old Osaghae won the 60-meter hurdles on the same track two years ago. In the 2011 U.S. indoor championships, he ran 7.54 in the prelims and a then personal-record 7.52 in the finals. That came during his senior year at Tech, before his final outdoor season with the Red Raiders, for whom NCAA titles always eluded him.
He was beaten by one one-hundredth of a second in the 2009 NCAA indoor. At the 2011 NCAA outdoor, he went in ranked No. 1 in the nation but tripped over the first few hurdles and was never a factor in his last college race.
Each time, Osaghae took it in stride, with an eye on the future.
Osaghae had been peaking for this year’s U.S. championships, running a personal-record 7.51 at a meet Feb. 16 in Great Britain.
“It all boils down to practice — practice and hard work,” he said on the NBC Sports post-race interview. “You’ve just got to keep the meet the same as the repetitions in practice. From there on, it’s pretty much the same.”