By Matthew Girard
Killeen Daily Herald
Texas Tech hurdler Marlon Odom's college career is over, and it wasn't the finish he was hoping for.
Making his third straight appearance in the 110-meter hurdles final at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, Calif., the former Ellison graduate finished fifth with a time of 13.77 seconds on Friday.
"I'm taking it really well," said Odom via cell phone. "I already knew that there were a lot of great athletes out here. It was a flip of the coin who was going to win it.
"I went out there and did the best that I could. At the end of the day it was the best man that won and I have nothing but respect for the other athletes."
Odom had the fifth-fastest time in Thursday's semifinals, finishing with a time of 13.58 seconds, but was unable to come away with his first NCAA individual title.
Odom said the race was one of the sloppiest he had ever run.
"It was a bad start and then I clipped hurdle five and then I hit No. 10 again, and it wasn't how I wanted it to go," Odom said. "I wish it could have been a little bit cleaner, but there's nothing I can do about it."
Although the three-time All-American and Big 12 Conference 110-meter hurdles champion didn't get his title, Odom improved on his previous two sixth-place NCAA championship finishes in 2005 and 2006.
"I'm fine with (the finish) because I know that I'm going to the next level," Odom said. "I have a lot to be proud of and a lot to be happy for, and that's all I care about right now."
Tryon Atkins of Auburn took home the gold with a run of 13.42 seconds, with John Yarbrough (Mississippi) finishing second with a time of 13.57. Alleyne Lett got the bronze medal with a time of 13.59 seconds and Michigan's Jeff Porter placed fourth and ahead of Odom with a time of 13.67 seconds.
Thomas Hilliard of South Carolina (13.83), Kai Kelley of USC (13.86), Julius Jiles of Kansas (13.95) and John McDowell of Texas-Arlington (14.01) rounded out the nine-man finale.
Even though Odom's days as a Red Raider hurdler are done, the school's and NCAA Midwest Regional's 110-meter hurdle record-holder will continue to run.
"I plan on running professionally," Odom said after the semifinals on Thursday. "I have agents that are looking at me, but I have a particular agent in mind and then from there on try to learn the ropes from the big boys."
Contact Matthew Girard at email@example.com or (254) 501-7569.