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April 28, 2018

WHAT2WATCH on Saturday at the Penn, Drake, and National Relays

Today is the final day of competition at the Penn Relays, Drake Relays, and National Relays. It’s an all-day party of track and field!

April 27, 2018

WHAT2WATCH Friday at the Penn and Drake Relays

Friday marks Day Two for the Penn and Drake Relays and the debut of Arkansas’ new National Relay Championships.

April 25, 2018

WHAT2WATCH: April 26 at the Penn and Drake Relays

It’s the day you’ve been waiting for all spring — the Penn and Drake Relays are here & here’s the first full day of competition.

April 24, 2018

Notable Celebrities That Have Competed At Penn Relays or Drake Relays

Here are some people who you know, but may not have known that they competed at the Penn or Drake Relays at some point in history.

April 21, 2018

The Oldest Stadiums in College Track

Let’s take a look at the ten oldest NCAA Division I track stadiums as plans for a new Hayward Field were unveiled recently.

April 5, 2018

Everyone Needs a Rival: Assigning An Enemy To Every Division I Track Team

In this week’s Thursday Morning Trackstravaganza and Field Frenzy by Jesse Squire, he assigned a rival to every Division I Track and Field team in the U.S.

March 30, 2018

Track and Field Viewing Guide For Florida Relays, Raleigh Relays, Stanford Invitational, Texas Relays

Jesse Squire breaks down a full schedule for you to know what + when to watch track and field action this weekend includes Stanford Invite & Florida Relays.

March 22, 2018

The Biggest Upsets in NCAA Track And Field History (Plus the Weekend’s Best Matchups)

In the spirit of March Madness, here are the biggest upsets in the history of college track and field and came up with a list across a variety of events.

March 15, 2018

Five Ways Track Fans Can Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, plus The Weekend’s Best Matchups

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up on Saturday. How can you as a track fan and/or runner, more sedately celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

March 8, 2018

Your Roadfood Guide to Indoor Championship Weekend

One of my goals whenever I travel is to find good roadfood. If I can find just one it’s a successful trip. What do I mean by “roadfood”?

March 1, 2018

Why Conference Championships Are The Best

The beauty of conference championship season is that everyone acts out Bo Schembechler’s words: the team, the team, the team.

February 26, 2018

Where Did The Athlete Special Go?

A LetsRun thread popped up with the title: “Where did “The Athlete Special” (Spencer Brown) Go?” Well, here’s your answer.

February 23, 2018

The 30-year old ice dancing routine I think about daily

I haven’t been able to get Maurice Ravel’s Bolero out of my head for the last ten or so days.

There are a lot of reasons we like sports. Many times they merely act as a distraction from the weight of the world. It’s certainly been that way for me over the last two weeks, which have been very difficult for me personally, both physically and emotionally, as I deal with a series of family issues. Sitting back and watching track meets or the Winter Olympics has allowed me to decompress. Usually, though, it’s more than that which draws us to the action.

The most popular sports draw their popularity from tribalism, the belongingness to a particular group. This is absolutely true for soccer on a global basis and for football, basketball, and baseball in the USA. The act of supporting a team and opposing the other teams is what those sports are all about. It is the reason that four college football teams averaged a home attendance over 100,000 last year. It’s also the reason why fans of opposing teams can sometimes clash violently.

Fans of individual-based sports in general and track and field in particular don’t tend to find our interest based on tribalism. While we might cheer for certain athletes based on their national or collegiate affiliation, we very often just like seeing athletes perform on a high level. We are in it for a different kind of experience.

Look back at the 2012 Olympic men’s 800 meter final. You probably were cheering for the Americans, Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds. Neither won a medal, but the race is probably seared into your memory as a transcendent experience. Kenya’s David Rudisha ran a stunning world record of 1:40.91. It was one of the greatest performances of all time, something well beyond what we thought possible.

Which brings me back around to Ravel’s Bolero. For some reason I’ve always been more fascinated with the Winter Olympics than their summer counterparts. I’m going to guess that’s because I’ve almost always seen the Summer Olympics as a really big track meet muddied up with a bunch of other stuff I don’t care about, but it may also be because the first two Olympics I remember were both winter games, since there was little US hubbub surrounding the 1980 summer games in Moscow.

I’ve never been a fan of judged sports, but in 1984 you watched what the network was showing you, tape delayed or not, because there wasn’t any other option and the relatively slow pace of the news cycle meant you didn’t yet know what had happened. I was 12 when ABC broadcast the winter games from Sarajevo and whatever they put on screen sure beat doing homework or going to bed. So I watched the ice dancing that year.

I remember the British duo of Torvill and Dean and their gold medal performance set to Bolero. I was transfixed. I don’t know diddley-squat about ice dancing, now or then, but even my 12-year-old self instinctively knew that I was seeing something special. It is considered ice dancing’s greatest performance ever, one of the immortal moments of the Olympics.

The Olympics at their best are a blend of the tribal and the transcendent. Who we cheer for is highly dependent on the nation they represent, but there are also ample opportunities for the kinds of things you instantly realize you and the rest of the world will never see again.

College track has much of this, albeit on a much lower level. Everyone has an allegiance to a college and that drives quite a bit of our interest. Still, we recognize a great athletic accomplishment when we see one, and appreciating those accomplishments no matter who achieves them is part of being a track fan.

LAST WEEK’S MEDAL WINNERS

Handing out the medals for the best in college track…

Gold – NEC Women’s Championship
Is there anything better than a conference meet that comes down to the 4×400? The Northeast Conference women’s championship matched up four-time defending champions Sacred Heart against LIU Brooklyn. LIU held a 99-74 lead with three events remaining, only to see it vanish in the 5k as Sacred Heart went 1-3-4-7. LIU gave up another point to Sacred Heart in the distance medley, meaning they led by a score of 103-102 going into the concluding 4×400. Workhorse sprinter Shantae McDonald gave the LIU Blackbirds a big third leg that more or less sealed the win.

Silver – Martha Bissah
The sophomore at Norfolk State had a hand in 46 of her Spartans’ 70 points at the MEAC Championships. She won the 800, mile, and 3000, and ran on the winning distance medley and third-place 4×400.

Bronze – GNAC Women’s Championship
This meet was even closer than the NEC. Central Washington trailed Seattle Pacific by three points going into the 3000 meters and appeared to pull ahead by virtue of a third-place finish…but SPU’s Mary Charleson won the slow heat by over 23 seconds and actually bumped CWU’s runner in the fast heat to fourth. That plus a SPU seventh meant CWU trailed by six going into the 4×400. CWU overtook the lead halfway through that relay, then had to hold off a furious finish by Simon Fraser. SPU took fifth, which meant the meet was a tie.

THIS WEEK’S MEETS

The top meets of the upcoming weekend are rated from one to three dip finishes for sheer watchability…

Three Dips: Every Conference Championship Meet

Conference championship meets ROCK. Doesn’t matter if it’s the SEC or the lowest level of Division III, they’re all a blast. Not only does every race and every field event matter, every scoring place in every event matters. Two weeks ago I was the PA announcer for the championship meet of one of the NAIA’s less competitive conferences, and it was a blast. The athletes were running less for themselves and more for each other, and for me that’s the best thing I can ever watch.

So if there’s a meet near you, go. Just go. Set aside time on Saturday or Sunday and get there. Doesn’t matter if it’s Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA, junior college, or USports, just go and soak it all in.

That said, if you’re going to be that guy who just sits on your couch and watches a meet on TV or the internet and aren’t intensely following your particular college, the SEC Championships is the meet to watch. It’s not just that it offers up the highest level of competition, it’s that the team championship is likely to be close and unpredictable.

BAD MOVIE OF THE WEEK: BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA

This is actually the title of the film, and, shockingly, it gets worse from there.

Lugosi was the pre-WWII horror film star best known for portraying Count Dracula in the classic 1931 film. His roles became ever more limited as time went on, and by 1952 he was doing movies like this one.

The IMDB description merely says Two goofy entertainers meet a mad scientist on a jungle island. Lugosi is the mad scientist, of course, and the two “entertainers” are doing obvious ripoffs of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. I’ve long thought that Lewis was the single most annoying person ever put on camera, but I now know that he has been supplanted only by A GUY DOING A BAD IMPRESSION OF JERRY LEWIS. Egad.

This film was reportedly shot in nine days, and it shows. It’s the work of a director known as William “One Shot” Beaudine, so dubbed because of his reluctance to ever shoot a second take.

The two “entertainers” are stranded on a South Pacific island and are rescued by a local tribe. One of the “entertainers” falls in love with a pretty young member of the tribe, but there’s a mad scientist (Lugosi) running evil experiments on the island and he wants the young woman too. Lugosi hits him with a syringe full of growth hormone which turns him into a gorilla, and it gets worse from there.

Bad dialogue, bad acting, bad filming, bad plot – what more could you want? Wonderfully awful.

Enjoy the conference meets, everyone!

February 15, 2018

You’re Killing Me, Smalls

Could new collegiate record holder Grant Holloway go on to a 13.00 clocking this spring like Renaldo Nehemiah did in 1979? He’s on the way.

February 8, 2018

The Spectacle

I was happy with Super Bowl LII because the Eagles used to play in Franklin Field, home of the greatest annual track meet in America.

February 2, 2018

Q&A with NCAA Champion Karissa Schweizer on the 5,000m, Injuries and Career Outlook

We recently had a chance to catch up with University of Missouri senior and three-time NCAA Champion Karissa Schweizer to chat about her career and more.

February 1, 2018

Cross Country in the Olympics? Yes, please.

For all the talk about “edgy” and “extreme”, the kind of Olympic cross country that would benefit our sport is old-school.

January 29, 2018

An Inconvenient Truth About College Athletics

Non-revenue sports are subsidized by revenue sports that are primarily made up of black athletes. In other words, black athletes’ work is paying for white athletes to go to college.

January 25, 2018

What Track & Field Can Learn From RuPaul’s Drag Race

The headline for this week’s Trackstravaganza is a little bizarre, but there are lessons that track and field can take away from RuPaul’s TV show.

January 18, 2018

When Was the Best Time to be a Track Fan?

Track and field’s position among spectator sports has been in more or less constant decline for decades. So when was it the best time to be a track fan?

January 15, 2018

First Impressions of Michigan’s New Indoor Facility

A trip to Ann Arbor to get a look at the new indoor facilities by Michigan’s nifty Stephen M. Ross Athletics South Competition and Performance Center.

January 10, 2018

Thursday Reminder Indoor Track Exists

Jesse Squire brings you a look at the best early season indoor track performances and what to look ahead at for this upcoming weekend.

December 31, 2017

2017 Comeback Season Awards

In our current epoch of rap music, it can feel as if every single day is “Comeback Season” (or COMEBACK SZN, or CMBK SZN, or some other variation of dropping vowels, consonants, etc). This is silly to me for a few reasons. The most clear being the thought that a single day can constitute a season. A season is god damn season. We have four of them. I’m using “We” in the universal way because we are all bound by seasons because we exist on the same time-space continuum. So when I’m scrolling through Instagram and see my peers shouting CMBK SZN day after day, I want to slap them with a calendar and shout back “JULIUS CAESAR DIDN’T DIE SO YOU COULD DISRESPECT HIS SEASONS”.

The other reason, and perhaps the more fascinating, CMBK SZN is dumb as hell is the majority people claiming it’s their comeback never had a chance of failing. It’s mainly used by people who have experienced incredible success while entertaining a zero-chance possibility of ever returning to a place where a comeback is necessary.

Also, Can we agree it was Aubrey “Drake” Graham who started this phenomena? It seems like it was Drake. It had to have been Drake. 100% Aubrey Graham. 

Drake saying he is having a comeback season is like Matt Centrowitz claiming it’s his comeback season after winning an Olympic Gold. Something I have no proof of, but something I’ve never been so sure of in my life.

Ok, so the gist is no one can see who really enjoys a comeback season because of all the noise from people who hold a false narrative of oppression and failure. I believe two people in the world of running enjoyed a true “Comeback Season”.

Sara Hall

In 2016, Sara Hall dropped out of the Olympic Marathon Trials. Her chance at making her first Olympic team vanished. I also dropped out of the Olympic Marathon Trials, but I wasn’t that devastated because I had a bunch of friends there and my focus immediately shifted to tacos and Coronas. I’m sure she was devastated because she had an honest shot at making the team. We were at different places in our life, and that was fine.

Sara Hall needed a comeback season in 2017. She delivered one with a personal bests in the half marathon, marathon, and a national championship in the marathon.

Her 69:37 performance at the Copenhagen Half Marathon set her up nicely for a 2:27:21 marathon personal best at the Frankfurt Marathon. To cap off her legitimate CMBK SZN, she dominated the U.S Marathon Championships while taking the victory earlier this month.

THIS *CLAP EMOJI* WAS  *CLAP EMOJI* A *CLAP EMOJI* COMEBACK

Chris Derrick

This may seem like a stretch, and it probably is, but I think CD had a 2017 Comeback Season. After a year where he missed the start of the Olympic Marathon Trials due to injury and then couldn’t get into the shape he needed to be in to truly compete at the 10,000-meter Trials, one of our brightest talents was facing some hardships. This is the part of the story where he holes himself up in a room, literally takes out his degree from Stanford, hangs in on the wall, and creates an algorithm for success in 2017.

His formula worked – delivering personal bests at the New York City Half Marathon (61:12) and then guiding him to a 2:12:50 marathon debut (2nd American) at the Chicago Marathon. Chris showed he has a future in the marathon and formulas. Hell yeah, Chris.

I hope I showed not everyone can equally experience a Comeback Season. You cannot have a Comeback Season after one or two bad races. No – you have to suffer through a year of shit to deserve a Citius Comeback Season Award Tour Award. I apologize to Sara and Chris if I made their 2016 year out to be worse than it was. Because, in reality, it was probably a great year filled with family, friends, and all that nice stuff. We probably attribute too much “success” to running, but whatever. We can tackle that in 2018.

November 22, 2017

Rob Conner Explains The Strategy That Led to A Second Place Finish for Portland

Rob Conner explains the strategy and why some of Portland’s best runners did not race at the conference championship and how it worked out for them at NCAAs

November 20, 2017

Dillon Maggard Sets Blue Jeans Mile World Record 4:11.80, Two Days After NCAA Nationals

Dillon Maggard just ran 4:11.80 for the mile in a pair of blue jeans – just two days after he was 6th at the NCAA Cross Country National Championship.

November 20, 2017

Thoughts on the NCAA Cross Country Championships

Jesse Squire breaks down his thoughts and observations from the 2017 NCAA Cross Country National Championships, where he was on-site for the action.

November 20, 2017

PHOTOS: 2017 NCAA Cross Country National Championship

Check out our photo gallery of shots from the 2017 NCAA Cross Country National Championships captured by Brandon Sotelo in Louisville, Kentucky.

November 20, 2017

What we learned from the 2017 NCAA Cross Country National Championships

Processing some of the results from the 2017 NCAA cross country national championships where the New Mexico women and NAU men took home team titles.

November 15, 2017

Throwback Cross Country Races That Every Runner Should Watch, Know

Jesse Squire takes us through 3 cross country races that every runner should watch and know. Races include Steve Prefontaine, Alberto Salazar and more.

November 14, 2017

A Visual History of the NCAA XC Championships and What It Tells Us

Jesse Squire provides a visual display of the past NCAA cross country championships and what it may mean for the 2017 NCAA Championship.

November 13, 2017

Remember when Jorge Torres lost his mind for Dathan Ritzenhein?

The finish of the 2003 NCAA Cross Country National Championships between Dathan Ritzenhein and Ryan Hall is epic and the call is even better.

November 13, 2017

The Case For and Against San Francisco Winning The NCAA Cross Country Title

Isaac Wood lays out some of the reasons why he could see the San Francisco women’s team winning the NCAA cross country championship.

November 13, 2017

The Case For and Against NAU Winning The NCAA Cross Country Title

Isaac Wood breaks down the reasons why Northern Arizona’s men will and won’t defend their 2017 NCAA Cross Country National Championship.

November 9, 2017

The $hark’$ Guide to Getting Rich Off of Per Diem

One day you’re going to graduate college and if you don’t know any better, you’re going to misuse that per diem in the future at a real job.

November 2, 2017

The Athlete Special: SUB 9 TIME TRIAL AND PRESS CONFERENCE?!?!

The Georgetown boys get together for a heated two-mile race. The press conference may be one of the most heated in the history of sports.

October 31, 2017

The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Robert Cosby at 2010 WCC Champs

A very short story behind Robert Crosby’s blue collar run at the 2010 WCC Championships, where he broke San Francisco’s heart.

October 30, 2017

Everything You Need To Know From A Wild Conference Championship Weekend

From BYU’s perfect score to Columbia’s first-to-last turnaround, get your fill on all the best moments from conference championship weekend 2017.

October 25, 2017

Louie Luchini on the Stanford “Machine,” Best Ryan Hall Story and Politics in the Age of Trump

Kevin Liao chats cross country and a hint of politics with former Stanford star and current Maine House of Representatives member Louie Luchini.

October 16, 2017

The Athlete Special – PRE-NATIONALS: Two Worlds Collide

Had a good time at Pre-Nationals but the best part of this episode of the Athlete Special may be the cameo by Emma Abrahamson.

October 15, 2017

What happened in cross country this weekend? Wisconsin & Pre-Nats

Taking in all of the weekend’s action from the Wisconsin Invite and Pre-Nats: Who is better NAU or BYU? Who runs for Portland? Can the New Mexico women win?

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