By Jesse Squire
June 6, 2018
Today begins the NCAA outdoor track and field championships, the last meet ever held in the historic version of Hayward Field. Yesterday, I helped Chris Chavez preview the meet on the CITIUS MAG podcast, and below is everything you need to know about today’s action.
Wednesday is all men’s competition.
Today’s finals are the 10,000 meters plus five field events and the first day of the decathlon.
HOW TO WATCH
3:30pm EDT (12:30pm PDT) at ESPN3.com — separate feeds for decathlon and each field event
7:30pm EDT (4:30pm PDT) on ESPN2
8:30pm EDT (5:30pm PDT) on ESPN
Here is a fun and useful team scoring tracker with several different ways to project team scores–you can even customize it. It will be updated after each semifinal and final.
WHO ARE THE FAVORITES?
The Florida Gators are the overwhelming favorites for the team championship. The contenders for the rest of the four team trophies are Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Houston, Oregon, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and USC.
Florida is expecting somewhere between 10 and 16 points in the long jump and 6 or 7 points in the hammer throw. They’re also expecting finalists in the 110 hurdles and both relays. The Gators may or may not be the team leader after today, but they should be the top team out of the contenders listed above.
Alabama is expecting 10 or more points out of the 10k as well as scoring in the hammer. Georgia is expecting to contend for the win in the shot and the hammer.
The running event semifinals will be crucial for Houston. The various formcharts project five Cougars to qualify to Friday’s finals (in the 100, 400, 110 hurdles, and steeplechase) plus both relays.
The 10,000 meters should have a strong team element. Alabama’s Vincent Kiprop is the favorite and teammate Gilbert Kigen is expected to contend as well. Northern Arizona teammates Matthew Baxter and Tyler Day beat Kigen at last fall’s NCAA Cross Country Championships. BYU has four qualifiers, led by Connor McMillan and Rory Linkletter, who finished second last year.
Kansas’ Gleb Dudarev is the favorite in the hammer throw. Two-time defending champion Rudy Winkler used up his Ivy League eligibility at Cornell and is now a graduate transfer at Rutgers. Georgia’s Denzel Comenentia should be in the top three, and Alabama needs points out of Daniel Haugh.
Florida’s Grant Holloway and Oregon’s Damarcus Simpson are the co-favorites in the long jump. The Gators’ KeAndre Bates shouldn’t be ignored either. Texas Tech has a pair of jumpers who should score in Charles Brown and Odaine Lewis.
South Dakota’s Chris Nilsen won the pole vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships last year, then finished 3rd at the outdoor and 2nd at this year’s indoor. The winners at those two meets, Akron’s Matt Ludwig and Kansas’ Hussain Alhizam, are in the field. Audie Wyatt and Jacob Wooten are potential scorers for Texas A&M.
Mississippi State has two contenders in the javelin, Anderson Peters and Nicolas Quijera. Peters is a freshman from Grenada who won bronze at the Commonwealth Games in April, while Quijera was last year’s runner-up. Utah State’s Sindri Gudmundsson is also a favorite.
Georgia’s Denzel Comenentia will be doing a rare one-day NCAA throwing double in both the hammer and shot put and could win both. There are two big question marks in this event in Mostafa Hassan (Colorado State) and Jordan Geist (Arizona). Hassan was dominant all of last year and indoors this year, but has only thrown twice during the outdoor season and hasn’t looked good. Geist is a freshman who put up the year’s best collegiate mark back in January but hasn’t been able to match it since. The outdoor yearly leader is North Dakota State’s Payton Otterdahl, who struggled with foul problems early in the outdoor season before putting together the two best meets of the outdoor season in the first two weeks of May.
I was second in the 1980 Olympic* long jump. (*Cub Scout Olympics, Pack 99, 9-10 age group.)