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NCAA

June 10, 2017

Oregon Wins Women’s NCAA Championship in a Thriller

All we could say as we walked back to the hotel was “Wow . . . wow”. This was a meet we will never forget.

Complete results

Yesterday Florida had a near-perfect day while Texas A&M did not and that determined the men’s championship. Today Georgia had a completely perfect day and Oregon had plenty of missteps, but the Ducks squeaked out a championship anyway.

Georgia started off with 24.2 points from Thursday’s field events and had just four entries today. Those entries were Kendell Williams in the heptathlon, an event she’d twice won before; Keturah Orji in the triple jump, an event in which she’d never lost; and Mady Fagan and Tatiana Gusin in the high jump, who went 1-2 at the NCAA indoor championships. The Bulldogs got three wins and a second to max out their scoring potential at 62.2 points.

Oregon had so much that it looked inevitable that they’d win, but it was far closer than anyone expected. They had no points when the day began but fourteen entries. In event after event they were almost there.

Katie Rainsberger was part of a five-wide dash to the finish in the 1500 and led with as little as 40 meters to go but ended up fourth. Alaysha Johnson contended early in the hurdles but ended up fourth with teammate Sasha Wallace—the NCAA indoor champion—back in sixth. Elexis Guster moved well at the end of the 400 but could only get sixth. Deajah Stevens and Ariana Washington ran well in the 100 for second and fourth. The most alarming moment was in the 200, where Stevens led around the turn and down the stretch, got challenged by Florida’s Kyra Jefferson, then suffered a complete form breakdown and fell some 15 meters from the finish. Washington took second, but Stevens’ fall was a huge loss of points. And in the 5000 meters, Samantha Nadel and Lilli Burdon were in great scoring position with 200 meters to go and then faded to 8th and 9th for a single point.

What saved Oregon’s bacon was the 800 meters. Raevyn Rogers won her sixth NCAA championship, and teammate Brooke Feldmeier ran a brilliant race for third, a PR by nearly two full seconds.

Still, it meant that the Ducks had to win the 4×400 in order to win the meet. Despite the fact that Oregon ran the fifth-fastest time in collegiate history at the Penn Relays back in April, it was quickly apparent that this too would take everything they had. USC was ahead at the first two exchanges and retook the lead immediately after the final one. Rogers was on the anchor leg and took the lead with 200 to go, but even then it wasn’t secure. Only in the final steps did she pull away for the win.

The Three Stars
In the style of pro hockey, our picks for the meet’s three stars…

The First Star: Raevyn Rogers
Rogers simply would not allow her team to lose. She ran with ice water in her veins. She split (approximately) 27-31-31-31 in the 800 for a 2:00.02 win, then came back and anchored the 4×400 in 49.77 for another win. Oh, and Oregon broke the collegiate record too – 3:23.13. That would have won bronze at last summer’s Olympics.

The Second Star: Kyra Jefferson
Florida’s sprint star won the 200 in a collegiate record time of 22.02, breaking the altitude-aided mark of 22.04 that had stood since 1989. She also took her 4×100 team from way back up into third and ran a leg on the sixth-place 4×400.

The Third Star: Maggie Ewen
Ewen scored in three throwing events, a rare accomplishment, and broke the collegiate record in the hammer. Her 21 points in the throws came from first in the hammer, second in the discus, and sixth in the shot put.

Bonus – Fourth Star! Allie Ostrander
The Boise State redshirt freshman won the steeplechase in just her fourth attempt at the distance. She ran away from New Hampshire’s Elinor Purrier over the last half-lap and looked like she had plenty more to give. Eighty minutes later she went to the start line in the 5000 meters and ran fourth. I’ll have to research it to be sure, but I’d guess she’s the first to ever score at the NCAAs in both the steeplechase and 5000 in a single day.

Biggest surprise: 1500 meters
The pace went out so slow that runners were five wide coming around the first turn and it never really got fast enough to lose anyone until less than 300 to go. Slow paces like that favor chaos and unpredictability and that’s what we got. With 50 meters to go there were still five abreast coming to the finish line: Katie Rainsberger (Oregon), Dani Jones (Colorado), Karisa Nelson (Samford), Nikki Hiltz (Arkansas), and Jamie Phelan (Michigan). The Wolverine managed to pull it out by two hundredths of a second, going from last at the bell to first at the finish. It was Michigan’s first win in this event at the outdoor nationals, and in fact they had never before finished in the top three. Phelan was part of Michigan’s cross country team that lost the NCAA Championships by a single point to Oregon, and now she is a national champion.

June 10, 2017

Saturday NCAA Viewer’s Guide: Women’s Championship Finals

Today is the final day of men’s competition at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Below is everything you need to know about who, what, when, why, and how to watch the meet.

Key links
Live results
ESPN3 coverage
Live twitter coverage via yours truly

The Schedule
Here is today’s meet schedule in visual form (click for larger version). Pink indicates that it’s all women’s competition today.

Video coverage is via ESPN3 from 2:30pm until 6:30pm (EDT), and the evening finals will be shown live on ESPN.

Who is going to win the team competition?
Oregon is going to win this unless they suffer an implosion of historic standards. They have not yet scored but have fourteen qualifiers today, eleven of which are guaranteed to score as long as they reach the finish line. It’s essentially inevitable.

First place is not the only one that matters, though. The top four teams win trophies, and who will win the other three is very much up in the air. USC, Arkansas, and Georgia are the leading candidates but there are others who could make a run at it. Below is a chart of those teams and their entries (click for larger version). Colorado is one more team that could win a trophy if they have a strong series of results in the distance races.

EVENT PREVIEWS

Heptathlon
Start lists and live results
Barring injury, Georgia’s Kendell Williams will win her third NCAA heptathlon championship. Second place looks like it could be close. While Kansas State freshman Nina Schultz is currently in fifth place, her strengths lie in today’s events and she could move up to second. Arkansas has a strong trio in Payton Stumbaugh, Taliyah  Brooks, and Leigha Brown, and the Hogs should score some big points here. Wichita State’s Nikki Larch-Miller barely qualified to the NCAA Championships but is having a great meet and just might end up on the awards stand. Below is a summary that shows each athletes’ PRs in the second-day events and how the final standings might play out.

High Jump
Start lists and live results
The favorites are Georgia’s Mady Fagan and Tatiana Gusin–they took the top two spots at the NCAA Indoor Championships–so the Bulldogs have major scoring potential here. The best mark of the outdoor season is 1.90 meters (6′ 2.75″) by UNLV’s Kaysee Pilgrim, but it’s a bit of a one-off performance; her second-best career jump is 5cm short of that. Logan Boss (Mississippi State) and Stacey Destin (Alabama) are two more to watch. Kentucky has an outside scoring chance with Ellen Ekholm.

Discus
Start lists and live results
Arizona State’s Maggie Ewen has already won the hammer throw (with a new meet record) and placed sixth in the shot put. She’s attempting her third throwing event here and is among the favorites. She is one of three women to throw over 60 meters this year, the others being Kansas State’s Shade Lawrence and Florida State’s Kellion Knib. Knob and Lawrence are the top two returners from last year’s championship, and both are undefeated this year against collegiate competition. Lurking as a possible upset is shot put champion Danielle Thomas of Kent State.

Triple Jump
Start lists and live results
The most dominant athlete in the entire meet is Georgia triple jumper Ketura Orji. She is already not just the best collegiate triple jumper of all time but the best American triple jumper of all time. She holds the collegiate record (and all of the top six jumps in collegiate history) and the American record (and all of the top three jumps in US history). She has never been beaten in collegiate competition, and her fourth place finish at last summer’s Olympics is the best ever by an American. In an event typical decided by inches or less, she’s two feet better than anyone else in this meet. In short, the competition here is for second place.

4×100 Relay

This is a race of survivors. Co-collegiate record holders Oregon and LSU suffered the dreaded DQ on the way to the championship, as did Texas A&M, Miami, and Auburn — half of the year’s ten fastest teams. It’s probably going to come down to Florida, Alabama, and Kentucky…if they can get the baton around.

1500 meters

This race matches up three former NCAA champions. Mississippi State’s Price won this event two years ago, but hasn’t performed to that level since. Sanford’s Karissa Nelson won the NCAA indoor mile this year and has backed it up with fast times outdoors. Colorado’s Dani Jones won the NCAA indoor 3000 and outran all the mile specialists to win the distance medley from behind. Oregon’s Rainsberger will probably begin the scoring onslaught. If you hadn’t already heard, sisters Christina and Danielle Aragon are racing each other.

Steeplechase

New Hampshire’s Purrier is the favorite but there are a few newcomers who could upset the apple cart. Boise State cross country star Allie Ostrander is running just her fourth steeplechase ever and already looks very good at it. Another to watch is Colorado freshman Madison Boreman, who will be running her sixth steeplechase ever.

100m Hurdles

Oregon and USC each have two finalists and should come away with a large amount of points. The clear favorite is Camacho-Quinn, the defending champion, although Amusan appears her equal.

100 meters

By their own high standards, Oregon’s Stevens and Washington ran like garbage in Thursday’s semifinals and barely qualified to the final. I’m not sure what to make out of that. The favorite is probably LSU’s Hobbs, but she didn’t run well in the semis either. Daniels is the reigning NCAA champion at 60 meters so expect her to lead early and try to hang on.

400 meters

This is expected to be a three-way battle. Wimbley and Ellis went 1-2 at the NCAA Indoor Championships while Gordon had the best semifinal. Guster will add yet more points to Oregon’s total.

800 meters

Oregon might clinch the championship right here. That would be appropriate since the 800 is where the sprints and the distances meet, which perfectly describes the profile of this Duck team. Rogers is as overwhelmingly a favorite as you’d expect from a five-time NCAA champion who holds the collegiate record.

400m Hurdles

Expect a battle between Iuel and Watson, the two fastest and most accomplished athletes in the race. USC will score big here and, if Oregon is having a terrible day, could put themselves in contention.

200 meters

Oregon’s Stevens and Washington looked much better in the 200 semis than the 100 semis, particularly Stevens who rates as the favorite. Brown is better than most people expected, since the last half of her outdoor season was run in the kind of terrible weather you get in Big Ten country.

5000 meters
Start lists and live results
Missouri’s Karissa Schweizer is the favorite. She was the NCAA champion in cross country last fall and at the NCAA Indoor Championships she won the 5000 and took second in the 3000. Only two women entered in this race have beaten her at any time in the last nine months. Those are Erin Clark (Colorado) and Peyton Bilo (Cal Poly) who beat her at the cross country Pre-Nationals in October. Oregon has yet more scoring firepower in this race with Samantha Nadel and Lilli Burdon.

4×400 Relay

This will probably just be piling on for Oregon. But in the unlikely scenario that the Ducks need to win the relay to win the meet, they have one of the best squads in collegiate history. The second, third, and fourth place trophies could be in play at this point and most of the contenders are in the race.

June 10, 2017

Pumped Up Picks: Devon Allen’s Pre-Race Playlist

What does U.S. Olympian Devon Allen listen to before a big race? In the latest installment of Pumped Up Picks, he shares his pre-race playlist.

June 10, 2017

PHOTOS: NCAA Outdoor Championship (Day 3) by Dane Schubert

Photos from the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. All photos by Dane Schubert.

June 9, 2017

Florida Gators Win NCAA Title, Coleman Completes Historic Sweep

The Florida Gators captured their second consecutive NCAA men’s team title. Christian Coleman completed his indoor & outdoor sprint title sweep.

June 9, 2017

Where the heck do all these Division I NCAA Track and Field Championships qualifiers come from?

We take a deep dive into the hometowns, states, and countries of all the 850 athletes competing in this week’s NCAA Track and Field Championships.

June 9, 2017

Friday NCAA Viewer’s Guide: Men’s Championship Finals

Today is the final day of men’s competition at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Below is everything you need to know about who, what, when, why, and how to watch the meet.

Key links
Live results
ESPN3 coverage
Live twitter coverage via yours truly

The Schedule
Here is today’s meet schedule in visual form (click for larger version). The women’s heptathlon begins today and is shown in pink; all the rest of the events are men’s competition.

Video coverage is via ESPN3 from 3:30pm until 8:30pm (EDT), and the evening finals will be shown live on ESPN.

Who is going to win the team competition?
The experts at Track & Field News rate this as a toss-up between Texas A&M and Florida. The Aggies and Gators have been in this position before; the title was decided by a mere half-point at this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships and the two tied for the championship in 2013. Since the NCAA awards trophies to the top four teams, I have identified nine teams most likely to contend for those trophies (Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, BYU, Florida Georgia, LSU, Oregon, and Texas A&M) and have highlighted their entries in my individual event previews.

Below is a handy guide to tell you who has scored how many points and what events they’re in today.

Texas A&M has a lead over Florida but it will almost certainly dwindle as the evening wears on, and things will really come to a head as the field events finish up.

EVENT PREVIEWS

Women’s heptathlon
Begins at 12:30pm local time (3:30pm EDT) and runs all day
Start lists & live results
In seven previous NCAA heptathlon/pentathlon championships, Georgia’s Kendell Williams has six wins and a second. She is the strongest favorite to win in the entire women’s championship. After that it’s up in the air since just four of last year’s top twelve return: Williams, Payton Stumbaugh (Arkansas), Leigha Brown (Arkansas), and Jackie Siefring (Akron). Arkansas could have three or even four women score points; the Hogs’ Stumbaugh and Taliyah Brooks have the year’s second-and third-best marks. I think Siefring could be a surprise. I will have more detailed analysis tomorrow.

High Jump
5:00pm local time (8:00pm EDT)
Start list & live results
The vertical jumps are always unpredictable and the recent crop of collegiate high jumpers is especially so. Two-time NCAA indoor champion Trey Culver (Texas Tech) has never finished better than fifth at the outdoor championship. Kyle Landon (Southern Illinois) finished second at both this year’s NCAA indoor and last year’s Olympic Trials. Florida has a pair of qualifiers in Clayton Brown and Jhonny Victor and the Gators are equally capable of coming up with big points or nothing at all.

Discus
5:05pm local time (8:05pm EDT)
Start list & live results
Ole Miss’ Brian Williams is undefeated against collegians in 2017 and has the year’s longest throw. Defending champion Nick Percy (Nebraska) is also undefeated in the discus this year. Brothers Phil and Reggie Jagers compete for archrivals Akron and Kent State and could fight for the win as well. Oregon might be able to pick up a few more points from Ryan Hunter-Simms.

Triple Jump
5:40pm local time (8:40pm EDT)
Start list & live results
This event is going to be crucial for Florida. KeAndre Bates is favored to finish off a long jump/triple jump sweep and get ten more points for his Gators. Teammate Clayton Brown will be doing double duty in the high jump and that may affect his ability to perform in either or both events. Eric Sloan (USC), Clive Pullen (Arkansas), and Felix Obi (Baylor) are the other major contenders.

4×100 Relay

As we saw in yesterday’s women’s semifinals, this event tends towards chaos. Houston probably has the most speed but has had exchange problems all year. Unheralded North Carolina A&T could actually win this – they have possibly the best anchor in Christopher Belcher. Texas A&M is looking to score as many points as possible.

1500 meters

New Mexico’s Kerr is a strong favorite. He was NCAA indoor champion where he became one of the few collegians to ever beat Edward Cheserek, and looked very good in Wednesday’s semis. Ole Miss’ Engels is rated has having the best chance to beat him. Oregon’s Haney has proved himself as a very good racer as well.

Steeplechase

Louisville’s Kibichy is the favorite: he is the top returner from last year’s championships (third), has the year’s fastest time, and won his conference championship and his semifinal. Oklahoma’s Blankenbaker hit a barrier and fell hard in his semi and still managed to qualify; if he can stay on his feet he might be a factor.

110m Hurdles

Holloway is the favorite based on winning the NCAA indoor title in March, but this is a true toss-up race. Kendziera or Walters could win it, as could Mallet. Florida needs big points out of Holloway.

100 meters

Coleman shocked the stadium with a 9.82 run in Wednesday’s semifinals – a huge collegiate record, the world’s leading time, and good for #4 on the all-time US list. The weather may or may not permit such fireworks today. In Coleman’s wake two other ran great semis: Burrell and Belcher each won their semis in 9.93. Every finalist now has a PR of 10.00 or better.

400 meters

As with the 100, the weather may inhibit record-setting. Texas A&M’s Fred Kerley set the collegiate record with 43.70 two weeks ago and looks like he could do more. In any case, the Aggies must get ten points in this race. Chambers has a history of coming out of nowhere to score big at the NCAA final. Every qualifier has a PR of 45.02 or better.

800 meters

This race looks like Korir’s to win. He’s run tremendously fast times in both the 800 and 400. The 800 is an inherently unpredictable event, though. Both Texas A&M and Florida will score here, the question is simply how much.

400m Hurdles

This is the event that won the championship for Florida last year, when they swept the top two spots for 18 points. Defending champion Futch ran a PR in the semis but still got beaten by Mowatt, so things appear a bit more complicated this year. Texas A&M needs some good scoring from Grant. Both Kendziera and Palmer will be finishing off a rare 110H-400H double.

200 meters

Coleman is expected to finish off a tremendous sprint double, but both Richards and Belcher are plenty fast themselves and are more than capable of sub-20.00 clockings.

5000 meters

“TFN” refers to position on the Track & Field News formchart
In the absence of umpteen-time NCAA Champion Edward Cheserek, the mantle of favorite goes to Syracuse’s Justyn Knight. He’s been close to winning a national title many times and might be finally able to do it. Tulsa’s Marc Scott showed off his kicking ability in winning Wednesday’s 10k, but how much gas does he have left? Colorado has a trio of potential scorers who might decide to work together.

4×400 Relay

Texas A&M has speed to burn and has the best anchor in the history of college track, the record-holding Fred Kerley. Barring disaster they will get ten points here. Florida is capable of being second and could win the team championship by doing so, but beating Auburn and/or Alabama is not going to be easy.

June 9, 2017

PHOTOS: NCAA Outdoor Championship (Day 1 &2) by Dane Schubert

Photos from the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. All photos by Dane Schubert.

June 8, 2017

Thursday NCAA Viewer’s Guide: Running Events

The NCAA Championships continue today, starting with the conclusion of the decathlon at 1:30pm Eastern time (10:30am Pacific). Women’s competition opens today with five field event finals plus running event semis. I’m splitting my preview for today into two parts; field events were published earlier today. Below is everything you need to know about today’s running event action.

Key Links:
Live results
ESPN3 coverage
Live twitter coverage via yours truly

The Schedule
To the left (or above on mobile platforms) is today’s schedule presented in visual form.

Pink and blue indicates men’s and women’s competition (all women except the decathlon). Starting times for field events are exact but how long each will take is a guess.

ESPN3 will cover the decathlon and field events up through 7:30pm (Eastern), when the television broadcast will begin on ESPNU. It will switch over to ESPN2 at 8:30pm.

Who is going to win the team championship?
Today is the first day of the women’s competition. Oregon is figured as a lock to win, despite losing sprinter Hannah Cunliffe to injury and their 4×100 relay suffering the dreaded out-of-zone disqualification two weeks ago. The Ducks are so loaded and across so many events that it appears more or less a foregone conclusion. If somehow they were to suffer a Golden-State-Warriors-2016-NBA-finals level of implosion, then there are a handful of team that could win it: USC, Arkansas, Georgia, or LSU.

All of the top four teams in the final standings walk away with trophies. I have identified eight teams I think are fighting for those four trophies (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Oregon, Texas A&M, and USC) and have highlighted them in each event preview.

Tonight’s only running event final is the…

10,000 meters
Begins at 7:08pm local time (10:08pm EDT)
Start list and live results
Note: “TFN” refers to the Track & Field News formcharts

The conventional wisdom has this as a battle between Wright (New Mexico) and Rohrer (Notre Dame), but there are no strong favorites here. It could be a fascinating race since any of a number of runners could take the bull by the horns and try to pull off an upset. One accomplished runner who seems to be getting ignored is Tennessee’s Chelsea Blaase, who has run only three races this year. Another who could surprise is Eastern Michigan’s Jordan McDermitt.

Semifinal previews…

4×100 Relay semis
4:32pm local time (7:32pm EDT)
Format: top two in each heat plus the next two fastest qualify to Saturday’s final

Start lists and live results

As no doubt you will hear all afternoon, Oregon’s record-setting relay did not qualify due to passing out of the zone at the regionals two weeks ago. That’s how things often go in this event, where the margin for error is small. LSU tied the record that Oregon set and is a heavy favorite. The likely qualifiers are all SEC plus San Diego State and maybe one or two ACC teams.

1500 meter semis
4:46pm local time (7:46pm EDT)
Format: top five in each heat plus the next two fastest qualify to Saturday’s final

Start lists and live results

Four different women in these semis have won NCAA championships at one time or another, although it’s been a while since Price (Mississippi State) has performed at that level. Sisters Danielle and Christina Aragon are in the same semifinal heat and both are capable of getting to the final.

Steeplechase semis
5:02pm local time (8:02pm EDT)
Format: top five in each heat plus the next two fastest qualify to Saturday’s final

Start lists and live results

Very few of these women have NCAA Championships experience in the steeplechase, and the most interesting of them all has very little experience in the steeplechase at all. That’s Boise State’s Allie Ostrander, the 2015 NCAA cross country runner-up. Today will be just the third time she’s ever run the event. It looks like it may take 10:00 to get to the final, and another newcomer who might upset the apple cart is Colorado freshman Madison Boreman.

100m Hurdles semis
5:32pm local time (8:32pm EDT)
Format: top two in each heat plus the next two fastest qualify to Saturday’s final

Start lists and live results

Oregon has yet more firepower in this event with two women expected to qualify to the final. USC is in the same situation except their pair is a bit more tenuous. Of all the top hurdlers, I think Devynn Charlton (Purdue) is the one getting the least respect and I think she’ll prove how good she is right here.

100 meter semis
5:46pm local time (8:46pm EDT)
Format: top two in each heat plus the next two fastest qualify to Saturday’s final

Start lists and live results

Stevens and Washington are two of the engines that drive Oregon’s train. It’s unlikely that Hobbs could put on the kind of record-breaking show that Christian Coleman did yesterday, but she might be capable of it. These semis will go a long way in determining whether anyone can challenge Oregon for the team championship, and if so which team it will be.

400 meter semis
6:00pm local time (9:00pm EDT)
Format: top two in each heat plus the next two fastest qualify to Saturday’s final

Start lists and live results

Oregon is likely to rack up even more qualifiers here, and USC and/or LSU could do the same. Despite Wimbley winning the NCAA indoor title in March, Ellis is the favorite to win on Saturday.

800 meter semis
6:14pm local time (9:14pm EDT)
Format: top two in each heat plus the next two fastest qualify to Saturday’s final

Start lists and live results

Oregon will more than likely get yet another final qualifier here and maybe two. I think the second and third heats are going to be the most interesting. Villanova’s Cleirigh Buttner hasn’t run overly fast times but proved herself to be a great racer at the Penn Relays, and she’s up against Oregon’s Rogers, the collegiate record holder and four-time NCAA champion. Heat 3 features a very fast freshman, Texas A&M’s Fray, and some experienced competitors in the form of Green and Collinsworth.

400m Hurdle semis
6:30pm local time (9:30pm EDT)
Format: top two in each heat plus the next two fastest qualify to Saturday’s final

Start lists and live results

If it is possible for USC to challenge Oregon for the championship, they’ll have to max out on points in this event and get two qualifier. The same likely goes for LSU. Watson, a 2016 Olympic semifinalist for Canada, is the favorite.

200 meter semis
6:44pm local time (9:44pm EDT)
Format: top two in each heat plus the next two fastest qualify to Saturday’s final

Start lists and live results

Another event, more likely Oregon finalists.

4×400 Relay semis
7:48pm local time (10:48pm EDT)
Format: top two in each heat plus the next two fastest qualify to Saturday’s final

Start lists and live results

Qualifying is a mere formality for the very best 4×400 relays, which Oregon and USC undoubtedly are. Texas A&M and Miami probably fit that description as well. It’s the teams on the edge that have to really run, ones like Florida, Purdue, and Ohio State.

June 8, 2017

Summer Travel, Training and Running Tips: Part I

Becky Wade encourages runners to spend their summers trainings and exploring a new setting to shake up your running spots.

June 8, 2017

Graduating seniors: How to exit with a bang, not a whimper at NCAAs

For the vast majority of seniors competing at NCAAs, their competitive career ends with their event. Here’s how to make a splash into civilian life.

June 8, 2017

Thursday NCAA Viewer’s Guide: Decathlon and Field Events

The NCAA Championships continue today, starting with the conclusion of the decathlon at 1:30pm Eastern time (10:30am Pacific). Women’s competition opens today with five field event finals plus running event semis. I’m splitting my preview for today into two parts; track events will be published later today. Below is everything you need to know about today’s decathlon and field event action.

Key Links:
Live results
ESPN3 coverage
Live twitter coverage via yours truly

The Schedule
To the left (or above on mobile platforms) is today’s schedule presented in visual form.

Pink and blue indicates men’s and women’s competition (all women except the decathlon). Starting times for field events are exact but how long each will take is a guess.

ESPN3 will cover the decathlon and field events up through 7:30pm (Eastern), when the television broadcast will begin on ESPNU. It will switch over to ESPN2 at 8:30pm.

Who is going to win the team championship?
Today is the first day of the women’s competition. Oregon is figured as a lock to win, despite losing sprinter Hannah Cunliffe to injury and their 4×100 relay suffering the dreaded out-of-zone disqualification two weeks ago. The Ducks are so loaded and across so many events that it appears more or less a foregone conclusion. If somehow they were to suffer a Golden-State-Warriors-2016-NBA-finals level of implosion, then there are a handful of team that could win it: USC, Arkansas, Georgia, or LSU.

All of the top four teams in the final standings walk away with trophies. I have identified eight teams I think are fighting for those four trophies (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Oregon, Texas A&M, and USC) and have highlighted them in each event preview.

Decathlon
Begins at 10:30am local time (1:30pm EDT), runs all day
Live results
Texas A&M’s Lindon Victor twice set the collegiate record this year. That mean’s he’s going to win it easy today, right? Not so fast, my friend.

Georgia’s Devon Williams is making a run at him and just might be able to pull off the upset. Williams won the heptathlon at the NCAA Indoor Championships, where Victor’s strengths in the discus and javelin were not part of the competition. Take a look at the table below. I’ve taken each competitor’s first-day score and added the points equivalents of their PRs in the second-day events. It shows just six points separating Williams and Victor.

All events matter here but a few matter more than others. First off, Williams’ hurdle PR is not a typo – he really has run 13.37. He won the SEC Championships with that (and beat Grant Holloway, the favorite to win Friday’s NCAA final). If he can reproduce that today it would be a world record for the decathlon. In any case, he can and must make a huge point differential with Victor. Second is the pole vault. It’s difficult to win a decathlon in the vault but an early exit can lose it, so either man could torpedo his chances if he’s not careful.

Besides those two, Williams must manage his losses in the discus and javelin. Victor will beat him in those two events and by a lot. But if he keeps it close, then we’ll get one of the best things you can hope for: a decathlon that comes down to the 1500.

Hammer Throw
2:00pm local time (5:00pm EDT)
Format: two flights (top 12 seeds in second flight) then finals

Start lists & live results

“TFN” indicates position on the Track & Field News formchart.
Ratcliffe has won NCAA hardware in the past including the 2014 championship, but Ewen has made huge improvements in the last year and is the clear favorite. After those two, hardly anyone has NCAA Championships experience. Given that the forecast calls for rain, this is an event where an advantage could go to athletes accustomed to competing in bad weather (such as those from the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Pacific Northwest). Very few of the top teams have qualifiers in the hammer, let alone much of a chance at scoring.

Pole Vault
Begins at 5:00pm local time (8:00pm EDT)
Start lists and live results

Two-time NCAA Champion Lexi Weeks is the favorite, but chaos happens in the pole vault. One need look no further than the indoor championships back in March, where Alabama’s Lakan Taylor took a surprise win. Add in some rain and things could get extra chaotic. If experience in bad weather helps (maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t) then the advantage likely goes to Grove (South Dakota) and Clute (Indiana). Arkansas picked up huge points in this event on their way to the team championship last year, and would need to be close to maxing out to have a chance at it again.

Javelin Throw
Begins at 5:45pm local time (8:45pm EDT)
Format: two flights (top 12 seeds in second flight) then finals

Start lists and live results

I’d rate this as a toss-up between Wales (LSU) and Sediva (Virginia Tech), with Vucenovic (Florida) and Malone (Texas A&M) as both having realistic chances as well. This is the rare women’s throwing event that will play a large role in which teams win the trophies up for grabs. Haley Crouser (Texas) will have big crowd support since she’s an Oregon native and part of the Crouser throwing clan.

Long Jump
Begins at 6:00pm local time (9:00pm EDT)
Format: two concurrent flights in adjacent pits, then finals

Start lists and live results

As you can see above, Burks (Alabama) and Saunders (Kentucky) have three national championships and nine top-three finishes between them. The expectation is another battle. Oregon’s Foster is not expected to score, but has been on a sharp upward curve and could surprise.

Shot Put
6:40pm local time (9:40pm EDT)
Format: two concurrent flights in adjacent circles, then finals


Quick: which athlete in the NCAA has had the most dominant collegiate career? Everyone knows about Cheserek, but there others who are every bit as good or better but fly under the radar because they compete in women’s field events. One of them is Ole Miss junior Raven Saunders. Save an inexplicable 12th-place bomb at the 2016 NCAA indoor championships, she has never lost a shot put competition to a fellow collegian. She holds the collegiate record, the top three throws in collegiate history, and seven of the top ten. She finished fifth in the Olympics last summer, and a twenty-year-old doing that in a throwing event is comparable to a sixteen-year-old doing it in any other event.

But something weird happened this spring. She competed in an outdoor meet in late March and then not again until the NCAA regionals two weeks ago. I tried to find out what happened – was she injured? All I could discover is that she had a long suspension due to an unspecified violation of team rules.

She’s here, but short on competition and not totally sharpened up. Even so, I see only one woman who could take advantage and pull off the upset. That’s Kent State’s Dani Thomas, the NCAA indoor runner-up whose PR (18.49) is just outside the all-time collegiate top ten.

June 8, 2017

Coleman Destroys Record, Scott Wins 10k at NCAAs

Your full recap from the first day of action at the 2017 NCAA Championships. We saw a collegiate record in the 100 meters by Christian Coleman.

June 7, 2017

Wake up to Lopez Lomong winning the 2007 NCAA 1500 meters

Watch Lopez Lomong run one of the fastest collegiate 1500m races of all time executed at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

June 6, 2017

Wednesday NCAA Viewer’s Guide: Running Events

The NCAA Championships get underway today, and the running events begin at 4:30pm in Eugene (7:30pm EST). The now-wide-open men’s 10,000 meters is the…

June 6, 2017

Wednesday NCAA Viewer’s Guide: Decathlon and Field Events

Everything you need to know about the NCAA Outdoor Championships decathlon and field event action beginning at 12:30 PST.

June 6, 2017

The five stages of racing Edward Cheserek

When you race against Edward Cheserek, you play through a bunch of scenarios in your head. For just a moment, you can think you’ll beat him.

June 6, 2017

The Athlete Special: BOSTON TWILIGHT 800m

Spencer may not be at NCAAs but he just competed at the Boston Twilight meet and got after it in the 800m.

June 6, 2017

Sam Parsons’ Farewell Letter to N.C. State

Sam Parsons pens a letter to his teammates before he competes in an NC State uniform one last time at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

June 5, 2017

With several favorites absent from NCAAs, here’s what to watch for instead

Several of the projected favorites from NCAAs will be no-goes due to injury. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty to watch out for at this weekend’s meet.

June 5, 2017

Wake up to German Fernandez winning the 2009 NCAA 1500 meters

Watch as German Fernandez executed a wire-to-wire masterpiece in the 1,500 meters at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

June 4, 2017

It’s OK to quit running: Why stopping might be exactly what you need

Running can give you a lot, but it can take just as much away. Citius newcomer Jenny DeSouchet discusses why it’s okay to quit running.

June 3, 2017

The Ten Commandments of Summer Cross Country Training

On the first day, of the first week after I graduated from high school, I was putzing around in a vast, empty shopping mall. My legs grew weary from trying to locate the Auntie Anne’s pretzel stand. I sat on a bench near an anthropomorphic track suit and the track suit spoke to me.

It called out: “This is what you must tell to the other members of the high school graduating class of 2009, who are embarking on their first summer of collegiate cross country training: you will soon see what I do to those whose hubris leads them to overtrain, or whose gluttony leads them to undertrain; and you will soon see that I will carry on the wings of eagles those who train smart, not hard during these hot summer months. These are the words you are to speak to your peers.”

“Okay,” I said. “So like, do you want me to make a Facebook group?”

“Yeah, I guess,” bellowed the track suit. And I made a Facebook group, and went home and posted on it what the track suit had ordained. Then the 18-year-olds of the Facebook group all “Liked” the status, and I went back to the mall and said to the track suit: “They will do everything you have said.”

“Neat,” called out the track suit. “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, and we can take a selfie to post on the Facebook group, so that all its members will forever trust you as a smart boy about training.”

The track suit then instructed me to post on the group, informing its members to take frequent showers and drink plenty of water.

“And another thing,” it called out, “prepare yourself for the next day; abstain from sexual relations.”

“No problem,” I, a huge virgin, said.

I went home, jogged a 30-minute double, and went to sleep. Then the next day, when I returned to the mall to exchange some pants for a slightly smaller size, I found the mall ablaze, plumes of noxious black smoke radiating from it, then I heard the voice of the track suit, coming at once from nowhere and everywhere.

And it spoke these words:

“I am the anthropomorphic track suit you met at the mall. Your college coach knows a shit ton about training, so you should listen to them, but also listen to me, because you and your teenage dirtbag cronies could use a head check.”

And I carved it into stone.

  1. 1.Thou shalt drink plenty of water. For it is summer, and summer is hot. And water is good.
  2. Thou shalt respect the double. There shall come a time when one run is not enough. Then thou shalt do two runs. Just not too soon.
  3. Thou shalt not half step.
  4. Thou shalt not overdo it. Fall is for racing. Summer is for training.
  5. Thou shalt not underdo it. Eat the flesh of chicken nuggets and imbibe the nectars of Keystone, but in moderation. Thou must still run.
  6. Thou shalt run hills, and run hills often.
  7. Thou shalt run strides, at a slightly lesser frequency than thou runneth hills.
  8. Thou shalt abide by thy coach. If thy coach decrees a week of 80 miles, thou shalt runneth 80 miles, not 60, not 100.
  9. Thou shalt not PR in a race distance the first workout back on campus. Nobody cares for workout heroes. Least of all me, the anthropomorphic track suit.
  10. Thou shalt get the dumbassery out of thy system. Procure thy stupid hair cuts, ironic tattoos, and body piercings before the season begineth, for the season is no time for a staph infection or rat tail.

 

 

May 31, 2017

Meet the young pups in this weekend’s Adidas Dream Miles

Who are the boys and girls in this year’s Adidas Dream Mile? Get to know the stars like Casey Clinger and Joy Ripslinger.

May 30, 2017

The 2013 Dream Milers: An Olympian, an NCAA great and how some careers panned out

How did the careers pan out for the high school stars who competed in the 2013 Adidas Grand Prix Dream Mile? Interesting storylines developed.

May 26, 2017

In his words: Ivy League runner chronicles his battle and overcoming depression

Ben Sutherland, a rising senior on the cross-country team at Brown, reached out to Citius Mag to share his battle with depression in his own words.

May 26, 2017

Pumped Up Picks: Justyn Knight

Syracuse distance runner Justyn Knight shares his playlist that gets him going before any major competition. Of course Drake is on the playlist.

May 23, 2017

Remembering “The Greatest Footrace Ever”

A quick moment to pass along the legend that was the 1969 Pac-8 Conference Championship where Steve Prefontaine and Gerry Lindgren battled to the line.

May 22, 2017

Eight stress fractures for one elusive season; was it worth it?

After eight stress fractures, Columbia senior Keenan Piper is vying for a spot on the starting line at NCAAs; but was it all worth it?

May 22, 2017

Meet the other contenders for the NCAA 5,000m crown

Meet the other college stars that will take Edward Cheserek’s crown in the 5,000 meters at the upcoming NCAA Championships.

May 21, 2017

The Athlete Special is back! Season 5 – Summer Speed Session

The Athlete Special returns with Spencer Brown kicking off his summer with a speed session. Spencer redshirted the past outdoor season.

May 11, 2017

John Mascari: My Next Chapter

After a strong career at Indiana State and losing a coach recently, John Mascari still believes he can run at the next level.

April 27, 2017

Payton Jordan entries are out, and they’re full of intrigue and surprises

The 2017 Payton Jordan entries have formally been released, and they’re SOLID. Centro and Willis square off over 5,000m. And a slew of women could break 2.

April 26, 2017

The lesser known Drake

Best known Drake: The Canadian recording artist. Self proclaimed world class lover. Former kid actor.

Less known Drake: The Drake Relays. A staple of American track and field contested between endless rows of Iowan corn. It’s where we watched Alan Webb run 3:51. It’s where they contested the 2013 USATF Outdoor Championships in 200 degree heat. It’s the home to the world famous Walking Taco.

Lesser Known Drake: UCLA’s Drake Stadium is tucked neatly on the north side of their Westwood campus. It holds 11,000 people and has been graced by just as many world class athletes (probably) as the more well-known Drake Stadium.

Least known drake: What bird folk call a male duck.

Though Iowa’s Drake University has taken the name “Drake” and run with it (at least in track and field), we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge another Drake, where many equally impressive performances have taken place.

How many Olympians UCLA has produced and called Drake home is a story for another article. For now let’s take a quick look at some performances from both Drakes, of which we should all be equally grateful.

 

April 26, 2017

Feast your eyes on the best male athlete portraits in track and field (Part V)

Picture day is something to look forward to every year. These runners surely made the most out of their respective roster portraits. Part V.

April 26, 2017

UTEP isn’t taking its middle distance squad to the Penn Relays, which sucks

When it comes to the DMR at Penn, there’s rarely a dull year. This one’s no exception, but without UTEP competing, we’re left wondering “what if?”

April 26, 2017

Generations of memories at the Penn Relays for the Byrne family

Kevin Byrne grew up listening to stories from his grandfather and father about competing at the Penn Relays. Then he made his own. Now his sister will too.

April 25, 2017

Penn Relays: Track’s Greatest Trophy

All sports have a trophy, but only some of them a truly great. Does track and field have a great trophy? You bet. The Penn Relays Wagon Wheel.

April 20, 2017

Feast your eyes on the best male athlete portraits in track and field (Part IV)

Picture day is something to look forward to every year. These runners surely made the most out of their respective roster portraits. Part four of our new weekly series.

April 12, 2017

Feast your eyes on the best male athlete portraits in track and field (Part III)

Picture day is something to look forward to every year. These runners surely made the most out of their respective roster portraits. Part three of our new weekly series.

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