NCAA Championships, dot dot dot

Random thoughts, news and views on yesterday’s action…

The 4×400 relays are often a microcosm of the meets as a whole. On the men’s side, Florida was very good, nearly breaking the collegiate record, but Arkansas was even better, setting a new record with 3:03.50. And the Hogs didn’t even use Anton Kokorin on the relay, who was 5th in the open 400 in 46.07…

On the women’s side, Oregon came in with the 10th-best qualifying time, but you didn’t have to look at it deeply to know they were a lot better than that. They ended up winning the 4×400, out of the slowest heat…

Oregon’s 4×400 had no standout 400 star on it, but was deep with talent from a spectrum of events. Likewise, the Ducks won the meet by twelve points but had no wins in individual events. I don’t know if that’s ever been done before…

When the ESPN3.com feed showed Abbey D’Agostino on the start line for the 3000 meters, she was smiling and relaxed, looking like she thought the race was going to be fun. It was–she went out and finished off her double win. That’s a huge and underrated part of winning, taking joy in what you do. Historic examples A and B: Usain Bolt and Emil Zatopek…

D’Agostino’s double plus a DMR win by Princeton gave the Ivies three titles in one meet. The last time they did that was 1949 (h/t to Hepstrack)…

It seems like there’s a new star freshman quarter-miler every year. Two years ago it was Kansas’ Diamond Dixon, last year it was Illinois’ Ashley Spencer, and this year it’s Georgia’s Shaunae Miller. Each one has been progressively faster than the last…

The future of the decathlon looks bright for the USA. Wisconsin’s Japeth Cato set an NCAA record for second-place score, and that was with three big names absent from the competition. Arkansas’ Gunnar Nixon (reigning world junior champion) and Duke’s Curtis Beach (defending champion) both redshirted this year, and 2013 collegiate list leader Jeremy Taiwo didn’t compete due to a hamstring injury…

Oregon’s win was big, a fourth straight title, but it’s still only a checkpoint along the way. The Ducks are still chasing the bigger prize, the NCAA Outdoor Championship. There are several encouraging signs; one is that they left some points on the table by only running English Gardner in one sprint event. Another is that Jordan Hasay competed significantly better in her second race than in her first–a sign that sharpness may be lacking but fitness is very good…

Kansas’ Andrea Guebelle was the unappreciated performer of the meet. She doubled up with wins in the long jump and triple jump. The second win was significant, as her distance of 14.18 meters (46′ 6.25″) is the second-best ever by a US collegian (indoor) and just 2 cm short of a World Championships ‘B’ qualifier. No American woman has jumped further, indoor or out, since July of 2010…

A leftover item from Friday: Texas A&M’s Ameer Webb was thought to be an upset winner in the 200 meters, but not by me. He was the defending champion. Looking purely at seed times is always a dicey proposition but doubly so indoors, where different tracks are, well, different. I thought Webb and Jackson State’s Anaso Jobodwana were the best runners in the field, and they finished first and second…

Wisconsin ended up third in the men’s competition. Top-two finishes by Big Ten men’s teams are rare these days, having been done just three times indoors and once outdoors since the Eisenhower administration…

Minnesota’s John Simons has had a whirlwind of time over the last week. He shocked himself with a 3:59.32 mile out of the ‘B’ heat at the Alex Wilson Inviational last week, a PR by over nine seconds. It miraculously got him into the NCAAs (as many above him scratched in favor of other events), and then he got himself into the final, where he then scored a fifth place. He went from just another guy to All-American in seven days…

Seven of the ten fastest collegiate men’s indoor miles were run in the last two years. Much of the credit should go to the Millrose Games, which has revived its practice of inviting collegiate athletes. Four of those seven were at Millrose, and I think the experience those athletes gained has broader implications for bringing courage to collegiate miling…

The hoped-for high jump battle between Erik Kynard and Derek Drouin was good but ended up being more or less one-sided. Kynard had trouble early and missed too many heights, “only” clearing 7′ 6″, while Drouin had the best outing of his career, jumping without a miss through the Canadian Record of 2.35 metres. Ato Boldon called Drouin the outstanding competitor of the meet. Kynard actually finished third on misses behind Mississippi State’s Marcus Jackson. Knowing how Kynard reacts to losing, I’d hate to be his roommate this week…

A contender for the outstanding performance among the women is Tia Brooks’ win in the shot put. The Oklahoma senior threw 19.22 meters (63′ 0.75″), which puts her #5 on the world indoor list this year…

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8 Responses to NCAA Championships, dot dot dot

  1. Scott Bush says:

    Jesse, great review! Just curious, who would you deem as the top performer of the weekend?

  2. admin says:

    That’s hard to say in a meet like this. For the men, I’m tempted to say Lawi Lalang because that mile meet record is a very big deal. I’m also torn between Drouin and Marquis Dendy, whose performances were competitive with the world’s very best. Were there a World Indoor this year, either could have contended for gold.

  3. Deb says:

    OK I’ll say it since hurdle fans need to stick together…GREAT JOB Brianna Rollins and thank you Ginnie Powell for showing some class (so many arrogant athletes) and sending a congrats to Bri for breaking your collegiate record!!!

  4. Dave says:

    Great coverage again, thanks.

    The Oregon 4×400 did have stars — Francis had one of the top couple marks in the 400 while anyone who saw they leg that English Gardner run last June knew that she has great potential (and are looking for some fast 200s in the future, as well). It is true that they won with depth of very good runners; the 800 strength (2:03i) of Laura Roesler along with her prior relays makes her stellar 52.64 less than a complete surprise.

    Finally, the men’s pole vaulting seems deserving of comment, both the depth of the open PV and the 5.40/5.40/5.30 results in the Heptathlon.

    Footnote: While the Big Ten got third and has only had a couple of four total indoors and out since I was a kid, note that Wisconsin has the most recent ones (third here, first a few years back).

  5. admin says:

    I suppose I wasn’t clear on what I meant by “stars”, as Roesler and Gardner are in their respective events and Francis isn’t chopped liver. But they didn’t have a threat to win the open 400m, as that’s a pretty tough trio at the top of that event.

  6. Michael Warner says:

    Not sure how you can say Oregon didn’t have any outstanding runners on the women’s 4×4. Roesler was 2nd in the 800, Gardener 2nd in the 60 and was clearly one of the two outstanding runners there, and Francis placed on the 400.

  7. Rick Allred says:

    The University of Alabama sent five athletes to compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships. All five athletes scored points. Has that ever been done before?

  8. admin says:

    Michael: see my comment above. I should have said “no contenders for the 400 title”. You don’t run 3:30 without very good runners, but none were going to win the open 400.

    Rick: yes, quite a bit.