Who are this week’s honorees?
With such a big weekend of action, I can’t pick just one athlete of the week.
Cam Levins, Southern Utah
The senior ran the best two-day indoor double in Canadian history at the UW Invitational. First up was the 5000 meters on Friday night:
The result: a 13:42.90 solo run for an easy win, putting him #7 on the all-time Canadian indoor list.
Next up was the 3000 meters on Saturday:
The result: a 7:48.25 win, good for #4 on the all-time Canadian indoor list, and just outside the all-time collegiate top ten. More important than the time is the list of vanquished foes: a 2010 European silver medalist (Chris Thompson), the defending NCAA indoor mile champion (Miles Batty), and a multi-NCAA champion and record holder (Sam Chelanga).
Lawi Lalang, Arizona
At the Razorback Invitational, Lalang’s impressive solo run in the mile netted 3:55.09, just a whisper outside the collegiate records of 3:55.02 (German Fernandez, 2009) and 3:55.0 (Tony Waldrop, 1974).
Honorable Mention: Jarret Eaton, Syracuse and Gunnar Nixon, Arkansas
Eaton ran the 60 hurdles at the Penn State National, recording a time of 7.49 seconds. That’s just 0.02 off the collegiate record of 7.47 (Reggie Torian, 1997). At the Razorback Invitational, Nixon established a world junior record in the heptathlon with 6022 points, which also moves him to #5 on the all-time list.
Team of the Week: Arkansas Razorbacks
A sub-21.00 200 by Akheem Gauntlett, sub-47.00 400s by Ben Skidmore and Gauntlett, the big heptathlon by Nixon plus another by Kevin Lazas, and great relays in both the 4×400 and distance medley indicates that the Razorbacks are the favorites to win the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Fantastic Freshman: Ryan Crouser, Texas
On Friday at the Razorback Invitational, Crouser threw the shot 20.29 meters (66′ 7″). That’s good for #3 on the all-time US junior list (indoor and outdoor combined). Whereas the record set by Nixon (above) is in a rather new event, the shot is about as old an event as there is in track. Want proof? Crouser moved just ahead of Randy Matson (1964!) and just behind Michael Carter (1979).
The two athlete of the week picks…
Briane Theisen, Oregon
The native of Humbolt, Saskatchewan, lost the entire 2011 outdoor season with a back injury. Her first competition since that injury was over the weekend at Texas A&M, and she picked up right where she left off. She broke her own collegiate record in the pentathlon, which also broke a 30-year-old Canadian record. Her high jump effort of 6′ 2″ is an Oregon record and second on the yearly collegiate list.
Brigetta Barrett, Arizona
At the Razorback Invitational, Barrett high jumped 1.97 meters (6′ 5.5″), a huge PR of 4 centimeters (about 2 inches). It’s just half an inch short of the collegiate indoor record, and #2 on the yearly world list. It’s also an Olympic ‘A’ qualifier and tied for 7th on the all-time US indoor list.
Honorable mention: Katie Flood, Washington and Diamond Dixon, Kansas
Flood moved into the all-time collegiate top ten with a 8:55.31 run for 3000 meters at the UW Invitational, running in the wake of Oregon Track Club star Sally Kipyego.
Dixon, the only college quarter-miler last year to beat Bowerman Award winner Jessica Beard, ran 53.75 on Kansas’ unbanked track and left pro runner Monica Hargrove more than half a second behind.
Team of the Week: three-way tie between Arkansas, LSU and Oregon
All of these teams brought out a large group of stars who competed at the top of their abilities. While the Ducks are considered the odds-on favorite to win the NCAA Indoor Championships, but the other two SEC teams have the firepower to knock them off.