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College Track Recap: The Year in Dual Meets

College Track Recap: The Year in Dual Meets

| On 05, May 2014

The 1973 USC-UCLA dual took place in front of 12,000 fans.

The collegiate dual meet season ended with yesterday’s USC – UCLA meet. The final dual meet team rankings (compiled by yours truly) will be released tomorrow at the Track and Field News website and mythical champions will be crowned. It’s time to take a look at the best of the year in collegiate duals (and triangulars and quadrangulars).

Best Meet

Washington at Washington State
There were close meets, there were high-quality meets, there were great meets for one gender but not th other, and there were meets that both sides took seriously and laid it all out for the win. This year, none combined all of these factors quite like the annual “Apple Cup”, the Washington-Washington State dual. Washington won the men’s meet in an upset, and the Washington State women won by a single point. It had extra meaning since it was the last dual for longtime WSU coach Rick Sloan.
Paul Merca has the story.

Biggest turnaround

Purdue vs Indiana
Back in January I wrote about Purdue, the perennial Big Ten track and field doormat, and how they had lost to Indiana every year since the revival of their indoor rivalry dual. This year the Boilermakers swept the Hoosiers and it was the beginning of a turnaround season for Purdue.

Fantastic Finish

Navy at Army (women)
Army-Navy is the toughest and most intense meet around. This is partially due to the toughness and intensity of the competitors, people who are far from your ordinary college students, but also because they are the others’ only true peer: the service academies are fundamentally different places than other universities. The Army-Navy meet is their “championship” meet.

The members of any team that wins an Army-Navy contest earn a star, the greatest athletic accomplishment that can be earned at either academy. No member of Army’s women’s track team possessed a star, since they hadn’t won (either indoors or out) since 2008. That changed this year.

“The women came into the meet pretty significant underdogs,” head coach Troy Engle said. “We were down our best sprinter on paper and the Academy record holder in the pole vault, but other people stepped up. Even with those people healthy we would have come in underdogs.” Yet somehow, Army led Navy by two points coming into the concluding 4×400 relay, but the score was close enough that the meet was still in play. Anchor leg Samantha Murphy came from behind to win the relay and the meet.

Men’s All-Dual Team

Last year I premiered the “All Dual Meet Team”. The idea is to put together a roster of 32 athletes, all of whom competed in dual meets (and in the events for which they were selected), with the aim of going three deep per event. Versatility among several events is a plus, as is competing well in those duals.

Akron
Shawn Barber, pole vault

Arizona
Nick Ross, high jump/long jump/triple jump
Ross cleared 2.30 meters (7′ 6½”) against Arizona State and Northern Arizona, one centimeter short of the all-time collegiate dual meet record. He scored in all three jumps both in that meet and in a dual at Oregon.

Lawi Lalang, 800/1500/3000
Lalang ran an impressive 3:41.88/8:05.61 double against Arizona State and Northern Arizona–which becomes even more impressive when you realize he ran a 1:52 800 meters in between those two races.

Collins Kibet, 800/1500

Arizona State
Ryan Milus, 100/200/4×100

Keith Cleveland, 400/4×400

Bryan McBride, high jump

Arkansas
Anthony May, high jump/long jump/triple jump

California
Randy Bermea, 110 hurdles/400 hurdles/4×400

Hammed Suleman, long jump/triple jump

Derek White, discus/hammer

Colorado State
Trevor Brown, 110 hurdles/400 hurdles

Eastern Illinois
Michael Viken, pole vault

Illinois State
Curtis Jensen, shot put

Michigan
Mason Ferlic, steeplechase

Monmouth
Vincent DuVernois, javelin

Navy
Jay Stell, javelin

New Mexico
Charles Lewis, 400 hurdles/4×400 (alternate)

Oregon
Mike Berry, 400/200 (alternate) /4×100/4×400

Greg Skipper, hammer throw

Stanford
Erik Olson, 3000 meters

Texas A&M
Deon Lendore, 400/4×400
Lendore ran the only sub-46 quarter in dual/tri/quad meet action this year, an indoor 45.74 way back in January.

UCLA
Julian Wruck, shot/discus/hammer
Wruck broke the dual meet discus record last year, one of the oldest on the books, but was unable to top it this year.

Nick Hartle, 800/1500
Even though it was first done in a dual in 1960, sub-1:48 times in duals are rare these days. Hartle ran 1:47.51 against Washington State.

Michael Woepse, pole vault
Woepse broke the USC vs UCLA meet record, which is a major accomplishment in any event.

USC
Aaron Brown 100/200/4×100
Brown ran 10.18 against UCLA, the fastest time in a dual meet in twelve years.

Beejay Lee, 100/200/4×100

Aleec Harris, 110 hurdles
Harris’ 13.55 against UCLA moved him into the all-time top ten for dual meets.

Washington
Aaron Nelson, steeplechase/3000
Nelson ran a rare double in these events against Washington State. He won the steeple and his third-place finish in the 3000 sealed the win for the Huskies.

Quinn Hale, javelin

Washington State
Andrew Gonzales, steeplechase

Wyoming
Mason Finley, shot/discus

Men’s dual meet awards

Outstanding single performance
Nick Ross, Arizona, 2.30m (7′ 6½”) high jump vs. Arizona State and Northern Arizona

Outstanding single meet
Lawi Lalang, Arizona, vs Arizona State and Northern Arizona
6:55pm, 1500 meters (3:41.88, won by nearly 4 seconds)
8:02pm, 800 meters (1:52.06, fourth)
9:00pm, 3000 meters (8:05.61, won by nearly 12 seconds)

Most valuable (most points scored on a top-ten team)
Randy Bermea, Cal (hurdles and relays)

Dual Meet Coach of the Year

Montana State’s Dale Kennedy wins the honor. Not because his team won any kind of dual meet championship, but because they competed in six dual/tri meets this year. That’s truly old school scheduling.

Women’s All-Dual Team

Akron
Annika Roloff, pole vault

Arizona
Shapri Romero, 200/400/4×400
Romero ran the 8th-fastest 400 meters in collegiate dual meet history against Arizona State and Northern Arizona.

Nnenya Hailey, 100H/400H/4×400 (alternate)

Julie Labonté, shot/discus

Arizona State
Shelby Houlihan, 800/1500

Arkansas
Tamara Myers, long jump/triple jump

Ariele Voskamp, pole vault

Colorado State
Jessica Sharbono, shot/discus/hammer

East Carolina
Tynita Butts, high jump

Kansas
Diamond Dixon, 400/4×400

Kansas State
Erica Twiss, 100 hurdles/400 hurdles

Kent State
Dior Delophont, high jump/triple jump

Michigan
Brook Handler, 1500/3000

Alex Leptich, steeplechase
Her 10:04.86 in the triangular against Cal and Virginia is the second-fastest ever in collegiate dual meet history.

Megan Weschler, steeplechase
Her 10:11.56 in that same meet puts her at #7 in collegiate dual meet history.

Missouri
Kearsten Peoples, shot put

Montana
Lindsay Hall, javelin

Oregon
Laura Roesler, 800/4×400
Roesler’s 2:01.10 against Arizona is a new collegiate dual meet record.

Jenna Prandini, 100/long jump/4×100

Haley Crouser, javelin

Princeton
Julia Ratcliffe, hammer throw
Her 69.60 (228′ 4″) against Vermont, Monmouth and St. John’s established a new record for collegiate dual meets.

Elizabeth Bird, steeplechase/3000

Stanford
Amy Weissenbach, 800 meters

Brianna Bain, javelin

Texas
Kaitlin Petrillose, pole vault

Texas A&M
Olivia Ekponé, 100/200/4×100

UCLA
Alexis Walker, 100 hurdles/400 hurdles/high jump

USC
Tynia Gaither, 100/200/4×100

Alexandra Collatz, discus/hammer

Vanessa Jones, 400/4×400

Washington
Katie Flood, 800/1500

Men’s dual meet awards

Outstanding single performance
Laura Roesler, 2:01.10 800 meters vs. Arizona

Outstanding single meet
Shapri Romero, Arizona, vs Arizona State and Northern Arizona
6:30pm, 4×100 relay anchor
7:25pm, 400 meters (51.96, first)
8:37pm, 200 meters (23.55, first)
9:20pm, 4×400 relay anchor

Most valuable (most points scored on a top-ten team)
Mary Barnett, Washington State (shot put, discus, hammer)

Best Media Exposure

Three different duals are or were broadcast on the Pac-12 Network. Arizona at Oregon got love coverage, while USC at UCLA and the Arizona-Arizona State-Northern Arizona meets will be shown on a tape-delayed basis.

The Unthinkable?

The first 33 times the men’s teams from USC and UCLA met, the result was the same: the Trojans won. The tables have turned so strongly in UCLA’s favor over the last three decades that the Bruins are now just three years away from doing what was once unthinkable: tieing the all-time series standings.

Seven reasons I like duals

Done in three hours.

The athletes like them. One coach told me that when he was running back in the 60s, “the conference meet was what we all aimed for, but the weekly dual meet was what we looked forward to.” When chatting with some athletes at my alma mater, they were excited and a little nervous about running at the Mt. SAC Relays–but when I brought up their rivalry dual, it was like I flipped a switch. They were hungry like the wolf, ready to attack that meet like nothing else.

Made for TV. Track isn’t on TV enough, and there will be plenty of opportunity on cable college sports channels.

Heroes come out of nowhere. A freshman at my alma mater who had previously contributed little to the team set four PRs and won three events in the dual against their traditional rival. A meet I thought would be close turned into a blowout.

Sports hate. It’s not real hate–it’s a Bill Simmons term–and we don’t have enough of that in college track. Dual meets bring it out.

Time doesn’t matter. With rare exceptions, I find running against the clock to be very boring. Running against other people is exciting. Example: was anyone watching the clock last month as Meb Keflezighi ran down Boyleston Street?

You will never hear “next up, heat #45 of the 200 meters”.

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