This weekend’s collegiate track and field slate included basically two types of meets: a handful of conference championships, and low-key tune-up meets for the remainder of the conference championships held next week. There was one exception to this, a meet that was many things at once.
During the past few years, the Oregon Twilight has evolved into a community celebration tucked inside a track and field meet at Hayward Field.
The Twilight will feature men?s and women?s masters events, a kids? half-lapper, boys and girls middle school miles, the Greek 4×100 relay, a faculty appreciation at the Bowerman Building and special recognition ceremonies for meet officials and 19 departing UO seniors.
The lion’s share of the attention was for the handful of Oregon-based professionals who competed in one form or another, mostly in ways that were about one or two steps up from an exhibition. But there was bona fide racing going on, too.
The most surprising result of such racing was in the women’s 1500 meters, where Hilary Holt of the College of Idaho kicked past a good field to win in 4:11.62. Amongst the vanquished were Jemma Simpson, a three-time British champion at 800 meters.
Readers may naturally ask two questions: where the heck is the College of Idaho? And how fast is 4:11.62?
Founded in 1891, the College of Idaho is a private liberal arts institution located in Caldwell (pop. 46, 273) whose enrollment is barely over 1,000 students. The Coyotes (aka ‘Yotes) compete in the NAIA, and their most notable achievements have come in skiiing.
I don’t know what the NAIA record is for the women’s 1500 meters, or if anyone even keeps track of such things, but Holt undoubtedly now has that record. She ran an amazing 7-second PR to win the race. The 1500 meter PR of Jordan Hasay, who graces the cover of this month’s Running Times, is less than a second and a half faster–and according to Track and Field News, Hasay is the tenth-fastest US collegian of all time. The famous (now infamous) Suzy Hamilton only ran a bit over three seconds faster while in college.
So yeah, this is very fast for Holt. She’s no stranger to success, with five NAIA titles to her credit, but this takes things to another level.
The other notable collegiate result out of the Oregon Twilight was by the Ducks’ Sam Crouser, who won the javelin throw over pro Cyrus Hostetler with a season-best mark of 76.15 meters (249′ 10″), good for 3rd on the 2013 college list.
Big 12 Championships
Recap | Results
Men’s scores: Texas 146½, Oklahoma 133, Texas Tech 117½, Kansas State 96, Kansas 82½, TCU 75, Baylor 61, Oklahoma State 56, Iowa State 51½
Women’s scores: Kansas 158, Texas 145, Baylor 93, Iowa State 89, Oklahoma 78½, Texas Tech 77½, Kansas State 66, West Virginia 40, TCU 39, Oklahoma State 33
The favored teams won the championships, as Texas is the #8 men’s team in the USTFCCCA’s computer rankings and Kansas is the #2 women’s team.
The Jayhawks have a real shot at the NCAA outdoor championship. Indoors, the Kansas women barely held off Texas for the Big 12 title and fell short of the national championship. Here, they won comfortably. Does that bode well for the NCAA title? Maybe, maybe not. But you’d always rather compete well than compete poorly, and Kansas did very well.
The Jayhawks scored some big wins in their strengths: sprints, relays, horizontal jumps, and discus. Most important to their national title aspirations is the continued improvement of Diamond Dixon. The 2011 USATF junior champion, Dixon was fifth at the 2012 Olympic Trials but has suffered from a hamstring problem through the early season. At the Big 12 Championship, she won the title in 51.73, a collegiate leader. Given the tremendous level of competition in the NCAA women’s 400 this year, she’s going to need to go much faster to give her team big points at the NCAA Championships, but she’s on the right track.
There was a lot more going on terms of individual events…
Kansas State’s Erik Kynard won his third straight outdoor title with a height of 2.30 meters (7′ 6½”). This year that height seems rather ordinary, but that’s the kind of year the men’s high jump is going through. Kynard and his rival, Indiana’s Derek Drouin, are both Olympic medalists, and they’ve made that height look rather ho-hum, even though it certainly is not. The last time two Olympic medalists in the same event returned to college action was 1985. The NCAA men’s high jump final begins at 6:20pm Eastern time on Friday, June 7th, and it’s the event to watch, period.
Texas freshman Johannes Hock scored 8293 in the decathlon, a World Championships ‘A’ qualifier and the seventh-best total in collegiate history. He’s probably locked up a spot at the Worlds for his native Germany. He won the competition by 887 points, meaning he could have skipped the 1500 meters and still won. He has to now be considered the favorite at the NCAA Championships.
Another Longhorn showed himself as a contender for an NCAA title, and that was Ryan Crouser. He won the shot put with 21.09 meters (69′ 2½”), which is about ten inches farther than Arizona State’s Jordan Clarke has ever thrown in the collegiate season–and Clarke happens to be the four-time defending indoor/outdoor NCAA champion.
TCU’s Charles Silmon ran the fastest 200 meters of the collegiate season with his 20.33 win (wind: +1.4). I wouldn’t call Silmon the favorite to win the event at the NCAAs?that’s probably either Texas A&M’s Ameer Webb or Ole Miss’ Isiah Young–but he’s certainly part of the conversation.
Coming close to a collegiate leader was Kansas’ Kyle Clemons, who won the 400 in 45.10. Clemons has twice qualified to an NCAA Championships (outdoors in 2012, indoors in 2013) but has not yet made the final. This is a 0.34 second improvement on his PR, set in the NCAA semifinals last year.
Texas Tech’s Bryce Lamb won the NCAA indoor title in the triple jump, but didn’t win the triple jump here. TCU’s Cameron Parker beat him solidly, with three marks better than Lamb’s best. Parker’s best wind-legal jump, 16.22 meters, puts him at #3 on the collegiate list.
Big East Championships
Recap | Men’s results | Women’s results
Men’s scores: Connecticut 119½, Notre Dame 107½, Rutgers 103½, South Florida 98½, Pittsburgh 83, Louisville 71, Syracuse 70, Georgetown 63, Villanova 44, Cincinnati 38½, DePaul 20, Marquette 18.5, Providence 17
Women’s scores: Notre Dame 153, Connecticut 102¾, South Florida 97¾, Villanova 80½, Pittsburgh 72, Cincinnati 61, Louisville 60, Georgetown 59, Rutgers 56, Syracuse 46, Providence 28, St. John’s 20, Marquette 15, DePaul 4
It was somewhat fitting that the last championship of this iteration of the Big East conference was dominated by two teams which will go their separate ways next year, Notre Dame (who is hightailing it to the ACC) and UConn (which will go to the new American Athletic Conference).
UConn won their 13th Big East men’s title in an unusual way: with only one individual winner, decathlete Jesse Chapman. “This was truly a team and program win,” said head coach Greg Roy. “This team faced more adversity than maybe any team I’ve ever had, and responded like the champions that they are.” The men’s title was decided by just 12 points, but Notre Dame won the women’s title by more than 50.
The men’s 400 meters was a great race, with Notre Dame’s Chris Giesting outdueling Pittsburgh’s Brycen Spratling, 45.90 to 45.94. Spratling’s teammate, Carvin Nkanata, took the 200 meters in 20.83 and Cincinnati’s Terence Somerville won the 110 hurdles in a very wind-aided 13.41.
Notre Dame’s Jeremy Rae was a double winner, taking the 1500 meters and anchoring the winning 4×800. Neither was tremendously fast but Rae is no ordinary runner, as he was the anchor on the Fighting Irish’s distance medley relay that won the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championship. He’s been injured but this weekend’s results indicate he’s regaining form, so keep an eye out for him.
Recap | Results
Men’s scores: Princeton 190, Cornell 162, Brown 75, Columbia 73, Harvard 59, Dartmouth 58, Penn 46, Yale 19
Women’s scores: Cornell 145, Columbia 121, Harvard 118, Princeton 104, Dartmouth 81, Brown 78, Penn 56, Yale 10
Princeton won the men’s title and Cornell won the women’s title, both of which were expected. These were not the story of the day. The story of the day was about a tiny woman running for the Big Green.
On Sunday, Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino had the best single-day distance triple I’ve ever heard of. She missed making the Olympic team last summer by a nose and won an impressive 3k/5k NCAA Indoor double this winter, so she’s the best distance runner in the NCAA right now. But what she did here is nuts, just nuts.
1:40 pm: wins 1500 meters in 4:11.94, beats second place by 13½ seconds or about 75 meters. (Look up at the Oregon Twilight recap to get a sense of how fast that is.) Still has two more races to run.
3:55 pm: wins 3000 meters in 9:21.79, a meet record, leaving Heps steeplechase record holder Rachel Sorna more than 7 seconds back (about 35 meters). Still has another race.
4:30 pm: anchors her 4×800 relay to a third-place finish. Brett Hoover of hepstrack.com says she split about 2:10.
I’m not aware of any single-day distance triple by a high-level collegiate runner in any recent time period, let alone one as dominating as this.
There were some other great individual efforts, too. Cornell’s Montez Blair beat Penn’s Maalik Reynolds in a high jump battle between two potential All-Americans, and Princeton’s Julia Ratcliffe won the hammer with a meet record 66.51m (218′ 2″) throw.
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
Recap | Results
Men’s scores: Hampton 119, Norfolk State 92.5, Bethune-Cookman 64, Howard 62.5, N. Carolina A&T 62, South Carolina St. 57, Florida A&M 56, Delaware State 47, Savannah State 47, Maryland-Eastern Shore 46, Morgan State 33, Coppin State 32, N.C. Central 19
Women’s scores: Hampton 123, Maryland-Eastern Shore 119, Florida A&M 104, Coppin State 72, Norfolk State 62, Bethune-Cookman 61, Morgan State 53, N. Carolina A&T 47, N.C. Central 41, Howard 25, South Carolina St. 15, Delaware State 11, Savannah State 1
Norfolk State had a seven-year win streak in the men’s competition, but Hampton was able to break it and claim their first MEAC men’s title in ten years. The Hampton women completed an indoor/outdoor sweep.
“This is unbelievable,” said Maurice Pierce, Hampton’s director of track and field. “To win two championships in one year, in this conference, is a tremendous blessing. Both teams worked together and the men were able to feed off the women.” Pierce, who was the longtime women’s coach at Hampton and took on the men’s team as well into a combined program this year, was named the conference’s Coach of the Year.
UMES came up four points short of the women’s championship, and the Hawks’ Petra Kubesoav pulled her weight and then some. She scored 28 points, with wins in the steeplechase and 5000 in meet-record time and a second place in the 1500, and was named the meet’s outstanding track athlete. Probably the most impressive single mark was made by UMES’ Leona Guinin-Firmin, who won a 200/400 double in 23.02 and 52.48. Other notable marks: Delaware State’s Ryan Carter with a wind-aided 20.54 win in the 200 meters, and Norfolk State’s Keith Nkrumah, who won the 110 hurdles in a wind-aided 13.68.
Other conference meets
America East: Albany sweeps titles, Albany’s Alex Bowen high jumps 7′ 3¼”
CAA: William & Mary wins men’s and women’s titles, George Mason’s David Verburg doubles 20.69/45.37
Horizon League: Loyola men, Milwaukee women win titles
MAAC: Rider men, women take crowns
OVC: Eastern Illinois sweeps championships
Patriot League: A Bucknell sweep
Pac-12 Heptathlon and Decathlon
Recap | Results
The Pac-12 runs its decathlon a week earlier than the main portion of the meet. Oregon’s Dakotah Keys had a successful outing in two different ways with plenty of room to spare.
Keys successfully defended his Pac-12 title and beat Washington’s Jeremy Taiwo by three points, 8001 to 7998. Keys rode a big javelin throw to a 54 point lead going into the final event, the 1500 meters, and Taiwo was only able to make up 51 points in that event. Keys also achieved the World Championships ‘B’ qualifier by two points, which gives him a shot at being on the US team.
Arizona State’s Keia Pinnick won the women’s heptathlon with a score of 5801, which puts her third on the 2013 collegiate list.
Almost by definition, these pre-conference types of meets aren’t supposed to produce big results. The really top athletes are already primed and resting. But there were a few efforts worth noting.
Penn State sophomore Darrell Hill won the shot put at the Nittany Lions’ own Jim Thorpe Open with a distance of 19.13 meters (62′ 9¼”), which puts him 4th on the 2013 D-I outdoor list.
Florida’s Fawn Miller took a narrow second-place finish in the javelin at the FSU Twilight. Her distance of 52.67 meters (172′ 10″) puts her sixth on the 2013 D-I list. At the same meet, Florida State’s Dentarius Locke won the 200 meters in 20.63, putting him in the 2013 collegiate top ten.
Derek Drouin, Indiana’s Olympic high jump bronze medalist, might be considering the decathlon at next week’s Big Ten Championships. At the Hoosiers’ Billy Hayes Open, he threw the javelin 55.16 meters (181′ 0″) and got under 14.00 in the hurdles with a wind-aided 13.87.
Athletes of the week, sprints/hurdles: TCU’s Charles Silmon gets the nod for his triple win at the Big 12 Championships: 100 meters in 10.18w, 200 meters in 20.33, and 4×100 relay in 39.61. Kansas’ Diamond Dixon wins the women’s award for her 400 meter win at the Big 12 in 51.73, the outdoor collegiate leader.
Athletes of the week, distance: The women’s award is a no-brainer, as Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino turned in a tremendous triple at the Heps Championships. Loyola’s Declan Murray turned in a nice triple at the Horizon League Championships, taking second in the 1500 and winning the 800, and finishing it off by anchoring the winning 4×400 relay.
Athletes of the week, jumps: Erik Kynard gets the men’s award for his 7′ 6″ high jump win at the Big 12 Championships. Kansas’ Francine Simpson scored an upset long jump win over teammate Andrea Guebelle at the same meet, hitting a PR of 6.67 meters (21′ 10¾”).
Athletes of the week, throws: Texas’ Ryan Crouser got a big shot put win at the Big 12 with 21.09 meters (69′ 2½”), and added a third place in the discus. Oklahoma’s Tia Brooks won the Big 12 shot put with 18.51 meters (60′ 8¾”), a distance that no collegian save Brooks has beaten this year.
Teams of the week: The Big 12 was the major meet of the week, and so the team awards have to go to champions Texas (men) and Kansas (women).
Team players: The women’s award is an easy choice, Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino for her tremendous distance triple. The men’s award goes to Garnet Vanterpool of the City College of New York, who did six events (100, 200, 400, long jump, both relays) to help his Beavers win the City University of New York Athletic Conference meet by 1½ points over Queensborough.
D-II athletes of the Week: Ashland’s Katie Nageotte broke the D-II pole vault record at the GLIAC Championships, clearing 4.44 meters (14′ 6¾”). Teammate Drew Windle won the 800 meters at the same meet in 1:48.04, which puts him in the 2013 collegiate top ten.
D-III athletes of the week: Bates’ David Pless won the shot put, discus and hammer at the New England D-III Championships and led his Bobcats to a one-point victory over MIT. Krista Chavin of UMass Dartmouth won the hammer throw at the same meet with a distance of 57.57 meters (188′ 10″), which puts her in the top ten in D-III history.
NAIA athletes of the week: Hilary Holt of the College of Idaho gets the women’s award for her amazing run over 1500 meters at the Oregon Twilight. William Woods’ Anthony Stockton takes the men’s honor for his NAIA-leading hammer throw (61.07m/200′ 4″) at Indiana’s Billy Hayes Invitational.