#DidYouSeeThat: College T&F Weekend Was Much More Than Just The Pole Vault
NEW ORLEANS – Saturday’s collegiate track & field headlines belonged to the Year of the Vault, and for good reason. Shawn Barber’s men’s collegiate record and Demi Payne winning a showdown featuring the past three collegiate record holders put the Year of the Vault front and center.
We broke down yesterday’s vault action in depth, and today we turn our attention to the accomplishments of those who did not launch themselves, at a full sprint, into the air on a large fiberglass pole.
Be sure to vote at the bottom of the article on this weekend’s best #DidYouSeeThat moment, including the vaulters.
Is There Anything Kendell Williams Can’t Do?
— kendell williams (@kendell61495) February 7, 2015
Not only is Georgia’s Kendell Williams the nation’s top collegiate woman over the span of five events in one day (a.k.a. the pentathlon), but she’s establishing herself as the best in the country in her individual events – against women who specialize in just one or two events.
This weekend it was the long jump, in which she set the 2015 collegiate lead with a huge leap of 21-5½ (6.54m) to win at Virginia Tech. She did so as one of just two legal attempts she took on the day; she fouled her first and leapt 6.42 on her second attempt before launching her big jump on the third attempt. She passed all three attempts in the final.
But that wasn’t the extent of her excellence at Virginia Tech, as she tied her career PR in the 60-meter hurdles at 8.21 to win the event after running a prelims-best 8.22. She’s now ranked No. 10 in the country in the event, just .11 behind collegiate leaders Cindy Ofili of Michigan and Bridgette Owens of Florida.
She also remains No. 6 on the 2015 collegiate high jump list, and, of course, No. 1 on the pentathlon list.
Raven Saunders Breaks U.S. Junior Record in the Shot Put
Another youngster who is making waves on the collegiate scene is Southern Illinois frosh Raven Saunders. Not only did Saunders take the collegiate lead in the shot put with a winning heave of 57-10½ (17.64m), but she also claimed the top spot on the comprehensive (indoor & outdoor) all-time U.S. Junior shot put list. She surpassed the long-standing mark of 57-9 (17.60m) set in 1991 – five years before Saunders was born – by Eileen Vanisi of Texas.
With defending national champion Christina Hillman of Iowa State having recently announced her plans to bypass the indoor season to prepare for outdoors, Saunders has emerged as a serious contender for the national title along with Tori Bliss of LSU and Dani Winters of Kansas State, both of whom are within 20 centimeters of Saunders on the descending order list.
Strong Weekend for Texas A&M Sprinters Deon Lendore and Shavez Hart
We finally saw the individual 2015 debut of reigning Bowerman Trophy winner Deon Lendore at his home Aggie Invitational, and he did not disappoint. The senior made quick work of the field to win his opener in 45.68 to jump to No. 3 on the 2015 collegiate list. Making that performance even more impressive?
Presumably not under-the-weather was teammate Shavez Hart, who ran a collegiate-leading 20.57 over 200 meters to beat Clemson’s Tevin Hester by nearly half a second. Also this weekend, SEC rival Aaron Ernest of LSU went 20.66 at New Mexico to move to No. 2 on the 2015 list and set up an intriguing 200 meters competition at SECs and NCAAs.
Collegiate-Leading Women’s Sprinting at New Mexico
Another quarter-mile Bowerman Trophy returner in 2014 women’s finalist Courtney Okolo of Texas made her season debut in her signature 400-meter event this weekend, this time at New Mexico. Though the outdoor collegiate record-holder ran against this season’s collegiate leader in the event entering the weekend – teammate Kendall Baisden – Okolo was the clear class of the field, and the country, with her impressive 51.35 to win by more than a second-and-a-half over Baisden. And by more than two seconds over the rest of the field. The time was a new indoor PR for her by two-tenths of a second, and a quarter of a second away from the all-time collegiate top 10 performers list.
The 200 meters collegiate lead was overtaken in the same meet by Texas Tech’s Cierra White, who became the first sub-23.00 sprinter of the season at 22.98. Though they ran in separate sections, White was the victor in the event over Okolo by nearly half a second. Though she didn’t take the national lead at 60 meters, she also finished runner-up in a career-best 7.22 to move to No. 6 in the country.
Robby Creese Takes the Collegiate Lead in the Mile
You can now find Robby Creese‘s name atop the unconverted national descending order list in three events. After running the anchor of the collegiate-leading 4×800 in early January and then a 2015-best 2:20.24 over 1000 meters the next weekend, he finally turned his attention to a standard NCAA Championship event to great success with a 3:57.86 mile to win at home.
That time may be a little less than a second faster than his career PR of 3:57.11 from 2013, but consider the difference in circumstances: this weekend on his 200-meter banked track he ran all by himself in the late stages of the race, winning by five seconds over the rest of the field. In 2013 on Washington’s oversized track on this same weekend, he was fourth behind the all-star professional trio of Andrew Bumbalough, Evan Jager and Donn Cabral.
Donald Scott Regains the Collegiate Triple Jump Lead
Early-season collegiate triple jump leader Donald Scott of Eastern Michigan is back on top, and in a big way. Competing at the Meyo Invitational at Notre Dame, Scott uncorked a huge opening mark of 54-6¾ (16.63m) to regain the collegiate lead from Matthew Oneal of USF. Two attempts later, he unloaded a 54-9½ (16.70m) leap on his third time down the runway to better his NCAA-leading mark.
When all was said and done, he ended up with two more marks of 16.56m and 16.54m, giving him four of the season’s top five measurements.
He wasn’t the only triple jumper having himself a day: Ben Williams of Louisville leapt to the No. 2 spot at Virginia Tech Doc Hale with a jump of 54-3¾ (16.55m). And, of course, 2014 indoor champion Felix Obi of Baylor and 2014 outdoor champion Marquis Dendy of Florida are still very much in the picture.