#DidYouSeeThat Weekend Recap: Year of the Weight Throw?

#DidYouSeeThat Weekend Recap: Year of the Weight Throw?

NEW ORLEANS – Year of the Vault? How about Year of the Weight Throw?

Wisconsin’s Michael Lihrman, competing in a showcase event in front of his home crowd, threw the record book out the window and his weight throw implement twice to a new NCAA Division I record. That same night, Missouri’s Kearsten Peoples moved up into the top-10 all-time in the women’s weight throw.

Meanwhile, in NCAA Division III competition:

Not to be outdone – we are in the Year of the Vault, after all – Shawn Barber of Akron came up just short on Friday of setting the men’s collegiate pole vault record for the third weekend in a row. Saturday belonged to the season’s second showdown between current collegiate record holder Demi Payne of Stephen F. Austin and former record holder Sandi Morris of Arkansas.

Though neither woman reached truly historic heights, the competition didn’t disappoint as Morris took the win of Payne to pull the season series even, 1-1. She even notched an all-time collegiate top-10 mark on her fourth attempt. Yes, you read that right. Keep reading for those details.

The Flotrack Crew was at Notre Dame for the Alex Wilson Invitational, home of this weekend’s biggest distance medley relay action. However, those teams who thought they had secured NCAA bids might want to think again, as a pair of DMRs at he UCS Invitational (Virginia Tech and Duke) ran two of the three fastest races of the day, after conversions.

Plus, it was the beginning of Championships Season with conference meets. Who were the biggest winners of the weekend? Find out on our Conference Championships Central page, or by scrolling through the results on TFRRS.

Now, those biggest individual weight throw and pole vault moments of the weekend:


Michael Lihrman’s Historic Weight Throw Night

Already the NCAA Division I record holder in the men’s weight throw entering this weekend, Lihrman wanted more on Friday. He wanted the collegiate record, held by Kibwe Johnson of Division II Ashland.

He came up just short, but not without significant fireworks.

He opened the night with a huge NCAA DI record of 81-7.25 (24.87m), but that standard didn’t last long. Just minutes later he uncorked a new record 81-8.75 (24.91m) on his second attempt – just 17 centimeters shy of Johnson’s record 82-3.5 (25.08m).

Watch that second attempt in all of its slow-motion glory, courtesy of Wisconsin Athletics.

He finished the night with marks of 24.64m, 24.44m and 24.61m (along with a foul). In total, he surpassed his previous NCAA Division I record of 24.47m four times and finished the day with five of the seven best throws in collegiate history, and seven of the best ten in collegiate history overall. He also jumped to No. 4 on the all-time U.S. performers list in the event.

Next up for Lihrman is a match-up at the Big Ten Championships with the third-best collegiate weight thrower of all time in Purdue’s Chukwuebuka Enekwechi. They are two of the three men in collegiate history who have thrown farther than 80 feet. Enekwechi has done it once; Lihrman six times, and was two centimeters away from a seventh.

Kearsten Peoples Moves to No. 7 All-Time In the Women’s Collegiate Weight Throw

Lihrman wasn’t the only weight thrower making history. Just a week after defending national champion and (former) No. 10 all-time performer Brea Garrett of Texas A&M took a commanding lead atop the national descending order list, People’s took a commanding lead of her own with a 74-11.25 (22.84m) heave on her fourth attempt at the Missouri Collegiate challenge.

That mark moved her up to No. 7 on the all-time collegiate list and left her just shy of joining the six-member collegiate 75-feet club.

Leading up to that heave, she went 21.94m, 21.62m and 21.39m, and finished her day with a pair of fouls.

Like Lihrman, Peoples will face her greatest competition this upcoming weekend. She will square off head-to-head with Garrett at the SEC Championships.

Shawn Barber Clears Another Historic Height in Attempt at Third Collegiate Record in a Row

Returning to the site of his first of two consecutive collegiate records in a row – his home Stile Fieldhouse at Akron – Barber took three attempts at what would have been a third collegiate record in as many weekends.

For the seventh time this season he cleared 19 feet – this time a dramatic third-attempt make at 19-.25 (5.80m) after needing two tries at 5.65m – but was unsuccessful on three tries at a height of 19-4.75 (5.91m) that would have bettered his collegiate record by just one centimeter.

And he came extremely close to doing just that. Check out the photos below.

Though he didn’t reach his collegiate record, he did check in with his fourth clearance of 5.80m. That’s the eighth such mark overall in collegiate indoor history. Of the top 14 vaults in collegiate history, Barber now owns six of them – seven including his unofficial 19-3 while unattached at the Texas Vault Expo. No other collegian had ever cleared 19 feet more than twice in a season prior to Barber this year.

Sandi Morris Edges Out Demi Payne in Women’s Pole Vault at Arkansas

The first outing between these two titans of the women’s pole vault, which came two weekends ago in New Mexico, went decisively to Payne. This weekend, however, competing on her home track, the day would belong to Morris.

Neither woman was able to surpass 4.59m on their three attempts at the bar, but Morris’ day was not done there. Both Morris and former Olympian April Steiner-Bennett finished regulation jumping tied for first place (zero misses on their previous heights to Payne’s two), bringing about a jump-off that began at that same 4.59m height that had just tripped them up.

While the third time at 4.59m wasn’t the charm for Morris, her fourth time down the runway resulted in a successful clearance at that height, while Steiner-Bennett bowed out with a miss. The height gave her another all-time top-10 collegiate clearance, checking at No. 9 on the performances list.

The season series between the two is now tied, 1-1, but momentum appears to be shifting toward Morris beyond just the head-to-head record. Morris has achieved heights of 4.49m and 4.59m in her last two outings (with a dramatic movement of the bar from 4.49m to 4.76m at the former, at which she likely could have cleared higher intermediate bars), while Payne has only gone 4.28m and 4.49m in her past two competitions. Granted, the two came within four days of one another as she won the Southland Conference on Tuesday before traveling to Arkansas on Saturday.

The two will likely next face off at the NCAA Championships, though Saturday’s showdown hadn’t been previously scheduled. Payne could potentially make an appearance March 1 at the USATF Indoor Championships (though there’s been no indication she will), but such an appearance for Morris would be unlikely. She’ll have had just two days in between the SEC Championships pole vault on February 27 and the USATF pole vault on March 1.