CHAMPIONSHIPS HISTORY: Top NCAA DI Indoor Career Scorers By Event
This is the latest in a series of posts based on the USTFCCCA’s newly unveiled NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships History page – the most comprehensive collection of the meet’s history anywhere on the web – leading up to the 2015 edition March 13-14 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The page can be viewed in its entirety here.
Yesterday we focused on the top career scorers across all events in the history of the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, as well as getting into some discussion of the best career scorers by event group.
Today we’ll break it down even further for you, breaking down the top career scorers in each championship event. See the full report here.
Who dominated their events the most? Which active athletes have a chance to join the all-time top performers in their events this weekend/in the future? Who are the highest scorers in each event who never won an NCAA title in said event?
Keep reading to find out.
(NOTE: For the purposes of this historical comparison, all finishes throughout meet history have been retroactively scored according to the current 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 system)
All-Time Event Scoring Leaders
Let’s agree to have the two charts below set the table for the rest of this article. It’s dense, but very informative as it lists the top career scorers in each championship event on the left, and the highest active scorer in each event on the right.
MEN’S EVENTS – TOP CAREER AND ACTIVE SCORERS
WOMEN’S EVENTS – TOP CAREER AND ACTIVE SCORERS
Of all the current events in the championship program, the events in which it has historically been most difficult to stay on top are the women’s pole vault, the men’s 200- and 800-meters, and the women’s 60-meter hurdles (more on that later). Those are the only three events in which the career-best scorer amassed fewer than 30 points.
Not that it’s easy to stay on top of any event for an extended period of time. Nine more events have their career-best scorer topped out at exactly 30 points.
Total domination of an event over the course of a career has been the achievement of a rare few. Only Suleiman Nyambui of UTEP in the mile (who was less than a second away from doing the same in the two-mile) and Mike Carter of SMU in the shot put have swept an event four years in a row. No woman has ever accomplished that feat.
Several others have come close. Five men, including Nyambui at 3000 meters, have scored 38 points in an event (three wins and a runner-up), with the most recent being 2013 Bowerman Trophy winner Derek Drouin of Indiana in the high jump.
Only two women have racked up three titles and another runner-up effort in one event. First it was pentathlete Jackie Johnson of Arizona State from 2004 through 2008, followed immediately by Florida State triple jumper Kim Williams from 2008 through 2011.
Best Athletes Who Never Won a Title
Of all the events in championship history, only one’s career scorers list is topped by an athlete who never won a title in that event. Baylor’s Tiffani McReynolds notched three runner-up finishes in the women’s 60 meter hurdles in 2011, 13 and 14 – the last by thousandths of a second – and a fourth-place finish in 2012 for 29 points total.
That’s one more than two-time winners Lavonna Martin of Tennesse and 2013 Bowerman Trophy winner Brianna Rollins of Clemson – the latter of whom declined her final year of collegiate eligibility.
But McReynolds isn’t even the highest scoring athlete to never win an event title. That honor goes to Joachim Olsen of Idaho, who notched three runner-up finishes in the men’s shot put to go along with another bronze medal. Amazingly, he’s not the only men’s shot putter from Idaho to earn three silver medals but not a gold: Russ Winger also accomplished that feat.
Only one athlete tops the list of non-winning scorers in two events. Esther Jones of LSU scored 24 points in both the women’s 60 and 200.
See the list of events with the highest non-champion scorers below (only the highest in each event).
|mSP||Joachim Olsen, Idaho||30|
|mPV||Pat Manson, Kansas||28|
|mTJ||Joseph Taiwo, Washington St||27|
|wLJ||Nicole Devonish, Texas||26|
|mLJ||Ray Humphrey, Georgetown||25|
|mMile||Sam Bair, Kent State||24|
|Jim Johnson, William & Mary||24|
|m5000||Sam Chelanga, Liberty||24|
|m60H||Bill High, Tennessee||24|
|w60||Pauline Davis, Alabama||24|
|Esther Jones. LSU||24|
|w200||Esther Jones, LSU||24|
|w400||Regina George, Arkansas||24|
|Ryan Tolbert, Vanderbilt||24|
|wHJ||Rita Graves, Kansas State||24|
|Corissa Yasen, Purdue||24|
Active Athletes in History
Only one active collegian has a shot at taking over the career lead in his event: pole vaulter Andrew Irwin of Arkansas. A two-time NCAA Champion in 2012-13, he finished a disappointing fourth last year to enter his final NCAA indoor championships with 25 career points – seventh most all-time in the men’s pole vault.
Anything fourth-place or better will earn him the No. 2 spot in event history, but a win would put him just one point beyond Istvan Bagyula of George Mason with 35 points.
The only complication? Shawn Barber of Akron, the defending national champion and collegiate record-holder, is having the best season of any collegian ever. Should Barber win, he would jump up to 24 career points and have a shot at tying Bagyula’s career mark next year.
From the “projecting way into the future” department, three freshmen who won NCAA titles a year ago can make progress this year toward the top of their respective lists.
Oregon’s Edward Cheserek won both the 3000 and 5000 last year, but will contest the mile and 3000 this year (along with the distance medley relay). How high is the bar set at 3000 meters? He needs to win this year and next year to move to third on the all-time scorers list behind Nyambui with 38 and Wisconsin’s Chris Solinsky with 31.
He could still conceivably tie the all-time scoring mark at 5000 meters if he runs in both next year and the year after, as the record of 30 points is shared by three men.
Likewise, Georgia women’s pentathlete Kendell Williams needs to win three more times (including this year) to break the record of 38 points by Johnson. Rival Erica Bougard of Mississippi State is currently third on that list with 18 points.
(Note: Williams’ teammate Maicel Uibo could tie 2010 Bowerman Trophy winner Ashton Eaton of Oregon at No. 2 on the men’s heptathlon list with a win this year)
Omar McLeod of Arkansas has a little bit more leeway. Aubrey Herring of Indiana State is the top career scorer in the men’s 60-meter hurdles with 32 points. McLeod already has 10 points to his name from a year ago, and is the heavy favorite to earn 10 more this weekend. He would need just 12 more over the course of his final two years to get Herring’s record.
Though one year older, Mississippi State junior Brandon McBride could notch his second career win this weekend to get to 20 points. From there, a win in his senior year would get him the all-time mark with 30 points, and a runner-up finish (or a runner-up finish this year and a win next) would tie him with Dave Patrick of Villanova for the event lead with 28.
Kentucky’s Dezerea Bryant is currently the active leader both at 60 meters and 200 meters. She’s closer to the top at 200, as a win or a runner-up finish would get her at least a share of the No. 4 spot on that all-time list.
Defending 400 meter champ and reigning Boweman Trophy winner Deon Lendore could move to No. 5 all-time with a win this weekend.