WEEKEND PREVIEW: Conference Championships Around the Nation

By Kyle Terwillegar, USTFCCCA

February 25, 2016   

NEW ORLEANS – There’s more at stake this weekend in college track & field than just getting your name higher on the national championships qualifying lists.

Championship season is already underway in NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field – as well as in DII and DIII, for that matter. Individual league titles are on the line against regional rivals, with the ultimate prize of conference team trophies waiting at the end of the weekend.

MORE INFO: Conference Championships Central | Broadcast Schedule

It’s a weekend celebrating track & field’s most complete teams that excel in a combination of the sprints and distance races and the jumps and throws.

In short, it’s a weekend matched only by the NCAA Championships in terms of excitement and importance.

We’ve broken down the five biggest conference meets – in terms of nationally ranked teams – to show the team contenders and a handful of elite events to watch at each.

Though we only had room and time for the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and MPSF, the list of conference championships this week is a long one with many other featured teams and events.

For instance, you’ll want to keep an eye on the Mountain West where Boise State’s frosh phenom Allie Ostrander  – already the college leader at 3000 and 5000 meters – will try her hand at the mile.

And the Big East, where Patrick Tiernan of Villanova will square off with Butler’s Erik Peterson and Georgetown’s Jonathan Green at 5000 meters.

And the American, where No. 3 Cameron Burrell of Houston will take on No. 6 Bryce Robinson of Tulsa at 60 meters.

To get all the info on all the conference meets around the country, be sure to check out the USTFCCCA Conference Championships Central page. Details on conference meets in all three NCAA Divisions can be found there.

Detailed overviews of the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and MPSF can be found below.

Friday, Feb. 26 & Saturday, Feb. 27 | Fayetteville, Arkansas (Host: Arkansas)
Meet Home | Live Results | WATCH LIVE on SEC NETWORK+/WatchESPN

Defending Champions: Florida (Men), Arkansas (Women) | Meet History


1. Arkansas
3. LSU
4. Tennessee
5. Texas A&M
8. Georgia
10. Florida


2. Georgia
3. Florida
4. Arkansas
8. Tennessee
12. LSU
15. Kentucky
20. Texas A&M

Men’s Events to Watch

Women’s Events to Watch

400 Meters & 4×400 Relay

400 Final: Saturday | 5pm ET / 4pm CT
400 Prelims: Friday | 7:05pm ET / 6:05pm CT

4×400 Relay: Saturday | 7:55pm ET / 6:55pm CT

Six of the ten fastest collegians in the country will likely toe the line this weekend in Fayetteville, including each of the top four. Marqueze Washington of Arkansas just took the collegiate lead from No. 2 Michael Cherry of LSU, and both will have to contend with the likes of No. 3 Alfred Larry of Mississippi State and No. 4 Nathan Strother of Tennessee.

Eleven of the 25 fastest men are in the field, promising for a dramatic 4×400 relay to close the meet. LSU is No. 2 in the country, followed by No. 4 Arkansas, No. 5 Florida, No. 7 Mississippi State and No. 8 Texas A&M.


60-Meter Hurdles

FINAL: Saturday | 4pm ET / 3pm CT
PRELIMS: Friday | 5pm ET / 4pm CT

Two of the top challengers who have emerged on the national scene in the race to fill the void left by Omar McLeod’s departure will go head-to-head in Arkansas this weekend. Both LSU’s Jordan Moore and South Carolina’s Dondre Echols are tied at No. 2 in the national with times of 7.68.


800 Meters

Date | Time

What will frosh phenom Donavan Brazier of Texas A&M do in his biggest collegiate meet to date? The 1:45.95 man will take on No. 8 Ryan Manahan of Ole Miss, No. 9 Carlton Orange of Arkansas – another frosh – and No. 10 Andres Arroyo of Florida.

200 Meters

FINAL: Saturday | 6:35pm ET / 5:35pm CT
PRELIMS: Friday | 8:05pm ET / 7:05pm CT

This one is going to be a barn burner. It’ll be a battle of 1-2-3 (and more) as defending national champion Kyra Jefferson of Florida could square off with No. 2 Felicia Brown of Tennessee and No. 3 Taylor Ellis-Watson of Arkansas. Both Jada Martin of LSU and Robin Reynolds of Florida are tied at No. 5 in the country, headlining a field that feature as many as 14 of the 25 fastest women in the country.


Triple Jump

Saturday | 5:30pm ET / 4:30pm CT

The top four women in the country will all be dueling against one another in Fayetteville this weekend. Collegiate leader Keturah Orji of Georgia will take on the Florida duo of No. 2 Yanis David and No. 3 Darrielle McQueen, as well as No. 4 Simone Charley of Vanderbilt. Orji won the SEC a year ago before getting upset by an SEC rival in Ciarra Brewer of Florida.


Shot Put & Pentathlon

Shot Put: Friday | 8pm ET / 7pm CT
Pentathlon: Friday | 12pm ET / 11am CT

Anytime Ole Miss’ Raven Saunders or Georgia’s Kendell Williams compete in their signature events, collegiate records are put on notice. Saunders will be competing for the first time since taking down the all-time shot put mark two weekends ago, while Williams will again go for her own pentathlon record.



Thursday, Feb. 25 to Saturday, Feb. 27 | Boston, Massachusetts (Host: Boston College)
Meet Home | Live Results | WATCH LIVE on ESPN3

Defending Champions: Virginia Tech (Men), Clemson (Women) | Meet History


#11 Virginia Tech
#14 Syracuse
#18 NC State
#23 Virginia


#9 NC State
#13 Notre Dame
#18 Miami (Fla.)

Men’s Events to Watch

Women’s Events to Watch

5000 Meters

Friday | 7:20 p.m. ET

The final race on Friday night should be a good one as two of the fastest runners at this distance square off — Virginia Tech’s Thomas Curtin (No. 2) and Syracuse’s Colin Bennie (No. 4). Don’t you dare forget about Syracuse’s Justyn Knight, either, who is unseeded but should turn in an NCAA qualifying time.


3000 Meters

Saturday | 2:55 p.m. ET

This has the potential of being Justyn Knight‘s third race of the weekend — if he also competes in the DMR on Thursday. Knight, the third-fastest in DI at this distance, faces NC State’s Luis Vargas (No. 5) and Virginia’s Henry Wynne, who is right on the cusp of qualifying for NCAAs (16th) and needs a strong performance to keep himself in the mix.


Pole Vault

Saturday | Noon

It’s teammate versus teammate for the individual title here as Virginia Tech’s Torben Laidig and Deakin Volz are the odds-on favorites. Laidig has the second best vault in the nation (5.62m/18-5.25), while Volz sits in sixth (5.46m/17-11).

3000 Meters

Saturday | 2:20 p.m. ET

Fast or calculated. This race will be one or the other — but hopefully both when three of the top-7 runners at this distance take to the track. NC State’s duo of Wesley Frazier (No. 2) and Erika Kemp (No. 6) must deal with Notre Dame’s Molly Seidel (No. 3).


Weight Throw

Thursday | 5 p.m.

This has the potential of being a good one. NC State’s Nicole Chavis (DI No. 2) will throw against Louisville’s Dolly Nyemah (No. 5) and Precious Ogunleye of Miami (Fla.), who is No. 8 in DI. All should make NCAAs, so it could be a good preview of what fans could see in Birmingham, Alabama.


Pole Vault

Friday | 5 p.m. ET

Whenever the top-ranked athlete in an event is entered, it’s one to watch. Duke’s Megan Clark, who recently competed at the prestigious Millrose Games, will look to continue her strong season with a conference championship in Boston. She’ll be up against Miami’s Alysha Newman, who’s also top-five in the nation.



Friday, Feb. 26 & Saturday, Feb. 27 | Ames, Iowa (Host: Iowa State)
Meet Home | Live Results | WATCH LIVE on Flotrack PRO

Defending Champions: Texas (Men), Texas (Women, x2) | Meet History


6. Texas
7. Texas Tech
16. Oklahoma State
22. TCU


5. Texas
11. Oklahoma State
7. Kansas State
24. Baylor

Men’s Events to Watch

Women’s Events to Watch

60 Meters

FINAL: Saturday, 3pm ET/2pm CT
PRELIMS: Friday, 5:20pm ET/4:20pm CT

Get ready for a mini-NCAA Championships preview, as defending national champion No. 4 Ronnie Baker of TCU takes on last year’s national runner-up and top-ranked John Teeters of Oklahoma State. Also watch out for last year’s fourth-place NCAA finisher No. 14 Senoj-Jay Givans of Texas.


High Jump

Satuday | 4pm ET / 3pm CT

Who has the nation’s best high jumps corps? We’ll find out on Saturday. Kansas State’s high jumpers are ranked No. 1 in the USTFCCCA “Event Squad Rankings”, followed by Texas Tech’s. K-State has No. 3 Christoff Bryan, No. 14 Miles Bearden and No. 16 NaTron Gipson, while the Red Raiders have two-time national runner-up/college leader Bradley Adkins and No. 8 Trey Culver. All have cleared at least 2.17m this year.


4×400 Relay

Saturday | 6:25pm ET / 5:25pm CT

Has the balance of power in the men’s 4×400 relay shifted? While LSU, Florida, Arkansas and Texas A&M are dueling at the SEC Championships, the Big 12 features three of the top six teams in the country, including NCAA-leader Texas, No. 3 Texas Tech and No. 6 Baylor. Not to be discounted is TCU, which finished fifth at NCAAs a year ago.

400 Meters

Saturday | 4pm ET / 3pm CT

Two years ago, Texas’ Courtney Okolo broke the collegiate outdoor record at this distance at the Big 12 meet. Though any time she runs on Iowa State’s oversized track won’t count as a collegiate record, she’s poised to go very fast this weekend after running 51.16 – the fastest-ever regular season time – a few weekends ago. She’ll be up against national contenders No. 10 Daye Shon Roberson of Oklahoma and Texas teammate No. 11 Chrisann Gordon.


3000 Meters

Saturday | 5:20pm ET / 4:20pm CT

There’s a lot of names distance running fans are going to be familiar with. Kaela Edwards of Oklahoma State has been phenomenal this year from 800 meters all the way through this distance, and she’ll be up against Kansas’ Sharon Lokedi, Baylor’s Maggie Montoya, the Iowa State duo of Erin Hooker and Perez Rotich, and Edwards’ Oklahoma State teammates in Monika Juodeskaite, Natalie Baker and Loevnes Ingeborg.


800 Meters

Saturday | 4:40pm ET / 3:40pm CT


The aforementioned Edwards was runner-up nationally at 800 meters a year ago, just ahead of Baylor’s Olicia Williams. The Baylor Bear will duel with 2014’s national runner-up Savannah Camacho – also from Oklahoma State.


Friday, Feb. 26 & Saturday, Feb. 27 | Geneva, Ohio (Host: Ohio State)
Meet Home | Live Results | WATCH LIVE

Defending Champions: Nebraska (Men), Ohio State (Women) | Meet History


#15 Purdue
#17 Penn State
#25 Minnesota


#6 Michigan
#22 Wisconsin
#25 Purdue

Men’s Events to Watch

Women’s Events to Watch

5000 Meters

Saturday | 3:40 p.m. ET

What do you get when you add one runner already in the thick of qualifying for NCAAs (Illinois’ Dylan Lafond) and a host of others (Michigan State’s Caleb Rhynard, Purdue’s Matt McClintock, Michigan’s Mason Ferlic and Wisconsin’s Morgan McDonald) looking to leave their mark? Hopefully a great race. These guys put on a show at the Big Ten Cross Country Championships, so it’s time to see what they do on the track.


Shot Put

Friday | 3:30 p.m. ET

Competition will be fierce to decide this conference champion. Three top-10 throwers — Ohio State’s JC Murasky (No. 4), Purdue’s Chukwuebuka Enekwechi (No. 6) and Minnesota’s Luke Johnson (No. 8) — are looking to improve on and lock up their NCAA qualifying marks,


Weight Throw

Saturday | 11:10 a.m. ET

If Purdue’s Chukwuebuka Enekwechi is hurling the 35-pound ball, you better pay attention. There’s a good chance history could be made. Enekwechi is right outside the top-10 throws in collegiate history and is knocking on the door. He’ll be pushed by a trio of Michigan State Spartans (Vinny Gjokaj, Connor Kostrzewa and Riley Norman).

60-Meter Hurdles

Saturday | 2:50 p.m. ET

The nation’s fastest (Michigan’s Cindy Ofili) goes up against the fifth fastest (Purdue’s Devynne Charlton) on Saturday. Ofili has gone sub-8 seconds once this season at the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational and will look to make it two in a row and break the Big Ten Indoor Championships record of 7.95 set by Christina Manning in 2012.


3000/5000 Meters

Friday | 6:10 p.m. / Saturday | 4:05 p.m. ET

If Michigan’s Erin Finn, Penn State’s Tessa Barrett, Penn State’s Elizabeth Chikotas and Michigan’s Gina Sereno don’t see enough of each other in the 3000 on Friday night, they’ll get 25 more laps to see each other less than 24 hours later. Michigan State’s Alexis Wiersma is also entered in the 5000.


Shot Put

Friday | 5:30 p.m. ET

This is the final field event on Friday — and for good reason. Fans will see Wisconsin’s Kelsey Card (DI No. 2) face off against Penn State’s Rachel Fatherly. It’s safe to say the conference record in the shot put is in danger of 17.72m (58-2) since Card already has a few throws better than that.



Friday, Feb. 26 & Saturday, Feb. 27 | Seattle, Washington (Host: Washington)
Meet Home | Live Results | WATCH LIVE (Flotrack Pro)

Defending Champions: Oregon (Men), Southern California (Women) | Meet History


#2 Oregon
#9 Southern California
#12 Washington
#19 Stanford


#1 Oregon
#10 Southern California
#17 Washington

Men’s Events to Watch

Women’s Events to Watch

Triple Jump

Friday | 8:15 p.m. ET

Last year this event belonged to Marquis Dendy. This year? It could very well be Southern California jumper Eric Sloan‘s time to shine. Sloan is No. 1 in this event and will be matched up against Arizona State’s Tim White (No. 9), Oregon’s Nate Moore (No. 10) and Stanford’s Darian Brooks (No. 11).



Friday | 10:25 p.m. ET

Twelve teams hit qualifying marks for NCAAs — Oregon isn’t one of them. The Ducks ran a quick time earlier in the season but this past weekend pushed them out of contention. Oregon is entered to run this weekend and a time in the 9:27-9:29 range should punch their ticket to Birmingham.



Friday & Saturday

We don’t know exactly who is entered this weekend in the mile, 3000 or 5000, but judging by the talent in the MPSF, those races should be loaded. Five of the top-10 athletes in the 3000 are in the league; three of the top-10 in the 5000 and two of the top-10 milers. Several others are fringe NCAA qualifiers.


Saturday | 5:25 p.m. ET

Southern California, ranked second in the nation in this event, goes up agianst fifth-ranked Oregon and ninth-ranked Arizona. The Stanford Cardinal is 11th and would need a solid run to maintain their spot in the NCAA qualifying.



Friday & Saturday

Just like the men, not much is known about who is entered when it comes to distance events. There are several runners who need strong times to qualify for NCAAs, like Stanford’s Vanessa Fraser (15th) or Washington’s Maddie Meyers (18th) in the 3000 or Oregon’s Waverly Neer (14th) or Molly Grabill (15th) in the 5000.


Shot Put

Saturday | 1:30 p.m. ET

The hunt for the final spots at NCAAs is on! There are three throwers in the MPSF who need to solidify their trip to Alabama — Oregon’s Itohan Aikhionbare, UCLA’s Torie Owers and Arizona State’s Maggie Ewen.