Day 1 Of NCAA DI Indoor Championships Historically Strong
By Tyler Mayforth, USTFCCCA
March 10, 2017
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Fret not, collegiate track & field fans.
Day 1 of the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships offers just as much excitement as Championship Saturday. Don’t believe us? Keep reading.
An equal amount of current collegiate records were set on the first day of NCAAs (7) as the second (7). In fact, one woman made a habit of breaking records on the first day of NCAAs ever since she stepped on the collegiate scene: Georgia’s Kendell Williams.
|Wallace Spearmon, Arkansas||3/11/2005||200 Meters||20.10|
|Shawn Barber, Akron||3/14/2015||Pole Vault||5.91m|
|Ryan Whiting, Arizona State||3/14/2008||Shot Put||21.73m|
|Bianca Knight, Texas||3/14/2008||200 Meters||22.40|
|Akela Jones, Kansas State*||3/11/2016||High Jump||1.98m|
|Destinee Hooker, Texas*||3/13/2009||High Jump||1.98m|
|Whitney Gipson, TCU||3/9/2012||Long Jump||6.91m|
|Kendell Williams, Georgia||3/11/2016||Pentathlon||4703|
Look at the progression of the collegiate record in the pentathlon over the years and you’ll notice Williams has her fingerprints all over the record book. Williams shattered the record as a freshman at NCAAs in 2014, bettered it as a sophomore in 2015 and pushed it over the 4700-point threshold last year to where it stands today (4703).
There is little reason to doubt Williams won’t be back at it again today, especially after what she did two weeks ago at the SEC Indoor Championships. Williams was on record pace through four events and fell just short of her record, totaling 4686 points – which is good enough for second most all-time.
It was also in that pentathlon last year where Kansas State’s Akela Jones mounted a furious rally and tied the collegiate record in the high jump in the process. Yes, you read that correctly. Jones matched Destinee Hooker’s collegiate record of 1.98m (6-6) during the pentathlon – on her first attempt, no less.
Two of those other aforementioned records set on Day 1 were done so in the prelims of the same event – the 200 meters. Wallace Spearmon established the men’s standard of 20.10 back in 2005, while Bianca Knight lowered the women’s mark to 22.40 three years later.
We bring this up because Leonard Myles-Mills’ 18-year-old record in the 60 of 6.45 could very well be in danger today after one look at Heat 1. It’s as cutthroat as it gets for a prelim.
Co-national leader Christian Coleman of Tennessee (6.51) faces four men who have gone 6.60 or faster this year, including Houston’s Cameron Burrell who ran the 9th fastest time in collegiate history last year in the prelims (6.50). Burrell then scorched the track with a time of 6.48 the next day in a runner-up effort to champion Ronnie Baker.
The second heat won’t be any slower as it has four men who have gone sub-6.60 this season – including Georgia’s Kendal Williams, who matched Coleman’s 6.51.
Don’t forget: The top-2 men in each section, plus the next four fastest, advances to Saturday’s final – so you better believe they’ll be moving out there.
Plus, Ole Miss’ Raven Saunders steps into the circle in the women’s shot put. Whenever “Hulk” chalks up her hands and lets the sphere fly, the record book is in danger – and the current collegiate record holder is due for a big mark.
And last, but certainly not least, Oregon’s Edward Cheserek begins his pursuit of history. Cheserek is expected to triple at NCAAs this year (mile, 3000, 5000) and could very well quadruple with the DMR if the Ducks need the points. Fans will see Cheserek in the mile prelims to start the night and again in the 5000. If last year is any indication, they’ll probably see him once again 30 minutes later toeing the line to anchor the DMR.
Who said Day 1 wasn’t exciting?