MEET PREVIEW: 2017 Mt. SAC Relays
By Tyler Mayforth, USTFCCCA
April 13, 2017
April means the heart of the collegiate track & field season.
The heart of the collegiate track & field season means the Mt. SAC Relays.
This weekend marks the 59th running of the Mt. SAC Relays, but it won’t be held at the iconic location. Instead, it was moved for the second year in a row due to construction on Hilmer Lodge Stadium and will be held at Murdock Stadium on the campus of El Camino College.
Rest assured the competition level remains at an all-time high.
Allow this preview to serve as your walkthrough to the Mt. SAC Relays.
Women’s 100 | Women’s 200
Saturday, 5:45 pm ET | Saturday, 7:45 pm ET
Both of the elite sections are loaded, but keep a close eye on Heat 2.
That’s where you’ll get to see the past take on the present and possibly future.
The Oregon trio of Hannah Cunliffe, Deajah Stevens and Ariana Washington will face the likes of Deanna Hill and Mikiah Brisco from the current collegiate crop and former Duck standout Jenna Prandini from the professional circuit.
Prandini won the 2015 The Bowerman Award and Cunliffe, Stevens and Washington are all on the most recent Watch List that came out after the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships.
Cunliffe is already making a name for herself in 2017 with a collegiate record in the 60 during the indoor season and having her hand in two collegiate records outdoors (4×100, 4×200).
If you’re thinking collegiate record in the 100, it’s quite possible. Three of the top-10 times in collegiate history were run at the Mt. SAC Relays with Prandini’s 10.92 from 2015 coming in 2nd behind Dawn Sowell’s current high-water mark of 10.78A.
Women’s 4×100 Relay
Saturday, 4:45 pm ET
If we’re talking sprints, why not discuss one of the most exciting races in track?
Heat 2 is where it’s at as Oregon’s quartet of Hannah Cunliffe, Makenzie Dumore, Deajah Stevens and Ariana Washington take another crack at the collegiate record book. Just a few weeks ago they set the collegiate standard of 42.34 and could run faster here.
The Ducks will be pushed by two strong collegiate teams in LSU – anchored by reigning National Athlete of the Week Aleia Hobbs – and USC, not to mention the two professional teams in the mix headlined by former Oregon star Jasmine Todd and Allyson Felix.
Saturday, 6:05 pm ET
Feast your eyes on Heat 2 of the elite competition.
It’s there that you find Oregon’s Raevyn Rogers and BYU’s Shea Collinsworth. Don’t forget about former Oregon standout and 2014 The Bowerman Award winner Laura Roesler and 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships gold medalist Chanelle Price.
Collinsworth turned in a strong performance this past weekend when she ran 2:01.51 at the Sun Angel Classic hosted by Arizona State. This will be the first open 800 of the season for Rogers.
Noteworthy: NCAA Division II record holder Carsyn Koch is in Heat 1. Koch will be running against LSU’s Ruby Stauber (5th place at NCAA DI indoors) and a host of professional athletes … Ohio Northern’s Emily Richards, who was the subject of a recent Feature Friday, is entered in the unseeded section and could be aiming for the NCAA Division III record of 2:02.95. Richards could be pulled to a fast time with the likes of Oklahoma State’s Kaylee Dodd and Mississippi State’s Ffion Price in the same section.
Friday, 9:35 pm ET
It’s going to be a divisional battle on Friday night in Heat 1 of the 1500.
Six of the best NCAA DI has to offer goes up against one of the best from NCAA DII.
Those NCAA DI athletes entered include Boise State’s Allie Ostrander, Cal Poly’s Peyton Bilo, the Mississippi State sister duo of Ffion Price and Rhianwedd Price, Oregon freshman phenom Katie Rainsberger and Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale.
Minnesota-Duluth’s Emilee Trost is the NCAA DII headliner. Trost finished 2nd in the mile indoors and was 4th back in November at the NCAA XC meet.
Women’s 100 Hurdles
Saturday, 6:20 pm ET
The Oregon duo of Alaysha Johnson and Sasha Wallace go up against 2010 The Bowerman Award winner Queen Harrison in Heat 2 of this event.
Wallace captured the indoor title this past month in the 60 hurdles with a time of 7.90 and is looking to add another crown to her collection.
We haven’t seen a top-10 time in collegiate history run at the Mt. SAC Relays, but there is no reason it shouldn’t be able to happen here. If Johnson or Wallace goes sub-12.61, they made it.
Johnson and Wallace both opened the outdoor season two weeks ago at the Florida Relays. The former won with an effort of 12.69, while the latter placed third in 12.94.
Women’s Shot Put
Saturday, 8 pm ET
Who said the Mt. SAC Relays are all about running events?
Two of the three women who represented Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games this past August will be in action as American record holder Michelle Carter faces off against Ole Miss standout Raven Saunders.
Collegiate records are in danger every time Saunders steps into the circle and when she’s pushed by great competition, anything is possible. Last July Saunders finished runner-up to Carter at the U.S. Olympic Trials and launched the orb 19.24m (63-1½) on her final attempt.
Saturday, 5:55 pm
Sampson Laari and Eliud Rutto have a chance to run fast this weekend.
The Middle Tennessee duo lines up in Heat 2 of the seeded 800 and it’s going to be a fun one. Laari and Rutto will be joined by Olympic 800-meter bronze medalist Clayton Murphy, Duane Solomon and Eric Sowinski, among others.
Laari has a PR of 1:46.44, while Rutto clocked a time of 1:45.37 as a sophomore in 2014.
Men’s 110 Hurdles
Saturday, 6:30 pm ET
Two of the 8 men from the 60 hurdles final at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships will duel at 110 meters on Saturday – Youngstown State’s Chad Zallow (3rd) and Iowa’s Aaron Mallett (8th). Throw in another hurdler from the prelims (Houston’s Amere Lattin) and this has all the makings of a preview come June in Eugene, Oregon.
Zallow is at the top of the NCAA DI Descending Order List with his time of 13.37 that he ran a few weeks ago at the Florida Relays. It was at that meet where Zallow beat NCAA indoor runner-up Freddie Crittenden III of Syracuse. Another win here would go a long way for Zallow.
This weekend marks the fourth meet in which Lattin will contest the 110 hurdles, while it will be the season debut at this distance for Mallet.
Friday, 11:20 pm ET
A strong field is assembled for the 2nd section of the 5000 on Friday night.
Here’s a smattering of those athletes entered: Washington’s Colby Gilbert, Tulsa’s Marc Scott, Adams State’s Sydney Gidabuday, Arkansas’ Jack Bruce, Colorado State’s Grant Fisher and Jerrell Mock, BYU’s Jonathan Harper and Clayton Young, Ole Miss’ Wes Gallagher and Texas Tech’s Benard Keter.
That’s a lot of talent and a bunch of All-Americans in one race.