Collegians Take Aim At History In NCAA Postseason
That faint sound you hear in the distance?
Oh, that’s just the knocking knees of the outdoor collegiate record book.
You see, the record book is a little scared of the last few weeks of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field season – especially after what transpired last year.
Collegians proved no record is safe. We saw warning signs of that when then-Georgia sophomore Keturah Orji became just the first collegian to break a collegiate outdoor record at an NCAA DI Preliminary Round since the NCAA switched to a two-site system in 2010, then it continued two weeks later at Historic Hayward Field.
It was on that hallowed ground where two underclassmen – then-Texas A&M freshman Donavan Brazier and then-Ole Miss sophomore Raven Saunders – shattered two of the oldest standards in the collegiate outdoor record book. Brazier demolished Jim Ryun’s record in the 800 on its golden anniversary (1:43.55 to 1:44.3h) and Saunders reduced Meg Ritchie’s 33-year-old best in the shot put to dust (63-5 to 62-3¾).
Fast forward 11½ months and those aforementioned knees of the record book could probably crack a walnut between them based on what transpired in the meantime.
We’ve already seen three true collegiate records* fall this season – men’s decathlon, women’s 800, women’s 4×100 – and five collegians moved up to 2nd all-time in their respective events.
Texas A&M standout Lindon Victor started off the outdoor season with a bang when he broke the decathlon record at the Texas Relays. Victor wasn’t done there as he figured his total of 8472 points wasn’t enough, so he increased it to 8539 this past weekend at the SEC Championships. To put this in perspective, the decathlon record had only been broken 3 times in the previous 31 years from 1986 to 2017 and Victor bettered it twice this season.
The Women of Oregon tossed their hat into the ring yet again thanks to Raevyn Rogers as well as the 4×100 relay team. Rogers edged Suzy Favor’s near 17-year-old mark in the 800 by .01 seconds (1:59.10 to 1:59.11) at the Mt. SAC Relays and it was at that same meet where the 4×100 team lowered its own record to 42.12, which was later matched by LSU.
As far as those marks ranked 2nd in collegiate outdoor history?
LSU’s Aleia Hobbs and Oregon’s Deajah Stevens pose the biggest threat to a pair of records set by Dawn Sowell back in 1989. Hobbs ran the quickest time over 100 meters since then (10.85 to 10.78A) and Stevens the same over 200 meters (22.09 to 22.04A).
Texas A&M’s Fred Kerley produced two of the fastest times over 400 meters at the SEC Championships. Kerley crossed the finish line in 44.09 during the prelims for the 2nd quickest time in collegiate history behind the 25-year-old standard of 44.00 set by Quincy Watts. Then he followed it up with the 8th fastest time in collegiate history in the final (44.30).
A trio of those all-time runner-up marks happened in the field with Arizona State’s Maggie Ewen, Texas A&M’s Ioannis Kyriazis and Orji doing the honors in their respective events.
Ewen broke the American collegiate record in the hammer throw and only trails former Georgia standout Jenny Dahlgren by five inches (239-3 to 238-10). It was just last year that Southern Illinois’ DeAnna Price took aim at Dahlgren’s mark, but now it’s Ewen who usurped Price in that regard.
Kyriazis unleashed a titanic throw at the Texas Relays back in March (88.01m/288-9) and moved right behind former Texas star Patrik Boden (89.10m/292-4). Boden currently holds the No. 1, No. 3, No. 4 and No. 9 marks in collegiate history.
Fans had to wait to see Orji debut outdoors and wanted an encore after she did. Orji hopped, skipped and jumped her way to a distance of 14.31m (46-11½) at the Torrin Lawrence Memorial, which is still a far cry from her mark of 14.53m (47-8) at NCAAs last year.
All of these current collegians mentioned have qualified for their respective NCAA Prelim meet next week in either Lexington, Kentucky (East) or Austin, Texas (West) and if they finish in the top-12 of their respective events there, they’ll head to Eugene, Oregon, from June 7-10.
Once in TrackTown, USA, all bets are off. The collegiate outdoor record book is at the whim of “Hayward Magic” and based off last year where six collegiate records fell over the four days, it might as well prepare for an all-out assault on history.
You don’t want to miss the 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. If you can’t be there in person, be sure to tune in each day from June 7 through June 10 on the ESPN family of networks and watch the final two days in prime time on ESPN.
*Record set in an event contested at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.