Old Guard Still Standing In Collegiate Outdoor Record Book

Athletes are evolving.

You don’t have to look much further than the ever-changing collegiate outdoor record book to understand that fact.


Over the past two seasons, 16 of the 42 current all-time bests have been established. That’s 38.1 percent of them!

Leaving Their Mark On The Record Book

Year Name Event Mark
2018 Michael Norman Men’s 400 Meters 43.61
2018 Michael Saruni Men’s 800 Meters 1:43.25
2018 Josh Kerr Men’s 1500 Meters 3:35.01
2018 Rai Benjamin Men’s 400 Hurdles 47.02
2018 Houston Cougars Men’s 4×100 Relay 38.17
2018 USC Trojans Men’s 4×400 Relay 2:59.00
2018 Sydney McLaughlin Women’s 400 Hurdles 52.75
2018 LSU Tigers Women’s 4×100 Relay 42.05
2018 Keturah Orji Women’s Triple Jump 14.62m
2018 Maggie Ewen Women’s Shot Put 19.46m
2018 Maggie Ewen Women’s Hammer 74.53m
2017 Christian Coleman Men’s 100 Meters 9.82
2017 Lindon Victor Men’s Decathlon 8539
2017 Kyra Jefferson Women’s 200 Meters 22.02
2017 Raevyn Rogers Women’s 800 Meters 1:59.10
2017 Oregon Ducks Women’s 4×400 Relay 3:23.13

Out of those 16, 11 were set last year alone! We saw collegiate records fall in the Men’s 400 Meters, Men’s 800 Meters, Men’s 1500 Meters, Men’s 400 Meter Hurdles, Men’s 4×100 Relay, Men’s 4×400 Relay, Women’s 400 Meter Hurdles, Women’s 4×100 Relay, Women’s Triple Jump, Women’s Shot Put and Women’s Hammer Throw. (FYI: Finalists for The Bowerman in 2018 combined for a staggering seven of those!)

Yet as much as the collegiate outdoor record book has changed, some marks have stood the test of time. As of right now, there are 14 all-time bests that were set more than 20 years ago, including three that are now 40 years old.

They’re Oldies – But Goodies

Year Name Event Mark
1978 Henry Rono Men’s 5000 Meters 13:08.4h
1978 Henry Rono Men’s Steeplechase 8:05.4h
1979 Renaldo Nehemiah Men’s 110 Hurdles 13.00
1981 Meg Ritchie Women’s Discus Throw 67.48m
1982 Keith Connor Men’s Triple Jump 17.57m
1985 Jackie Joyner-Kersee Women’s Long Jump 6.99m
1989 Hollis Conway Men’s High Jump 2.38m
1989 Dawn Sowell Women’s 100 Meters 10.78A
1990 Patrik Boden Men’s Javelin Throw 89.10m
1994 Erick Walder Men’s Long Jump 8.74m
1995 John Godina Men’s Shot Put 22.00m
1995 Balazs Kiss Men’s Hammer Throw 81.94m
1995 Diane Guthrie Women’s Heptathlon 6527
1996 Lawrence Johnson Men’s Pole Vault 5.98m

There is reason to believe, that based on what we saw out of three male athletes during the indoor season, that three of these older records could fall in 2019.

The first of which is Renaldo Nehemiah’s 40-year-old standard of 13.00 in the 110H, which was a world record at the time. Grant Holloway is the biggest threat to this mark as he sits No. 2 on the all-time chart at 13.15. Holloway smashed the American and collegiate record in the 60H at the NCAA Indoor Championships earlier this month when he crossed the finish line in 7.36. There is little reason to doubt that Holloway’s new-found speed will translate well outdoors.

Next up is John Godina’s 24-year-old standard of 22.00m (72-2¼) in the shot put. Godina recorded that mark at the 1995 NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships. By the end of the season, Payton Otterdahl might just topple that pillar. Otterdahl broke the collegiate indoor record in the event with his heave of 21.81m (71-6½), so he could very well add some distance outdoors as the weather gets warmer.

Finally we have Lawrence Johnson’s 23-year-old standard of 5.98m (19-7½) in the pole vault. Mondo Duplantis already broke the collegiate indoor record in the event when he cleared 5.92m (19-5) at the SEC Championships and owns a lifetime outdoor PR of 6.05m (19-10¼). Chances are it’s just a matter of time until the LSU freshman phenom unifies the pole vault records.

As far as those four women’s records, listed in the above chart, chances are they remain unscathed, because very few have come close over the years.

  • The only woman within eight feet of Meg Ritche’s discus record was Suzy Powell in 1997.
  • Only two women have come within three inches of Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s long jump record in the past 34 years: Sheila Echols in 1987 and Brittney Reese in 2008.
  • No woman in the past 30 years has gone sub-10.91 in the 100 other than Aleia Hobbs, who accomplished the feat twice.
  • The closest any woman got to Diane Guthre’s 6527-point standard in the heptathlon was Brianne Theisen in 2012 with her 6440-point total.

We’re bound to see some collegiate records broken this outdoor season. Now it’s time to sit back and see who does it.