WEEKEND IN REVIEW: Distance Stars Shine, Rewrite History
EDITOR’S NOTE: This recap focuses on the distance events that happened this weekend. If you’re looking for everything else, CLICK HERE.
The final major weekend of the collegiate indoor track & field regular season lived up to the hype – and then some.
From The USTFCCCA InfoZone: Meets & Results
Collegians took aim at the record books and the Descending Order Lists throughout the week as big marks were turned in across the nation from Massachusetts to Washington and everywhere in between.
Here is a look at some of the most notable performances of the weekend.
We’ll continue to update this throughout the day.
David Hemery Valentine Invitational
Friday was women’s day and the action started early as the BU Track & Tennis Center almost added a collegiate record in the 800. Penn’s Nia Akins took control on the third lap of the 200-meter banked oval and sizzled a huge PR of 2:00.71 – just 0.02 seconds off the CR of 2:00.69 set in 2017 by Jazmine Fray of Texas A&M. For Akins the mark was a 3-second indoor PR and was almost a second better than her outdoor best of 2:01.67 set in finishing runner-up at last year’s NCAA meet in Austin.
Sydney Packard of WPI nearly joined Akins in the record-breaking fun a few heats later when she clocked a time of 2:06.54, just 0.01 seconds off the NCAA Division III record set by Emily Richards in 2018. Packard already sat No. 10 on the chart, but greatly improved her positioning.
The nightcap was also sensational. Jenny Simpson, winner of The Bowerman in 2009, reached her intended goal of getting the Olympic 5000 standard with an indoor PR 14:58.67. Following next were current Colorado stars Dani Jones and Makena Morley. Jones – a member of the current Watch List for The Bowerman – made her first indoor 5K race memorable with a 15:17.11 to move to No. 9 on the all-time list, while Morley lowered her PR by 10 seconds to 15:26.22.
Ithaca’s Parley Hannan shattered the NCAA Division III record in fifth at 16:05.36, breaking the old record by 17 seconds and lowered her PR by almost 40 seconds. The only NCAA DIII runner to ever run faster even outdoors is Missy Buttry of Wartburg in 2003 at 15:37.48.
The Saturday men’s races struck gold in the 3000. Northern Arizona came strong, led by Luis Grijalva‘s PR 7:43.73 that puts him at No. 6 on the all-time collegiate list. Another Lumberjack, defending mile champ Geordie Beamish, followed in 7:44.67 and is now No. 9 all-time. The frantic finish also saw a massive PR by Simon Fraser’s Kieran Lumb at 7:45.50, just ahead of Bowerman Watch List member Tyler Day at 7:45.70. Lumb won last year’s NAIA outdoor 5k.
The Dempsey delivered a bevy of fast times, like usual.
In the Women’s 3000, two members of The Bowerman Watch List clocked huge PRs, led by BYU’s Whittni Orton at 8:49.63 to become just the sixth collegian to dip below 8:50 indoors on any size track. It’s the first known 3k for Orton, who has PRed in every race she’s run this winter.
Orton was just one of six collegiate women to run sub-9 for the first time. The all-star list includes a pair each from Arkansas and Stanford, who waged a wonderful cross country battle in the fall, as the finish followed with Stanford’s Ella Donaghu (8:54.72), Arkansas’ Katie Izzo (8:55.67), Washington’s Katie Rainsberger (8:56.24), Arkansas’ Carina Viljoen (8:56.63) and Stanford’s Jessica Lawson (8:59.38). Izzo is also on the current Women’s Watch List for The Bowerman.
The Men’s 3000 was also fast. Cooper Teare, who solo-anchored Oregon’s DMR record two weeks ago with a 3:55.5 1600, lowered his PR by six seconds as the the top collegian in 7:46.45. Not far behind was teammate James West at 7:47.10, going sub-7:50 for the first time. West led off the record DMR with an impressive 2:53.5 1200 leg.
Iowa State Classic
Hometown star Edwin Kurgat made some history Saturday, joining the sub-4 mile club with an impressive 3:58.62 to win by 2 seconds. It follows a nice sequence for the reigning NCAA cross country champ, as he has PRed in every race he has run this winter.
In the Men’s 800, Festus Lagat of Iowa State held off Air Force’s Michael Rhoads, 1:47.50 to 1:47.65. Both were finalists at last year’s NCAA outdoor meet.
Friday also had some nice racing. In the Men’s 5000, Morgan Beadlescomb of Michigan State scored a big PR 13:31.50, turning back Virginia Tech’s Peter Seufer, who was fourth in the NCAA cross country championships.
In the men’s high jump, Tejaswin Shankar of Kansas State won with a seasonal best 2.25m (7-4½). He won the NCAA outdoor title in 2018.