Weekend Preview: Indoor Season Picks Up Steam

We’re into the heart of the collegiate indoor track & field season.

By our unofficial count, there are 65 meets across the nation this weekend.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZone: Meets & Results | Records & Lists

And if we learned anything from the past few weekends, it’s to expect the unexpected.

Did we think Merlene Ottey’s legendary collegiate record in the 300 meters of 35.83 would have fallen this season? After nobody coming closer than 0.29 seconds in the previous 39 years? No, but Kentucky’s Abby Steiner changed all that when she ran 35.80 at the Cardinal Classic on December 11.

Speaking of blistering marks over 300 meters, Florida’s Jacory Patterson lowered his own collegiate record in that event to 31.99. Patterson is now the seventh fastest man in world history and just 0.12 seconds off the all-time world best of 31.87 established five years ago by Noah Lyles.

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While we’re talking about world history, we might as well mention Georgia’s Matthew Boling, who did something that no other athlete had done in world history – let alone in the same weekend. It was at the Clemson Invitational where Boling soared 8.25m (27-0¾) in the long jump on Friday and ripped a 20.49 national-leading 200 on Saturday to etch his name into the annals.

Florida’s Grace Stark made headlines at the Clemson Invitational as well with her scintillating mark of 7.86 in the final of the 60 hurdles. Stark moved into a tie for third on the all-time collegiate list with former LSU standout Tonea Marshall. Just 0.02 seconds separates Stark, who holds the world U20 all-time best in the event, from No. 2 and 0.08 seconds from the collegiate record.

How about what Williams’ Aidan Ryan did at the UW Indoor Preview this past weekend? Ryan covered 3000 meters in 7:55.29, which installed a new NCAA DIII all-time best, trumping the old mark of 7:59.23 clocked by Dan Mayer back in 1994. And while our record book only counts marks turned in on a 200-meter oval, Ryan is in a tremendous spot to shatter the 10-year-old record of 8:07.02 held by Ben Sathre the next time he runs the event on a 200-meter track.

Looking ahead to this weekend, expect to see some big marks from the Carolina Challenge in Columbia, South Carolina, the Hokie Invitational in Blacksburg, Virginia, as well as the Red Raider Invitational in Lubbock, Texas, among others. South Carolina welcomes Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina A&T and Ohio State to the Carolina Indoor Track & Field Complex. Texas Tech plays host to Arkansas’ women, LSU, Texas and Southern California, as well as a number of NJCAA programs inside the Sports Performance Center. Virginia Tech’s Rector Field House will see Clemson, NC State and Tennessee under the same roof.

Let’s not forget about Grand Valley State’s Mike Lints Open, Iowa’s Larry Wieczorek Invitational, Iowa State’s Cyclone Open, Michigan’s Michigan Invitational or other meets that will be staged by numerous NCAA DII, NCAA DIII and NAIA programs.