2022 NCAA DI Men’s Indoor Track & Field Rating Index – Week 7
NEW ORLEANS – It’s finally here!
Here is the Pre-Championships Edition of the NCAA Division I Men’s Indoor Track & Field National Rating Index for the 2022 season, as released on Monday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Let this serve as a team preview for the 2022 NCAA DI Indoor Track & Field Championships, which take place THIS WEEKEND in Birmingham, Alabama.
NCAA Division I — Men's Indoor Track & Field
This Week's National Top Five
North Carolina A&T
All TFRI Reports
There is a virtual tie at the top of the rankings, as top-ranked Arkansas and second-ranked Georgia are separated by just 0.31 points. Anything less than one ranking point is considered too-close-to-call by the National TFRI, as both teams have a viable claim to the top spot based on their efforts throughout the season and the entries they bring to the NCAA Championships.
The Razorbacks, who are looking for their 21st national title in program history and first since 2013, hauled in a gender-high 11 entries to the meet, spanning nine different events. Five of those entries feature athletes who are ranked among the top-5 seasonal performers, including national-leader Ayden Owens in the heptathlon (Owens is also one of the best in collegiate history with his 6272-point total). Arkansas will also see fourth-ranked Amon Kemboi in the 3000, the fourth-ranked 4×400 relay team and fifth-ranked John Baker (long jump) and Kieran Taylor (800) compete during the course of the two-day meet, among others.
The Bulldogs might only have six entries to the NCAA Championships, but there is some bite with that smaller bark. Five of those six entries reside in the top-5 of their respective seasonal chart, including two national-leading efforts from Matthew Boling in the 200 and long jump (as well as a top-10 mark in the 60). Kyle Garland will be a factor in the heptathlon, while Elija Godwin could provide Georgia with big points in the 400 and as part of the 4×400 relay. The Bulldogs have yet to win an indoor national title in program history.
Texas Tech matched Arkansas with a gender-high 11 entries. The third-ranked Red Raiders feature eight top-10 seasonal performers, including Terrence Jones, who equaled the collegiate record in the 60 earlier this season at the Corky Classic, but hasn’t competed in the event since. Moad Zahafi is the only other Texas Tech athlete ranked among the top-5 seasonal performers with his second-ranked 1:46.29A/1:45.99c effort in the 800. The Red Raiders should be in the running for the national title, if not their first podium finish in program history.
Defending champion Oregon is ranked fourth and bolstered its position two weeks ago thanks to the sterling efforts of Reed Brown and Jack Yearian at the BU Last Chance Meet. Brown and Yearian gave the Ducks a pair of late qualifiers in the mile and both rank among the top-6 seasonal performers. Defending individual champions Micah Williams (60) and Emmanuel Ihmeje (triple jump) are both ranked second nationally, but always seem to raise their game at the NCAA Championships (Ihmeje, in particular, with his triple jump sweep last year).
North Carolina A&T rounds out the top-5 with eyes on a podium finish. Five of the Aggies’ seven entries are in either the sprints/hurdles and relays with four among the top-5 seasonal efforts: Randolph Ross is the national leader in the 400; Leonard Mustari and Rasheem Brown are both highly-ranked in the 60-meter hurdles; Javonte’ Harding is ranked third in the 200. Don’t count out North Carolina A&T in the 4×400 relay, either, especially after it swept the 2021 crowns.
Here are the rest of the top-10 teams in the Pre-Championships Edition with their entry totals in parenthesis: No. 6 Texas (10), No. 7 Florida (seven), No. 8 Alabama (seven), No. 9 Tennessee (eight) and No. 10 Florida State (five). Just because these teams are ranked outside of the top-5 doesn’t mean that they can’t shake up the meet and find their way on the podium.