Oregon’s Theisen Made Heptathlon History
Welcome to Club 6400.
Only two women have passed through the luxurious velvet rope into one of the most exclusive seven-event cliques in collegiate history: George Mason’s Diane Guthrie-Gresham and Oregon’s Brianne Theisen (now Theisen-Eaton). Not even the great Jackie Joyner (now Joyner-Kersee), who still holds the world record in the heptathlon at 7291 points and has done so since 1988, could crack the 6400-point barrier as a collegiate athlete.
Just five days after the 17-year anniversary of Guthrie’s current collegiate record of 6527 points at the 1995 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Theisen took her victory lap as one of the most accomplished combined event athletes in collegiate history.
To say Theisen’s performance at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, was dominant would be an understatement. Nobody had a chance when Theisen, then a six-time NCAA champion, stepped on the track in search of what injury took from her the previous year (Theisen went back-to-back in the heptathlon in 2009 and 2010 – and added three consecutive indoor pentathlon titles – but a sacroiliac injury forced her to redshirt the 2011 outdoor season).
After a 0.09-second PR in the 100 hurdles of 13.30, Theisen cleared 1.84m (6-0½) in the high jump to take a 113-point lead over eventual runner-up Barbara Nwaba of UCSB. Another PR in the shot put of 12.92m (42-4¾) extended that edge to 126 points, while a 24.09 effort in the 200 had Theisen up by 207 points after Day 1 with a 3803-point total.
“I’m not worried about my score,” Theisen told Peter McKenzie of Track & Field News. “I just want to get 10 points and help my team. So my approach was to just have fun and add things up at the end.”
Theisen kept pouring it throughout Day 2 with PRs in the long jump (6.28m/20-7¼) and the javelin (46.38m/152-2) to make it even more of a rout. All that stood between Theisen and 6400 points was the 800, in which she would have to run 2:18 or better. Just like every other event, Theisen made quick work of it as she crossed the finish line in 2:13.81.
When the dust settled, Theisen amassed 6440 points – the second best total in collegiate history – and won by 513 points – the second largest margin of victory in meet history. Both of those marks were only bettered by one woman: Diane Guthrie-Gresham.
“I’m so happy, going from being injured last year and my spirits were so down because I knew I really improved,” Theisen told Jon Hendershott of Track & Field News. “It feels so good to be myself and come back this year and do what I know I’m able to do.”
The NCAA and collegiate track & field will mark a momentous milestone in the spring of 2021 -- the 100th anniversary of the NCAA Championships and with that, the NCAA Track & Field Championships. In June 1921, the University of Chicago hosted the first track & field championships in NCAA history.
This point can’t be emphasized enough: Not only was the event the first for NCAA track & field, but the first championships for any sport under the sponsorship of the NCAA.
To celebrate, over each of the next 365 days, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) will celebrate moments, student-athletes, and coaches that have made a century’s worth of championships special. From humble beginnings to important historical milestones to the modern-day, collegiate track & field has evolved with the American society.
The 2021 edition of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships begin with preliminary round action on May 27-29 in Jacksonville, Fla., and College Station, Texas. The championships final site and culmination of the celebration is slated for June 9-12, 2021 at the newly rebuilt Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
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Fosbury Flopped To High Jump Glory
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X-Man Reigned At 2006 NCAA Meet
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Bakewell’s Winding Road To 800 Meter Glory
Karen Bakewell set a meet record of 2:00.85 in the Women’s 800 Meters at the 1986 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Hurdling History For Forrest “Spec” Towns
Forrest “Spec” Towns won back-to-back hurdling titles at the 1936 and 1937 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships as part of a legendary streak.
What A Finish In The 1500 Meters!
Yared Nuguse of Notre Dame beat Justine Kiprotich of Michigan State by 0.003 seconds for the 1500-meter title at the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
UCLA’s Griffith Sprinted Into History
Florence Griffith won two career individual titles at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which included a meet record in the 400 Meters.
Ewell Made Quite The (Penn) State-ment
Barney Ewell of Penn State completed the 100-200 double twice at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 1940 and 1941.