Williams Went Back-To-Back With CR In 1996

Celebrating A Century of NCAA Track & Field Championships

Williams Went Back-To-Back With CR In 1996

Tonya Williams of Illinois made hurdles history multiple ways at the 1996 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene.

Williams repeated as NCAA champion in the 400-meter hurdles in a collegiate record of 54.56, then an hour later finished second in the 100-meter version – the closest anyone yet had come to a sweep of the women’s hurdles.

The elusive sweep of women’s hurdle races would have to wait until 2010, when Queen Harrison of Virginia Tech pulled off the double en route to winning The Bowerman.

However, that wasn’t the end of Williams’ involvement in the NCAA meet’s hurdling superlatives as both finals provided depth never seen before.

In the 400 hurdles, Williams was followed by three more under the 55-second threshold, marking the first time more than one ran sub-55 in meet history. In fact, the 1996 total of four sub-55s has only been bettered once – the 2016 final had five.

In the 100 hurdles, Williams’ second place to LSU’s Kim Carson (12.82w) was followed by three more sub-13 hurdlers – the first time five ran under that barrier in an NCAA final, albeit wind-aided.

Williams didn’t earn second place with much room to spare – she was timed in 12.97, just .01 seconds ahead of fifth place in 12.98. The blanket finish put the timing crew to the test in the closest finish for four women in any event in meet history – 12.97, 12.97, 12.98, 12.98.

posted: February 20, 2021
The NCAA's First Championships

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.

Memorable Moments
Greene Came Up Clutch In 1989 Long Jump
June 2, 1989

One of Joe Greene’s best days of long jumping started off dismally. It would end with a victory in one of the most memorable competitions in the near 100-year history of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Cal’s Williams Set World Record In 1936
June 20, 1936

Archie Williams set a world record in the 400 of 46.1 in the heats of the 1936 NCAA Outdoor T&F Championships. Williams then won the NCAA title by just 0.1 seconds!

Sternberg Reached New Heights In 1963
June 15, 1963

Brian Sternberg won the pole vault title at the 1963 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. He was the first athlete to clear 16 feet in meet history at 4.97m (16-3¾).

Kimobwa Ran Into Record Book In 1977
June 3, 1977

Samson Kimobwa set a MR in the 10K of 28:10.27 at the 1977 NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships. He won by 12.21 seconds in a race that saw the top-2 finishers under previous meet record.