Will The 2022 Indoor Season Alter Collegiate History Even More?

Abby Steiner didn’t wait long to break the first collegiate record of the indoor season.

Just 10 days after the first official start date in NCAA Division I, Steiner covered 300 meters in 35.80 to take down a near 41-year-old record by the legendary Merlene Ottey. The Kentucky standout shaved 0.03 seconds off the all-time best that stood since 1981. Sydney McLaughlin, another former Wildcat star, came closest to breaking the record four years ago at 36.12.

That wasn’t Steiner’s first collegiate record, though.

Steiner won the 200 at the NCAA DI Indoor Track & Field Championships last year in 22.38, matching the all-time best established by Gabby Thomas in 2018. And wouldn’t you know that Thomas’ record-breaking sprint also sent her to an NCAA title and gave her the victory in the fastest women’s indoor 200-meter race in collegiate history (Ashley Henderson, who finished runner-up to Thomas, moved up to No. 3 all-time with her mark of 22.41).

How many more collegiate records will fall between now and the conclusion of the indoor season on March 12 after the final event of the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships?

Well, ten met their demise in championship events last year as collegians were champing at the bit to get back to competition following a nine-month layoff due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Finalists for The Bowerman in 2021 had their fingerprints on six of those, including each of the three women’s candidates: Tara Davis in the women’s long jump; Tyra Gittens in the women’s pentathlon; eventual winner Athing Mu in the women’s 800 and women’s 4×400 relay; Cole Hocker in the men’s distance medley relay; and Turner Washington in the men’s shot put.

Collegiate Indoor Records Broken/Tied In 2020-21

Cooper Teare
Men’s Mile
Four Athletes
Men’s DMR
KC Lightfoot
Men’s Pole Vault


Turner Washington
Arizona State
Men’s Shot Put


Kemba Nelson
Women’s 60 Meters
Abby Steiner
Women’s 200 Meters
Athing Mu
Texas A&M
Women’s 800 Meters
Four Athletes
Texas A&M
Women’s 4×400 Relay
Tara Davis
Women’s Long Jump
Tyra Gittens
Texas A&M
Women’s Pentathlon

It’s feasible to think that four of those could be in danger: men’s shot put, women’s 60 meters, women’s 200 meters and women’s pentathlon. After all, athletes who set those records in 2021 return to the collegiate scene in 2022, including a pair of those aforementioned finalists for The Bowerman from last year – Gittens and Washington. It was said at The Bowerman Presentation that both Gittens and Washington are in great shape, so the record book better be on red alert.

WATCH NOW: The Bowerman Presentation 2021

There are other athletes, like Wesley Kiptoo of Iowa State, Aaliyah Miller of Baylor, Ruth Usoro of Texas Tech, as well as Noah Williams of LSU, who sit among the best collegians to do ever do it in their respective events, but are chasing truly legendary marks.

  • Kiptoo soared to No. 3 all-time in the men’s 5000 meters at 13:14.74 back in December, but is still more than six seconds behind Lawi Lalang’s 13:08.28 CR. He and Yared Nuguse of Notre Dame, the outdoor 1500m record holder, should take a healthy crack at the all-time chart in the men’s 3000 meters at the end of this month as part of a stacked field at the NYRR Millrose Games.
  • Miller moved into a tie for No. 2 all-time in the women’s 800 meters – and set a meet record in the process – with her 2:00.69 winner at the NCAA DI Indoor Championships last year. Mu might have put the CR out of reach at 1:58.40, but you need to remember that Miller ran that mark in a Mu-less race completely from the front (27.69, 56.90, 1:27.49, 2:00.69).
  • Usoro bounded her way to No. 2 all-time in the women’s triple jump at 14.36m (47-1½) to win the Big 12 title last year. The only person in front of Usoro is none other than 2018 The Bowerman winner Keturah Orji at 14.53m (47-8). Orji (seven) and Usoro (three) combine to own all of the all-time top-10 performances in the event.
  • Williams surprised a lot of people when he won the men’s 400 meters at the NCAA DI Indoor Championships last year in 44.71. That put him No. 3 behind Michael Norman (44.52) and Kerron Clement (44.57). He had the luxury of seeing Randolph Ross Jr. of North Carolina A&T lay down the top time in Heat 1 at 44.99, which is now ranked No. 9. Both Ross and Williams are back in 2022 with Ross fresh off a 43.85 outdoor PR, so expect fireworks when they match up again.

Plus, you never know who else is going to take the next step, either.

And you can’t truly look ahead without appreciating the past, though.

The average year that a women’s collegiate record in an indoor championship event was set is 2017. The oldest women’s collegiate indoor record is Brittany Riley’s 25.56m (83-10¼) heave in the weight throw from the 2007 NCAA DI Indoor Championships. The second-oldest all-time mark is Jenny Barringer’s all-time scorcher in the mile of 4:25.91 from the 2009 Big 12 Indoor Championships (You might remember that Barringer was crowned queen at The Bowerman Presentation later that year).

Men’s collegiate records are a bit older, averaging out to 2011. Three of those chart-toppers were set pre-1990: Mike Conley in the triple jump with his incredible 17.40m (57-1) from 1985, Hollis Conway in the high jump with his 2.37m (7-9¼) clearance in 1989; and Paul Ereng in the 800 with his 1:44.84 from 1989.

Business is about to pick up around the nation as teams emerge from their winter breaks. Five juggernauts travel to Upstate South Carolina for the Clemson Invitational this weekend: Florida, Florida State, Georgia, North Carolina A&T and Texas. Several other big-name NCAA DI programs host over the next few days: Arkansas with the aptly-named Arkansas Invitational; Texas A&M with the Ted Nelson Invitational; and Texas Tech with the Corky Classic, among others. Chances are we’ll also see some great action at the NCAA DII level at the GVSU-hosted Bob Eubanks Open.

Keep it locked on USTFCCCA.org throughout the season and follow us on social media!