USTFCCCA Announces Creation of Collegiate Athlete Hall of Fame
NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) is proud to announce the establishment of the Collegiate Athlete Hall of Fame for the sports of track & field and cross country. In addition, the association is announcing details of the inaugural induction ceremony and the initial 30 athletes that will be enshrined.
Nearly 150 years has elapsed since the first known intercollegiate competitions of running, jumping, and throwing took place. Those events in the mid-to-late 19th century set the stage for the modern-day sports of collegiate track & field and cross country.
Millions of collegians from coast-to-coast have proven their talents on the track, the field, and/or the grassy terrain over the past century-and-a-half. A hall of fame honoring these best-of-the-best athletes is much overdue.
“The Collegiate Athlete Hall of Fame is intended to acknowledge the great athletes who have made collegiate track & field and cross country such incredible sports,” said Sam Seemes, CEO of the USTFCCCA. “Not only do we have a large queue of past athletes that are worthy of enshrinement into this hall of fame, we also recognize a vital responsibility in producing first-class presentations to properly commemorate their accomplishments”
In addition to an annual induction ceremony, plans for a permanent “hall” location are being pursued.
“I’m proud that we’re stepping forward to preserve our history,” added USTFCCCA President Leroy Burrell, in his 23rd year as head coach of track & field at the University of Houston. “Many of the coaches in our association agree that a collegiate athlete hall of fame is long overdue to recognize the athletes who have provided us with countless unforgettable moments.”
The inaugural induction presentation will take place at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene, Ore., at 7:30 p.m., Pacific, on Monday, June 6. The onsite event will be free and open to the public and can also be accessed worldwide via YouTube live webcast.
ESPN’s John Anderson will host the two-hour event that will celebrate the inducted athletes with a look back at their collegiate careers via video tribute, roundtable panel discussions, and special guest appearances. A number of the inductees will be in attendance to reflect on their own careers and provide perspective on the impact of fellow inductees.
“Our goal is to capsule into the past — immortalize the incredible moments, accomplishments, and milestones that have defined our sports while also providing necessary context that resonates to present and future generations of collegiate athletes,” added Seemes.
The induction will precede the 100th edition of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships which will be held at Hayward Field, June 8-11.
The inaugural group of 30 inductees – chosen solely on their accomplishments while a collegiate athlete – is just a starting point to showcase the robust history of excellence in collegiate track & field and cross country.
Combined, this group of 30 during their collegiate careers, compiled 205 national collegiate individual titles, 99 world records, and 19 Olympic gold medals.
Eligibility for induction this year was limited to men who had completed their collegiate eligibility prior to 2000 and women prior to 2010.
Collegiate Athlete Hall of Fame
Track & Field and Cross Country
2022 Induction Class
|Jenny Barringer||Colorado||Mid-Distance/Distance||2005-2009||Oviedo, Fla.|
|Ralph Boston||Tennessee State||Jumps/Hurdles||1958-1961||Laurel, Miss.|
|Ron Delany||Villanova||Mid-Distance||1955-1958||Arklow, Ireland|
|Harrison Dillard||Baldwin Wallace||Hurdles/Sprints||1942-1943, 1946-1948||Cleveland, Ohio|
|Suzy Favor||Wisconsin||Mid-Distance||1986-1990||Stevens Point, Wis.|
|Charlie Greene||Nebraska||Sprints||1964-1967||Seattle, Wash.|
|Carlette Guidry||Texas||Sprints/Jumps||1988-1991||Houston, Texas|
|DeHart Hubbard||Michigan||Jumps/Sprints||1922-1925||Cincinnati, Ohio|
|Vicki Huber||Villanova||Distances||1985-1989||Wilmington, Del.|
|Jackie Johnson||Arizona State||Combined Events||2004, 2006-2008||Yuma, Ariz.|
|Jackie Joyner||UCLA||C.E./Jumps/Hurdles||1981-1983, 1985||East St. Louis, Ill.|
|Sally Kipyego||Texas Tech||Distances||2005-2009||Marakwet, Kenya|
|Carl Lewis||Houston||Sprints/Jumps||1980-1981||Willingboro Township, N.J.|
|Gerry Lindgren||Washington State||Distances||1965-1969||Spokane, Wash.|
|Randy Matson||Texas A&M||Throws||1964-1967||Pampa, Texas|
|Ralph Metcalfe||Marquette||Sprints||1931-1934||Chicago, Ill.|
|Rodney Milburn||Southern||Hurdles||1970-1973||Opelousas, La.|
|Bobby Morrow||Abilene Christian||Sprints||1955-1958||San Benito, Texas|
|Suleiman Nyambui||UTEP||Mid-Distance/Distance||1978-1982||Majita Musoma, Tanzania|
|Billy Olson||Abilene Christian||Jumps||1978-1982||Abilene, Texas|
|Merlene Ottey||Nebraska||Sprints||1980-1984||Hayes, Jamaica|
|Jesse Owens||Ohio State||Sprints/Jumps||1934-1936||Cleveland, Ohio|
|Mel Patton||Southern California||Sprints||1946-1949||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|Steve Prefontaine||Oregon||Distances||1969-1973||Coos Bay, Ore.|
|Meg Ritchie||Arizona||Throws||1980-1983||Kirkalcdy, Scotland|
|Henry Rono||Washington State||Distances||1976-1979||Nandi Hills, Kenya|
|Wilma Rudolph||Tennessee State||Sprints||1959-1963||Clarksville, Tenn.|
|Jim Ryun||Kansas||Mid-Distance||1966-1969||Wichita, Kan.|
|Erick Walder||Arkansas||Jumps||1991-1994||Mobile, Ala.|
|John Woodruff||Pittsburgh||800/400||1936-1939||Connellsville, Pa.|
INDUCTION CEREMONY: June 6, 2022, 7:30 p.m., Pacific Time — Hult Center for Performing Arts, Eugene, Ore.
The range of talent for Jenny Barringer seemed to have no boundaries, stretching from the 1500 to 5000 meters. But the sweet spot was certainly at 3000 meters – particularly with barriers and a water jump – the distance at which she won all of her four NCAA titles.
Barringer was particularly dominating in her senior year of 2009, when she was undefeated collegiately in track races of any distance and setting collegiate records in the 1500 meters, mile, 3000 meters, steeplechase and 5000 meters.
That season found a zenith when – in the span of two weeks – she set steeple CRs that sandwiched becoming the first collegiate woman to run sub-4 in the 1500 meters. She was named the first female winner of The Bowerman as collegiate track & field’s best athlete in 2009.
Ralph Boston’s greatness was just beginning when he won the NCAA Championships long jump title in 1960. That summer he went on to break the world record set by Jesse Owens in 1935 while qualifying for the Rome Olympics, where he won the gold medal.
His senior season of 1961 saw him break the indoor WR three times, but that was just a prelude for his outdoor season. Boston recorded the first 27-foot long jump a week before nearly winning the NAIA team title for Tennessee State all by himself with four wins and a tie for second. In July he improved his long jump WR to 8.28m (27-2) in winning the U.S.-USSR dual meet in Moscow.
The history of the mile struck gold with Ron Delany, who became the first of a long line of Irish talents in the event to star collegiately at Villanova. He owned a miler’s best weapon – a punishing kick.
Delany’s rise to stardom is a wonderful story. He shaved nearly six seconds off his mile PR while pushing the pace in the first sub-4 mile on U.S. soil. Still, he was understandably an underdog a month later entering the 1956 NCAA Championships 1500, as defending champ Jim Bailey of Oregon was the miler who owned the distinction of having America’s first sub-4 mile.
A memorable race of great kickers saw Delany finishing first. Later that year Delany won Olympic gold in Melbourne before following with two more NCAA mile titles, the final one part of an 880/mile double as Villanova won its first NCAA Outdoor team crown, the first – and still only – one by a men’s East Coast program.
Known affectionately as “Bones” due to his slight build, Harrison Dillard joined a fellow high school alum in being a legend in track & field. Stories tell that Dillard was encouraged by Jesse Owens – another graduate of Cleveland’s East Technical High school – with returning to college following serving in World War II.
Dillard indeed returned to Baldwin Wallace – in a way rarely seen, winning NCAA titles in the 120-yard and 220-yard hurdles in 1946 and 1947, becoming the last athlete with such a double-double.
A potential triple-triple for Dillard was cut short when he was ruled ineligible on the eve of the 1948 NCAA meet. His entire 1948 season seemed similarly doomed, when he failed to qualify in the 110 hurdles. Dillard, however, made the team in the 100 meters and won his first individual Olympic gold medal.
The most impressive aspect of Suzy Favor’s career at Wisconsin might be that she won nine NCAA titles, the most ever by a woman in track & field. Or – some could contend – it’s that she never lost an NCAA individual final track race.
Both views show her dominance that began as a freshman when she became the first woman to sweep NCAA Division I titles in the indoor mile and outdoor 1500 in 1987. It’s a feat she did three times in all (no other woman has done it more than once).
Favor’s incredible NCAA track career ended with a season for the ages. She won the second women’s mile/3000 double at the NCAA Indoor Championships in 1990 before the first – and still only – double victory in the women’s 800 and 1500. The outdoor double came with back-to-back collegiate records, including the first sub-2 time in 800 at 1:59.11.
Charlie Greene had speed to burn, and when a sprint championship race lined up with him in it, a spectacle was about to unfold with records always in danger.
Greene claimed the first three 60-yard dash titles at the NCAA Indoor Championships, setting or tying the meet record each time. He followed in June each year (1965-67) with the NCAA Outdoor 100-yard crown – giving him a perfect record of six wins in six NCAA championship races. His final NCAA meet included a WR-tying time of 9.1 in the heats.
Greene was also known for running in dark glasses – even when competing at night or indoors. In the days when “warp speed” was gaining traction from Star Trek’s popularity, Greene became famous for his explanation: “they’re not sunglasses, they’re my re-entry shields.”
Carlette Guidry was once called “a team by herself.” While at times she seemed to be everywhere, she was most prominent in the sprints. That’s where gained the appropriate nickname of “Ms. Turbo.”
No other man or woman has won more combined indoor or outdoor NCAA Division I individual sprint titles than Guidry’s seven. She also reigns supreme indoors among women in any event at the Division I level with six career individual titles.
Her accomplishments include early success in the long jump, in which she was NCAA Indoor champion as a Texas freshman. Her jumping prowess was just part of being referred to as “a team by herself” – she was also known to run any relay available – including the 4×400 – and contributed to four NCAA-winning Longhorn teams. Her total of 12 NCAA titles including relays is the most by any woman in Division I history.
Since 2015 the Texas Relays has named its university/college women’s 4×100 relay in her honor.
DeHart Hubbard set records – and broke barriers – on a seemingly regular basis. His first NCAA Championships meet as a sophomore in 1923 will be remembered for winning the long jump to become the first black athlete in any sport to win an NCAA title.
His chance to repeat in 1924 vanished when the NCAA meet was canceled due to a scheduling conflict with the Olympic Trials, but he rectified that by continuing his three-year long jump winning streak in Paris to become the first black Olympic gold medalist in any individual event.
Hubbard’s final collegiate season saw a rarity – losing a long jump – while adding an additional event before his final appearance at the NCAA Championships. Not only did he win the NCAA 100 yards in a meet record of 9.8, he broke his own week-old world record in the long jump with a leap of 25-10⅞ (7.89m) in becoming the first to combine NCAA titles in both events.
Vicki Huber’s first and last track race at the NCAA Championships had the same result – victory. She collected eight NCAA titles in all, tied for second most when women combining Division I cross country and indoor and outdoor track & field.
While Huber set five collegiate records that included one each in the indoor mile and outdoor 1500, she was most dominant at 3000 meters, in which she swept the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor titles three straight years. Huber’s success in the 3K was most evident in 1988, a year in which she became the first woman to sweep the mile and 3000 at the NCAA Indoor meet and ended in the summer, when she clocked two all-dates collegiate bests topped by a time of 8:37.25 in finishing sixth at the Seoul Olympics.
Huber’s final race as a collegian was unforgettable, winning her only NCAA Cross Country title by 26.92 seconds – second largest margin in meet history – as she led the Wildcats to the first of a record six straight team crowns.
Jackie Johnson combined skills in track and field events like no collegiate woman or man had ever done in the multi-events during her days at Arizona State. She was the first to win seven national collegiate multi-event titles indoors or outdoors – when the most prior was five at any level of collegiate competition.
Johnson had a perfect record outdoors in the heptathlon, going four for four at the NCAA Championships, and lost just once in four NCAA indoor pentathlons, taking second as a freshman.
Johnson’s senior season in 2008 was part of glory days for ASU track & field. Individually, she set a collegiate record in the pentathlon with 4496 points and moved to No. 3 all-time collegian at 6276 in the heptathlon. Her points were critical for the Sun Devils – who won the team crown indoors and were a close second outdoors – and later that summer qualified for the Beijing Olympics.
Basketball tugged on Jackie Joyner during her collegiate days, but the four-year starter for UCLA on the hardwood found her true love in track & field. Joyner set collegiate standards in the long jump along with the early days of the heptathlon – her long jump CR lasting more than 30 years.
Versatility was the only area where Joyner exceeded excellence in any single event. In all three of her NCAA Championships she scored in four or more events that each time included track events and those on the field. Her career total of 70 points in AIAW/NCAA outdoor championships is the most by any woman to include track and field events (the only man with more such points is Jesse Owens).
Sally Kipyego’s running was record-breaking from the very beginning of her collegiate days. She was the first woman to record a distance triple at the NJCAA Outdoor championships, winning the 1500, 5000 and 10,000 in 2005 while at South Plains (Texas) College. She repeated in all three in 2006, twice in meet-record time.
Her incredible range of talent adapted very well when she moved about 45 miles away to Texas Tech as she won the distance triple crown – titles in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track in the same academic year – in both years she was eligible to do so, 2006-07 and 2007-08. She remains the only man or woman to achieve that accomplishment twice at the NCAA Division I level.
A two-time collegiate record setter in the 10,000, Kipyego’s final NCAA Outdoor meet in 2008 was memorable in shorter distances, beginning with a still-standing meet record in the 5000 of 15:15.08 while winning by 31 seconds. She followed that with a 4:06.67 runner-up finish in the 1500 that was also under the previous CR at the time.
In cross country she became the first woman with three NCAA Division I titles and first woman with four national collegiate titles combining all divisions (she won an NJCAA title while at South Plains).
Carl Lewis was 19 when he last competed as a collegian, and in his final year he became the first athlete to win a track event and field event at the same NCAA Indoor Championships and at the same NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Two other men had accomplished the feat outdoors – fellow Hall of Fame inductees DeHart Hubbard and Jesse Owens, neither of whom had the opportunity to compete at an NCAA Indoor meet.
Lewis was remarkable in his two collegiate seasons, winning all six individual NCAA competitions he entered. His sophomore year at Houston in 1981 saw him set an indoor world record and three other collegiate records. The indoor standard came in the long jump with a leap of 8.49m/27-10¼, which he followed three weeks later at the NCAA Indoor just a centimeter away from equaling it while also winning the 60-yard title.
Outdoors he set collegiate records in the long jump (8.47m/27-9½) and 100 meters (10.00) prior to his NCAA double, then followed that two weeks later with an all-dates collegiate best of 8.62m/28-3½.
In just three years of Varsity eligibility, Gerry Lindgren amassed 11 NCAA titles – the only two athletes with more titles all enjoyed four years of such eligibility. He won all but one NCAA race he lined up for, and that loss was to another Hall of Famer, Jim Ryun.
Lindgren’s first chances at NCAA titles resulted in the first collegiate distance triple crown – titles in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track in the same academic year. He accomplished the feat in 1966-67. It was the beginning of three-straight titles in both the 3-mile/5000 meters and 6-mile/10,000 meters outdoors, the first to do so in either event. Lindgren was also the first 3-time winner of the NCAA cross country championships.
A freshman Randy Matson came home from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics with a silver medal. The next spring, he launched the world’s first 68- and 69-foot shot put efforts in the same meet, then followed a week later with the first 70-footer ever seen.
Matson’s undefeated NCAA career garnered an outdoor title for the first time in his junior year of 1966, when he added the discus title in throwing meet records in both events. Matson’s final collegiate season included the world’s first 71-footer before another shot/discus sweep of NCAA crowns.
Ralph Metcalfe was the first athlete to win two 100-200 doubles at the NCAA Championships. He was also the first to win three, and that collection includes the first – and still only – three-peat in the 200 meters/220 yards.
Two of Metcalfe’s sweeps are unique in that they included world records – just part of 12 WRs he set or tied as a collegian. As a sophomore he earned silver (100) and bronze (200) medals in the 1932 Olympics.
No one’s post-collegiate career was part of the selection to this Hall of Fame, but Metcalfe’s is hard to ignore – coaching the first HBCU team to a Penn Relays title (1939 4×100 by Xavier/New Orleans), rising to first Lieutenant during World War II for the U.S. Army and serving four terms in the U.S. Congress for Chicago up until his death in 1978.
Rodney Milburn elevated hurdling beyond collegiate competition, and that started in his sophomore year at Southern in 1971, which he finished as the World Athlete of the Year by Track & Field News.
The newly minted hurdling celebrity continued his success in 1972, culminating with Olympic gold in a world record 13.24 – just one of his six ratified world records he set as a collegian. His undefeated collegiate career finished dominantly in 1973 with three of those WRs. He never lost an NCAA or NAIA championships hurdles race – indoors or outdoors, winning 12 of 12 times.
Bobby Morrow won all of his sprint races in national collegiate competition – 10 for 10 when combining his NCAA and NAIA finals. His totals would likely have been higher if indoor nationals had existed in those days. Could relays have also helped?
Morrow’s greatness earned worldwide status with a sweep of the sprints at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics following his junior season at Abilene Christian. Down under, Morrow equaled the 200-meter world record for the third time and anchored a WR-setting 4×100 team. Only one other collegian has such Olympic sprinting accomplishments – Jesse Owens.
Suleiman Nyambui was indefatigable on the track, winning all but one time he lined up for an NCAA final. Along the way he racked up four-straight wins in the impressively unlikely combination of the 10,000 meters and indoor mile. His overall title of 14 NCAA titles in track events has yet to be surpassed.
His 1980-81 academic year of racing also included his lone NCAA cross country title, matching the first distance collegiate triple crown first registered by another Hall of Famer, Gerry Lindgren. Nyambui’s victories in each meet coincided with the first team triple crown as UTEP made the sweep in NCAA history.
Pole vaulting saw appreciation for the west-Texas town of Abilene with Billy Olson, who elevated everything worldwide in 1982. That’s when the homegrown kid manifested undefeated collegiate vaulting skills only previously seen in NAIA competition.
In 1982 Olson became a worldwide star, raising the bar higher indoors on a regular basis – five times breaking the world record indoor that culminated with a fourth-straight NAIA Indoor title of 5.74m (18-10). He completed his outdoor season collegiately with an NAIA title (8 wins in 8 national collegiate competitions) before equaling the all-dates collegiate best (and American record) outdoors the next month with a rare tie at the TAC (now USATF) championships.
Merlene Ottey’s first meet in a Nebraska uniform resulted in a world record at a distance she’d never raced before; her last Cornhusker appearance cemented a second NCAA team crown.
Sandwiched between those performances is a sterling career that numbered 12 individual titles in AIAW or NCAA track & field championships – the most by a woman at the Division I level.
And then there are the records, a seemingly countless total. Her freshman year alone saw her set world standards in the 300 yards and 300 meters, then lower the outdoor all-dates collegiate best in the 200 meters to a stunning 22.20 in earning a bronze medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. She would add multiple CRs in the 100 and 200 – in-season and all-dates – as well as a staggering 11 CRs (all world bests) in the indoor 300 yards or 300 meters, both of which were national championship events when she competed.
The zenith of Ottey’s collegiate career came at the 1983 NCAA Outdoor Championships, where she became – and remains – the only woman or man to score in the 100, 200 and 400 in the same meet, winning the 100 and 200 before a third place in the 400 (the latter some 40 minutes after anchoring her 4×100 relay team to second place). Her 28 points earned in that meet remains the second-most by a woman in NCAA history. Later that summer she earned the silver medal in the 100 at the inaugural World Championships.
Jesse Owens stands alone in many facets of track & field. His collegiate career was so illustrious that some of his achievements while at Ohio State still have yet to be duplicated.
He was the first athlete to win four individual titles at the NCAA Championships, a 1935 feat he repeated in 1936. No one has yet matched that accomplishment on any level of national collegiate competition. His career total of eight individual NCAA titles remains the most, despite only two years of Varsity competition in which he never lost to anyone in collegiate competition.
The lore of his greatness includes a day with its own name – the Day of Days. On May 25, 1935 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Owens won four events at the Big Ten Championships in the span of 45 minutes, setting five world records and tying a sixth. A 9.4 in the 100 yards tied the world record and was followed by just one attempt in the long jump – a 26-8¼ (8.13m) launch that would remain the WR for 25 years. He finished by winning the 220 yards (20.3) and 220-yard low hurdles (22.6) with times that also surpassed the best ever recorded at the shorter 200-meter distance.
At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Owens won four gold medals in Olympic records – the 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump and as leadoff runner on a world record-setting 4×100 relay. That quadruple has only been matched once since.
Mel Patton had an inauspicious initial NCAA Championships – taking seventh in the 100 as a freshman – but he never lost an NCAA final in his final three years. His collection of five NCAA Outdoor 100 or 200 titles is second only to the six of fellow inductee Ralph Metcalfe.
He twice equaled the 100-yard world record of 9.4 – including once in the heats prior to his first NCAA title in 1947 – before registering the first 9.3 in in 1948. The ratified old record was shared by him and four others, including Jesse Owens from his famous Day of Days in 1935.
After the first of his 100/200 NCAA sweeps, Patton’s 1948 summer included a 200-meter WR of 20.7 at the Final Olympic Trials before winning Olympic gold at the 1948 Olympics in London (where he also anchored the victorious U.S. 4×100 relay team).
By Patton’s senior year in 1949 he’d gained the nickname of “Pell Mell” and he set his fifth world record as a collegian, clocking 20.2 in the straightaway version of the 220 – breaking yet another record set by Owens in his Day of Days. He finished the year with a second straight sweep of NCAA sprint titles.
“Pre” was a chant heard among Oregon’s faithful when Steve Prefontaine arrived for warmups at Hayward Field. He delivered for fans everywhere, winning NCAA titles in all of his 3-mile/5000 performances – the first run of four straight in any single event.
Pre added three NCAA cross country titles, losing only when he was a freshman to another Hall of Famer, Gerry Lindgren. His career record includes collegiate records from 2 miles to 6 miles, setting American records along the way.
Records seemingly came easy for Meg Ritchie, but she did her best to make them tough to beat – and her final entries in the shot put and discus record books haven proven quite difficult. While it took 34 years to surpass her collegiate record in the shot put, her discus CR still stands at 40 years and counting.
Ritchie broke the CR a total of 17 times – 11 in the shot (nine outdoors, two indoors) and six in the discus. By the time she completed her eligibility at Arizona, she had added more than 7 feet to the shot CR (to 18.99m/62-3¾) and more than 22 feet to the discus CR (to 67.48m/221-5).
Ritchie – who won a total of seven national collegiate titles combining AIAW and NCAA meets – began her record-breaking ways in her first meet in a Wildcat uniform, becoming the first collegiate woman to surpass 200 feet in March 1980. Later that month she added her first shot CR to become the first – and so far last – woman known to own CRs in both events at the same time.
A fictional Phileas Fogg took 80 days to go around the world, but during that time in 1978 Henry Rono broke four world records in four events, clocking times that even Jules Verne couldn’t have imagined.
Rono had earned two NCAA cross country titles, as well as an indoor 2-mile crown, before his glorious stretch of record breaking began in the spring of 1978 – shockingly setting his first WR of 13:08.4 in the 5000 in a collegiate triangular meet. A week later he set a CR in the steeplechase, which he demolished in mid-May with a WR of 8:05.4 – still the CR to this day.
Rono didn’t set any WRs at the 1978 NCAA Championships, where he became the first – and still only – athlete to set multiple meet records in distance events on the same day (8:18.6 steeple and 13:21.8 in the 5000 – both in preliminary heats!). A sore foot caused him to scratch the 10k final and limited him to just one final total that year, taking the steeple in 8:12.39 – still the meet record.
Rono finished June 1978 with his final two WRs in Europe – 27:22.4 in the 10k, 7:32.1 in the 3k. The 10k mark lasted as an all-dates CR until 2010, while the 3000 time is still the all-dates best.
He added NCAA titles in cross country and the steeplechase in 1979, bringing his career total in each to three and two, respectively, for a grand total of six in all events.
Wilma Rudolph didn’t have to travel far to find her home for collegiate track & field. She grew up in Clarksville, Tenn., about 15 miles outside of Nashville, where Tennessee State had become a mecca for women’s sprinting long before organized national collegiate track & field was a reality for women.
By the time she was enrolled at Tennessee A&I (as TSU was known then) in the fall of 1958, she was surrounded by national champions and Olympic medalists. She had earned a bronze medal with three of the group as part of the U.S. 4×100 relay team at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne while a 16-year-old prep.
Rudolph blossomed while in college, never more so than at the 1960 Rome Olympics, where she became the first American woman to win three gold medals in the same Olympics by winning the 100 and 200 before anchoring the winning 4×100 team. She equaled the world record in the prelims of the 100, one of four world records she set in her days as a collegian.
Without collegiate national championships available to her, Rudolph was dominant at the AAU championships, winning 10 of the 12 AAU championships she lined up for combining indoors and outdoors. She was the first woman to win four AAU titles in the 100 yards/meters, all during her first four years at Tennessee State.
What do you do when you’re the best in the world and can’t compete for your school’s Varsity team? If you’re Jim Ryun, you set a world record – in your second-best event! That 880-yard standard was accompanied by a WR in the mile the next month. Such was Ryun’s first year in college, when freshmen weren’t eligible to compete in Varsity competition.
Ryun’s accomplishments were noticed beyond the collegiate realm – he was named World Athlete of the Year by Track & Field News in 1966, the first of two-straight such awards. In 1967, he swept the mile at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships and later set WRs in the 1500 and mile. His 800-meter best of 1:44.3 – fortunately clocked during that WR 880 time as a freshman – lasted 50 years as a collegiate record.
Erick Walder’s prowess in the long jump and triple jump was so strong that it made him the winningest field eventer in NCAA Division I history, collecting 10 titles. That’s no small feat at Arkansas, whose dominance in the LJ/TJ combination has the next two athletes on the list with nine. Six of Walder’s NCAA crowns came indoors with three-straight sweeps in each event from 1994-96, making him the only athlete with three consecutive sweeps in any pair of events at the NCAA DI Indoor championships.
Walder, who also had an LJ/TJ sweep outdoors, had most of his success in the long jump. His second of three-straight outdoor crowns included a second-straight meet record in 1993, which still stands – not only as the meet record, but also the low-altitude collegiate record at 8.53m (28-0). In El Paso of April 1994, Walder set another still-standing collegiate record at 8.74m (28-8¼).
Walder was a part of Arkansas team titles every time he participated in the NCAA Indoor or Outdoor championships, seven in all. He was the Razorbacks’ top scorer in six of those and the meet’s top scorer four times.
John Woodruff’s first prominence was in the mile. A national high school record setter in the event, he found no peer collegiately in the 880 yards and even added the 440 to his championship repertoire. His three years of Varsity competition at Pitt included three-straight NCAA 880 titles from 1937-39 that followed a trio of 440/880 doubles at the IC4A Championships.
Woodruff gained legendary status before any of those Varsity races. His first year collegiately was limited to the freshman squad, but in the summer he PRed in four-straight races and nearly set a world record to make the 800-meter team for the Olympics. A month later in Berlin he backed up his role as favorite, overcoming a slow pace to win Olympic gold in becoming the event’s first black winner.