Rupp Capped Sensational Senior Year In 2009

Celebrating A Century of NCAA Track & Field Championships

Rupp Capped Sensational Senior Year In 2009

Nothing could stop Galen Rupp from making history at the 2009 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas. 

Mother Nature tried, sending thunderstorms that pushed Wednesday’s 5000-meter semifinals back to 12:40 am CT, more than three hours later than scheduled. That meant Rupp, as well as any other athletes attempting the 5K-10K double that year, would have to put 20K of racing in their legs over a two-day span from late Wednesday night to Friday night. 

Rupp wasn’t concerned, having already completed the legendary 3K-5K-DMR triple at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships just a few months earlier in the span of 24 hours. 

Then came Sam Chelanga of Liberty and Shawn Forrest of Arkansas, as they set a brisk early pace in the final of the 10,000 meters. Chelanga actually broke Rupp’s collegiate record in the event with a 27:28.48 clocking in April at the Brutus Hamilton Challenge in California. 

Rupp wasn’t deterred, noting after the meet that, “They had to have figured I would have been tired, so I was fully expecting that going in, so it wasn’t any big surprise. I just tried to bide my time and when it was time to go, I made my move.” 

The Oregon superstar dropped the hammer with 700 meters to go and didn’t look back. He crossed the finish line in 28:21.45 to win his first NCAA 10,000-meter crown. It was bittersweet for Rupp, who ended up a close runner-up in both 2006 and 2007, and earned the Ducks’ first distance title since Rudy Chapa won the 5000 in 1978. 

“Outdoors has always been kind of the elusive one … Indoors has never been a huge deal to Oregon,” Rupp said. “It’s satisfying to get a 10K in. And I’m real happy. It’s a weight off my shoulders.” 

Rupp returned to the track the following night for the 5000 final and nearly lost a shoe in the first few laps. He stopped, put it back on correctly and worked his way back into the mix (See if you can tell when Rupp played catchup from the splits: 36.37, 1:12.89, 1:12.42, 1:03.01, 1:13.73). 

With three laps to go, Rupp and David McNeill of Northern Arizona pulled away. 

With two laps to go, Rupp opened a small gap between himself and McNeill. 

With one lap to go, Rupp powered home in 57.21 to become just the 11th man in meet history to complete the 5K-10K double and cement his status as a collegiate track & field legend. 

Later that year, Rupp was the inaugural men’s winner of The Bowerman.

posted: May 8, 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
Reese Left Her Mark On NCAA LJ
June 12, 2008

Brittney Reese won the long jump at the 2008 NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships with a mark of 6.93m (22-9). Reese missed the meet record by just 1cm (½ inch).

Tupuritis Shocked The Field In 1996
May 31, 1996

Einars Tupuritis won the 800 at the 1996 NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships by 0.14 seconds! Turpiritis crossed the finish line in 1:45.08.

Ellis Sent USC To A Thrilling Victory
June 9, 2018

Kendall Ellis had a remarkable come-from-behind victory in the 4×400 relay at the 2018 NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships that sent Southern California to the meet title.