Same Athletes, Same Result For LSU At NCAAs
Winning both relays in the same NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships had only been done twice by men’s programs before 2003 at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, California.
LSU became the third with a unique twist – both squads were made up of the same four athletes. In fact, it has only happened one other time in meet history: Florida State’s women did the same in 1983.
The Tiger men didn’t enter the NCAA meet favored in either relay, but by the time of the first final – Friday’s 4×100 – LSU had broken 39 seconds for the first time with a nation-leading 38.84 in the heats. That was just inches ahead of SEC champ Tennessee’s 38.85.
In the final, LSU again had their best race all year as the foursome of Kelly Willie, Robert Parham, Pete Coley and Bennie Brazell improved to 38.65. Brazell held off UT’s Jonathan Wade on the homestretch as the Volunteers also ran a seasonal best of 38.72.
As is just about normal in the NCAA meet, the concluding track event on Saturday provided four laps of excitement. LSU had won the NCAA Indoor 4×400 crown in March, but outdoors had yet to better their 3:04.79 indoor time and was actually just the final qualifier for this final.
Baylor had the fastest seasonal best of the finalists at 3:02.82, but the fashionable pick was Minnesota. The Golden Gophers were led by Adam Steele and Mitch Potter, who earlier in the afternoon finished a surprising 1-3 in the 400.
At the first exchange, Minnesota’s Steele (45.8) handed off just behind Texas, which had the fastest split at 45.7. Robert Parham (who owned a 20.44 PR in the 200) kept LSU close with a 46.4 split as all eight teams were in contention.
Minnesota got a strong second leg from Andy Wohlin (45.9) to take the lead as Baylor was now in second. LSU moved into third with a 45.9 split by Brazell, who had finished fourth in 400 hurdles the previous day after his anchor duties on the 4×100.
LSU took the lead on the third leg after a 45.1 split from Coley, who showed some of his form from 2002 when he ran 44.89 and was third in the NCAA 400. Minnesota remained in second just ahead of fast-moving Texas Tech after a storming 44.5 split from Julian Raeborn.
The anchor legs were fast with a thrilling homestretch battle between the Gophers’ Potter and the Tigers’ Willie, who was fifth earlier in the 400. Willie never relinquished the lead, splitting 44.6 to hold off the 44.5 of Potter.
The squads from LSU (first in 3:02.01) and Minnesota (second in a school-record 3:02.33) recorded their best-ever finishes in the event.
The Tigers would see additional NCAA scoring from Brazell and Willie. Brazell was second in the 400 hurdles in 2004 and 2005, while Willie was runner-up in the 400 in 2004 and 200 in 2006. Both were staples on both relay teams, including a 2:59.59 in 2005 that was the collegiate record for 13 years.
Brazell, who was also a wide receiver on LSU’s 2003 national-champion football team, is now in his 10th year as an assistant coach on the Tiger track & field program.
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.
Mikkola Set Javelin MR With Huge Win
Esko Mikkola was a two-time JT winner at the NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships. When Mikkola won in 1998, he set a MR of 81.86m (268‑7) and won by 17 feet!
Little Made Big 400H History
Shamier Little won three consecutive 400H titles at the NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships between 2014 & 2016. Little became the No. 2 performer in collegiate history with her 53.51 winner in 2016.
Comenentia Completed Historic Double In 2018
Denzel Comenentia became only the third man in the history of the NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships to complete the HT-SP double back in 2018.
Ellerbe Won After Film Review In 1939
Mozelle Ellerbe won back-to-back 100-yard dash titles at the NCAA Outdoor T&F Championships in 1938 & 1939. His victory in the 2nd year was confirmed by a film review.
Saunders Won Back-To-Back SP Titles, Set CR
Raven Saunders won back-to-back SP titles at the NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships in 2015 & 2016. Saunders set a CR & MR of 19.33m (63-5) in that second year.
McCullouch Ran Legendary Times At NCAAs
Earl McCullouch of Southern California won back-to-back 120H titles at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships and was a member of a WR-setting quarter-mile relay team.
Hook ‘Em, Leo: Manzano Made 1500 History
Leo Manzano was the first male freshman in the history of the NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships to win the 1500/mile in 2005. Manzano added a 2nd title to his haul in 2008.
Walton Started It All In The 800
Delisa Walton won the first women’s 800 at the NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships in 1982. Walton is the mother of Ebonie Floyd, who finished 2nd in the 2007 100.
Rupp Capped Sensational Senior Year In 2009
Galen Rupp completed an unprecedented year at the 2009 NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships when he swept the 5K & 10K.
Gipson, Ugen Made Long Jump History
Whitney Gipson & Lorraine Ugen were the first teammates to win women’s long jump titles at the NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships in consecutive years (Gipson in 2012; Ugen in 2013).