Peoples Made History One Lap At A Time

Celebrating A Century of NCAA Track & Field Championships

Peoples Made History One Lap At A Time

Maurice Peoples of Arizona State turned in one of history’s greatest one-lap performances at the 1973 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

And it wasn’t his upset victory in the 440 yards, which he won relatively easily to equal the year’s fastest time in the world at 45.0 at Bernie Moore Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The real stunner came just under an hour later in the mile relay. The Sun Devils were in seventh place at the final exchange, more than two seconds behind UCLA when Peoples received the baton.

As John Wenos reported for Track & Field News, Peoples “proceeded to eat up the track (and fellow anchormen) like his life depended on it.”

Timers caught Peoples in a staggering 21.5 at the 220-yard point, but he continued to make up ground. Peoples now had the attention of almost everyone as he stormed down the homestretch, bringing ASU to a photo-finish with Texas for the runner-up spot (both in 3:05.0) behind UCLA (3:04.3).

Amazingly, Peoples had just split an unbelievable 43.4, the fastest ever in a mile relay. The fastest split in the 4 x 400-meter relay was 43.2, interestingly set by another Sun Devil great, Ron Freeman, on the second leg of the U.S. Olympic team in 1968 in Mexico City.

Statisticians use a 0.3-second differential to equate 440-yard times with the shorter 400 meters, meaning Peoples’ 43.4 was worth 43.1 on a converted basis. Peoples’ split was equaled as the world’s fastest in the 1992 Olympics by Quincy Watts. The mark surpassed in 1993 when Michael Johnson recorded an auto-timed 42.91 at the World Championships.

posted: May 3, 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
Plab Reached Lofty Heights In NCAA HJ

Darrin Plab won back-to-back HJ titles at the NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships in 1991 & 1992. Plab cleared 2.34m (7-8) in 1992 & tied the 2nd best bar in meet history.

Peoples Made History One Lap At A Time

Maurice Peoples won the 440-yard dash in 1973 & then really turned up the heat. Peoples split 43.4 on the Sun Devils’ mile relay team that finished third in the final.

KU’s Lokedi Set 10K MR In 2018

Sharon Lokedi won the 10K at the 2018 NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships in a meet-record 32:09.20. Lokedi led five other women under the old final-site best, too.

Can Ereng Kick It? Yes, He Can!

Paul Ereng won back-to-back 800-meter titles at the NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships in 1988 & 1989. Ereng is still the current indoor record holder in the event.

Dwight Stones Set High Jump WR In 1976

Dwight Stones set a world record in the high jump of 2.31m (7-7) at the 1976 NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships. Stones also raised the MR by more than 3 inches!