Favorite Josh Kerr takes NCAA title in tightly contested 1,500

By Gus Morris

While many considered New Mexico’s Josh Kerr the favorite to win the men’s 1,500 NCAA title on Friday, he wasn’t having it. He actually considered himself an underdog.

Even though he ran the sixth-fastest time in collegiate outdoor history this year — 3 minutes, 35.99 seconds at the Bryan Clay Invitational, which also ranks as the fastest time in college this year — Kerr still felt that anyone in the field could win the 1,500 NCAA title.

In a field that boasted the top five 1,500 runners in college this season, it’s easy to understand why Kerr might think that.

But he was considered the favorite for a reason.

Kerr won the 1,500 in 3:43.03 at the NCAA Track and Field Championships on Friday to win his first NCAA outdoor title. Justine Kiprotich of Michigan State finished second in 3:43.50, edging out Ole Miss’ Craig Engels in the final 20 meters. Engels took third in 3:43.54.

“Brilliant,” said Kerr, a native of Edinburgh, Scotland. “I was able to compete with these guys and go when I wanted to go.” (more…)

Bryan reaches new season best to win NCAA high jump

By Becky Hoag

By the time the bar in the men’s high jump at the NCAA championship reached 7 feet, 3 inches, the 23 competitors had been reduced to just two: Florida junior Christoff Bryan and Texas Tech junior Trey Culver.

Culver, a two-time indoor NCAA champion and three-time USTFCCCA All-American, was the statistical favorite of the two.

Bryan was determined to improve his season best, succeeding when he cleared 7-3 after two tries. Culver cleared it, but it took him three. And when neither cleared 7-4 1/4, Bryan won.

“I got pretty nervous, I’m not going to lie, but I knew once I had just a couple misses, that was all that mattered,” Bryan said. “I knew me and someone would jump the same height; I just focused on clearing bars early.”

(more…)

Texas A&M senior Fred Kerley wins NCAA 400-meter title

By Kim Holm

It didn’t look like Texas A&M senior Fred Kerley was going to win the 400-meter dash on Friday at the NCAA Championships. Until he came off the Bowerman curve—where he outkicked the field and won with a time of 44.10.

“My goal coming in this season is to win every race I was in,” said Kerley. “At the end of the day it’s track and field—you never know what’s going to happen.”

Back in May at the NCAA West Regional meet, Kerley ran a time of 43.70, breaking the collegiate record that was set 25 years ago by Olympian Quincy Watts with a time of 44.00. Kerley had met him just before the race. (more…)

Freshman Holloway helps Gators win NCAA National Title

By Ariel Sax

Friday was not a bad day for Florida freshman Grant Holloway. He helped usher the Gators all the way to win the 2017 NCAA Men’s Outdoor National Championship.

He won the 110-meter hurdles and he anchored the 4×400 relay that finished fourth and clinched the team title for the Gators, who needed to finish fourth in the relay to beat Texas A&M. On Wednesday, he finished second in the long jump.

“I had a remarkable first outdoor NCAA season,” said Holloway. “I took it upon myself just to work hard and just come out to this outdoor season prepared and ready to go.” (more…)

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS DAY TWO: WHAT HAPPENED ON THURSDAY

By Linden Moore

Highlights from the second day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Thursday, the first day of the women’s competition, included Kent State senior Danniel Thomas winning the shot put title with a throw of 62 feet, 10 inches, and sisters Christina and Danielle Aragon, of Stanford and Notre Dame, respectively, securing spots in the 1,500-meter finals in only their second race competing against each other.

Abigail Winn wrote about Thomas for Run Blog Run, and Sierra Webster covered the Aragon sisters for 406mtsports.com

Also for 406.mtsports.com, Isaac Gibson has the story on all five competitors from Montana, including Alyssa Snyder, who finished fourth in the 5,000 meters with a personal best of 32 minutes, 58.31 seconds.

Harvard sophomore Gabby Thomas used her pre-practice meditation twice before qualifying for the final of the 200 meters. Shawn Medow spoke to Thomas for the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Senior Danielle Waldner finished fourth in the shot put  in her first and only NCAA outdoor championships on Thursday. Her teammate, senior pole vaulter Emily Grove, placed 15th after clearing only one height. Emma Childs recounted their bittersweet performances for the Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan.

Maverick Pallack wrote about Texas A&M’s Lindon Victor, who defended his NCAA decathlon title, for Grenada Sports, which covers athletics in Victor’s home country of Grenada.

Former Duck Nikki Hiltz qualified second overall for the 1,500-meter final in 4 minutes, 10.08 seconds. Linden Moore has the story on the Arkansas runner’s return to Hayward Field for the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

And the heavily favored Oregon women performed less well than they had hoped, but they are still on track to contend for the team title Saturday. Morgan Sudduth has the story on the Ducks’ day for Run Blog Run.

 

Ducks struggle a bit, but still think they can win Triple Crown

By Morgan Sudduth

EUGENE, Oregon — Even with the inability to participate in the women 4×100-meter relay due to a disqualification in the NCAA qualifying meet and a difficult first day at the NCAA track and field championships Thursday, the Women of Oregon say they are still in the game to make history.

Having won the NCAA titles in cross country and the indoor track and field championships, the women only need one more title at this week’s NCAA outdoor championships to be the first women’s team in NCAA history to win all three in the same season.

After the first day of competition Thursday, Oregon has zero team points. Georgia is in first place with 24.2 points, and Kentucky is in second with 14. Oregon’s projected toughest competition, USC, is in 14th place with 6 points.

Although the Ducks do not have any points so far, they were able to get 10 women to individually qualify for Saturday’s finals. Four of these events have two in the final: the 200- and 100 meter dashes, and the 100-meter hurdles.

These women now have a chance to get Oregon on the board.

“Every time we get on the line, it’s not just for [us] but it’s for everyone else with an O on their chest,” said sprinter Ariana Washington. “We’re sisters right now, and I think we know that we have something to prove to everyone, we have something to prove for ourselves … we’re almost to the finish line.” (more…)

Danniel Thomas gets surprise victory in NCAA shot put

By Abigail Winn

EUGENE, Oregon — Kent State University senior Danniel Thomas was not fazed by the women she was competing with for the NCAA shot put title, including two-time NCAA outdoor champion and 2016 Olympian Raven Saunders.

“I just go out there and try to be in my own zone,” said Thomas, who competed in the Rio Olympics for her native Jamaica.  “I didn’t really let the fact that she was in the competition get in my head. If I do what I’m supposed to do, I will do very well.”

She did more than well. Thomas won the title with her final throw of 62 feet, 10 inches, over four feet further than second-place Louisville senior Emmonnie Henderson, who threw 58-9 1/2. USC post-grad and former Oregon Duck Brittany Mann took third with 57-4 3/4.

Saunders, the favorite, finished fourth. Her best throw was her first, 57-3 3/4, and she fouled on four of her six throws.

(more…)

NCAA MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS: WHAT HAPPENED ON WEDNESDAY

By Linden Moore

The top highlight from the first day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Wednesday, the first day of the men’s competition, including Tennessee’s Christian Coleman qualifying for the 100-meter final in 9.82 seconds, the fourth-fastest time on American soil. He also qualified for the 200-meter final in 20.21.

Maggie Vanoni has the story on his quest to become the first man since Justin Gatlin to double in the 100 and 200 at the NCAA championships via the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Other highlights, also covered by the SOJC track bureau:

Troy Faley qualified for the final in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, becoming Gonzaga’s first ever NCAA men’s outdoor finalist. Jack Butler covered the race for 406mtsports.com

Cornell’s Rudy Winkler threw 243 feet, 2 inches to secure the men’s hammer throw championship on the same field where he won the 2016 Olympic trials. Ariel Sax wrote the story on his victorious return to Hayward for Run Blog Run.

Florida teammates KeAndre Bates and Grant Holloway went one-two in the long jump. RJ Chavez has the story for Run Blog Run on the teammates, who became the first to finish 1-2 in the long jump for the first time 1987.

Tulsa’s Marc Scott suffered a seizure two days before the 10,000 meter finals, but came out strong to win the NCAA title. Kim Holm spoke to him for Run Blog Run about his victory in 29 minutes, 1.54 seconds just days after he was put in the hospital.

South Dakota’s Chris Nilsen had a third-place finish in the pole vault with a height of 17-10 1/2 inches, a strong performance for a freshman but one that fell short of his victory at the indoor championships. Gus Morris spoke to Nilsen about his bittersweet performance for the Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan.

 

 

Harris qualifies for NCAA Championship 800-meter final

By Becky Hoag

Penn State sophomore Isaiah Harris looked relaxed during his preliminary race for the men’s 800 meters on Wednesday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, and he did what he needed to do: qualified for Friday’s final.

He got caught behind some of the runners and remained around fifth place in his heat until the last 200 meters, then moved his way up to the front of the race.

The last 200 meters ended up being close, but Harris still finished second in his heat with a time of 1 minute, 46.62 seconds, the second fastest time in the prelims. First place finisher in his heat UTEP’s Michael Saruni qualified first overall in 1:46.38.

“We ran the hard way,” Harris said. “We negative split it, but I felt good. It was the most stacked heat out there, and I’m happy with the finish.”

(more…)

Tulsa senior Marc Scott wins NCAA 10K title two days after a seizure

By Kim Holm

Tulsa 10,000-meter runner Marc Scott was out Monday morning in Eugene with his trainer, and he was four miles into his 10-mile run when he had what he called a mini-seizure.

He said he was too far from his car to turn around and go back. So he just finished his six miles and went back to the car.

So he then went to the hospital, where they kept him for 24 hours. Doctors gave him a CT scan and checked out his heart, and everything came back inconclusive. They don’t know what caused it. But they cleared him Tuesday afternoon to compete on Wednesday, and Scott said he wasn’t worried about it at all.

Wednesday at Hayward Field, two days later, Scott won the NCAA title at 10,000 meters with a time of 29 minutes, 1.54 seconds. It was his first national title in five years at Tulsa, including his redshirt year.

“I didn’t know how it would affect me after I was released,” Scott said. “The lack of sleep was the biggest issue.”

That’s because medical personnel kept having to wake him up at night to check on his condition. (more…)

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