A Monster Rash Of Collegiate Record Action

Anchored by frosh superstar Athing Mu, the powerful Texas A&M foursome rumbled to a new collegiate indoor standard in the 4×4. (ERROL ANDERSON/THE SPORTING IMAGE)

FEBRUARY 13-14 was a memorable weekend of action on the NCAA scene, with a plethora of alterations to the collegiate recordbooks. It all started on Friday night with the exploits of Cooper Teare, whose 3:50.39 gave him the mile record not only indoors, but also in an absolute sense. And his 3:35.46 en route gave him the indoor 1500 standard.

Saturday only picked up the pace, as one of the Oregon senior’s new records didn’t even last 24 hours:

Tanner Takes Teare’s 1500 Standard

Chock-full of pros as it was, the 1500 at the New Balance Indoor GP was already dazzling enough before it registered among observers that 3rd-placer Sam Tanner of Washington had not only nailed the New Zealand Record with his 3:34.72, but had also bettered the CR 3:35.46 that Teare set the night before. As if that weren’t enough, it will also stand as an absolute CR, bettering the outdoor 3:35.01 that New Mexico’s Josh Kerr ran in ’18.

Tanner, just a soph, moved out of the pack after the half and closed with a 56.34/42.77 sequence.

“I am frothing, fizzing, buzzing… everything,” Tanner told a New Zealand reporter. “I’m just super over the moon. I was hoping for an Olympic qualification; we worked hard and got it, so I’m super-stoked.

“I’m still trying to comprehend how awesome it is. It is such an honor. It’s a dream come true literally because I’ve been dreaming about it since I was 12 years old. I’m just so, so excited and can’t wait for the opportunity to stand on that start line in Tokyo.”

The Women’s 4×4 Record Falls To Texas A&M

Closing the books on a sizzling Tyson Invitational, the Texas A&M women stepped onto the Fayetteville track knowing this 4×4 wasn’t about holding back. After Jania Martin led off with a 53.04, Syaira Richardson blistered a 51.85. Then Jamaican soph Charokee Young flew even faster, a 51.11, handing off to frosh sensation Athing Mu, the collegiate leader in the 400. Mu, no stranger to recordsetting this year, needed a 51.02 to break the CR and overachieved with a 50.27.

The new mark, 3:26.27, left Texas far behind at 3:32.64 and handily broke the old CR of 3:27.03 that USC set 4 years ago. The year-leading mark has only ever been bettered by four nations.

Said coach Pat Henry, “This week in training we had talked about getting it together and trying to run well this week. We haven’t put any pressure on running a time yet and we didn’t put much pressure on running a time today. I just wanted them to get the absolute best out of themselves today, take a chance and put it on the line.

“Remember, there are three other people and everything you do affects those other three people. You’ve got to be a great teammate to be on a great relay and we got four young ladies right now that are running extremely well. That’s a big-time performance by those ladies.”

Lightfoot Loves Vaulting In Lubbock

For the third time this season, KC Lightfoot soared over a CR at Texas Tech. This time the Baylor junior joined a very exclusive club, his 19-8¼ putting him over the benchmark 6-meter barrier. His previous records were 19-5¾ (5.94) on January 16 and 19-6¼ (5.95) on January 30.

This time he opened at 17-9¼ (5.42) and was clean through his third bar, an 18-9¼ (5.72) that sealed the win over BYU’s Zach McWhorter, whose highest clearance was 18-5¼ (5.62).

At 19-¼ (5.80), Lightfoot needed two tries. He cleared 19-4¼ (5.90) on his first, equaling the No. 6 colleegiate indoor clearance ever.. Then came the big bar. It took him three goes, but he finally soared over, doing a back flip once he landed in the pit.

“There’s really nothing more to say than it was magical, for sure.” Lightfoot said. “I’ve worked my whole life for that bar, and to finally get it takes a huge relief off my shoulders. I’m going to be on cloud 9 for a while, definitely.”

He finished the day with three ambitious attempts at an American Record 19-9 (6.02). As it was, his 19-8¼ also tied the absolute CR set by LSU’s Mondo Duplantis in ’19 and broke the absolute American CR of 19-7½ (5.98) set by Tennessee’s Lawrence Johnson back in ’96.

“There’s still some more in the tank, though,” he said. “I’m just not sure for what height, anymore. I guess the American record is the next big goal.”

Washington’s Shot Shocker

The excitement over the Lightfoot record had barely been absorbed at Texas Tech when Arizona State junior Turner Washington shocked in the shot with a 71-8½ (21.85) that broke the CR of 71-6¾ (21.81) set by Payton Otterdahl of North Dakota State two years ago.

The throw came on Washington’s final attempt as he had languished in 2nd since round 1 after USC’s McKay Johnson opened with a 70-4½ (21.45) that bettered his PR by nearly 3 feet and temporarily moved him to No. 9 on the all-time collegiate list. Washington had thrown a 68-6 (20.88) in round 5 before coming up huge on his last chance.

“I feel super-pumped about breaking the record today,” Washington said. “I came into today just focusing on my technique, and going into the last throw I really buckled down on what I needed to do and it paid off. One of my goals has been to throw over 70-feet so it feels great to finally do that.”

Better known as a discus guy when he was a prep (New Balance champion, Pan-Am Junior silver), Washington has focused on the shot after his transfer from Arizona to Arizona State. Discus genes also run in the family: father Anthony was a 3-time Olympic finalist and the ’99 world champion.