This quickie collection of stories is dedicated to the best of the indoor collegiate conference action on the men’s side. Alphabetically:
Kahmari Montgomery didn’t hold back in leading his Houston teammates to a fifth straight American Conference title. The Cougar senior crushed the 400 field to win by 1.72 seconds, clocking a world-leading 45.04 to move to No. 8 all-time among Americans. Montgomery dedicated his race to Houston’s recently fired strength coach: “It’s all for you.”
The Cougars were everywhere in the speed events, Mario Burke taking the 60 (6.62), Obi Ibgbokwe the 200 (20.84) and Amere Lattin the hurdles (7.84). Trumaine Jefferson won the long jump at 25-8¾ (7.84).
Notre Dame’s Yared Nuguse joined the sub-4:00 club (becoming American No. 538 to do so), winning the mile handily in 3:57.93. The Kentucky native led from the gun, splitting 1:57.5 at halfway. Florida State’s Trey Cunningham won the hurdles in 7.64. Teammate Kasaun James impressed with a 6.61/20.56 sprint double, then was tapped to save the day in the 4×4. “We knew we had a shot to at least share the title,” said Seminole head Bob Braman. “We had to dig deep. Kasaun wasn’t going to get beat as long as he was within 10m.” James’s 46.64 produced a team tie with Virginia Tech at 117.
Nebraska eked out a 2-point win over Indiana, helped by frosh Mayson Conner’s leaping a PR 7-3¾ (2.23). The Wisconsin distance squad grabbed a DMR win in 9:44.62. The next day, Oliver Hoare easily kicked to a 4:02.67 mile triumph. Teammate Olin Hacker did the early pace work to help Morgan McDonald set a meet record in the 5000 (13:37.85). Ohio State’s Nick Gray won the sprints at 6.64/20.48. The 400 was captured for the fourth straight time by Izaiah Brown of Rutgers (45.82).
Texas Tech, rated No. 1 in the land by the USTFCCCA computers, crushed the rest of the loop with a 70-point winning margin over Iowa State, in no small part because of the firestorm that Divine Oduduru created on the track.
The Nigerian junior blitzed the 60 in 6.52 to top teammate Andrew Hudson’s 6.57. Then came the 200, where his stunning 20.08 moved him to No. 3 on the all-time world list. Among collegians, it is second only to Elijah Hall’s 20.02 for Houston last season. “I was never thinking I was going that fast in the 200,” said Oduduru, who danced for the fans after his win, “but when I saw the time, I was like, ‘Woo, that’s a big one!”
Iowa State junior Roshon Roomes broke the CR in the rarely-run 600y, clocking 1:07.67 to move to No. 2 all-time world. The old CR 1:08.16 was set by Vincent Crisp of Texas Tech last year. Frosh KC Lightfoot of Baylor vaulted 18-7½ (5.68) to beat defending NCAA champ Hussain Al-Hizam of Kansas (18‑5½/5.63).
Matt Ludwig of Akron captured his fifth straight crown (in/out) by soaring over a meet record 19-¾ (5.75), breaking a mark set by Shawn Barber in his World Championship season. The Zip senior then had a go at a Collegiate Record 19-5½ (5.93) but came up short. Ludwig’s squad narrowly captured the team title over Eastern Michigan, 156–153½, taking the four jumps with four different athletes.
Robert Brandt won a distance double on the big track in Seattle, taking the 5000 in 13:57.31 on Friday before returning for a Saturday win over 3000 (7:50.27). “I came into the weekend expecting to place highly,” said the UCLA junior, “but I didn’t think I’d win in both.”
USC transfer Isaiah Jewett produced a 1:47.20 to win the 800 by nearly two seconds. The mile saw three dip under 4:00, two of them for the first time. Arizona State’s William Paulsen won in 3:58.07 over Joe Klecker of Colorado (3:58.51) and Paul Ryan of Washington State (3:58.70). Klecker and Ryan became Americans Nos. 539 & 540 to join the club. Behind going into the final round of the shot, Arizona soph Jordan Geist came through to win by a foot with his 68-2½ (20.79). He remains undefeated on the season.
It’s a dominant team performance when the Gators can win an SEC title without even fielding a 4×4. The most spectacular of Florida’s points came from Grant Holloway, who won the 60 in 6.54 over teammate Hakim Sani Brown (6.60), then returned 30 minutes later to record the No. 3 hurdles flight ever by a collegian, 7.44. Said the multi-talented junior, “This is why I came back. This is the feeling I always love, when everybody is winning and not just me doing my own thing. To have everybody contribute to the team… everybody did what they had to do.” The Gators’ first win on the final day came when AJ McFarland passed weight throw defender Denzel Comenentia of Georgia on the final throw, throwing 76-7¼ (23.35) to win by nearly two feet.
The vault CR fell to Mondo Duplantis (see sidebar). Other collegiate leaders went to A&M triple jumper Tahar Triki (56-2/17.12) and Georgia multi-eventer Johannes Erm (5996). Devin Dixon of Texas A&M led the first two laps of the 800 before Mississippi State’s Marco Arop bolted to an 8-meter lead on the third lap. Dixon caught him before the line, winning 1:47.47–1:47.86. Later he produced a 44.60 for A&M’s winning relay (3:03.61).
South beat North in the battle of the Dakota States, but the headlines were stolen by putter Payton Otterdahl of the runner-up team, who produced a Collegiate Record 71-6¾ (21.81). Chris Nilsen of South Dakota showed plenty of fitness by winning the vault by nearly 2ft with his 18-10¼ (5.75). He went out at 19-2½ (5.85).
|Men’s Conference Team Winners|
|(* = defending champ)|
|ACC||Florida State* & Virginia Tech|
|Atlantic 10||George Mason|
|Big 12||Texas Tech*|
|Big Sky||Northern Arizona*|
|Conference USA||Middle Tennessee|
|MEAC||North Carolina A&T*|
|Missouri Valley||Illinois State*|
|Mountain West||Colorado State|
|Ohio Valley||Eastern Kentucky*|
|Summit||South Dakota State|
|Sun Belt||UT Arlington|