NCAA Women: Georgia Doesn’t Falter

Hall (rear), Davis (front) & Orji celebrated an historic 1-2-3 in the long jumpKIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT

Unlike the NCAA Indoor men’s team race—a wide-open affair with many potential winners—there was a clear premeet favorite on the women’s side.

Any rational formchart showed Georgia with a comfortable lead over the field, and the only interesting question was which of the other SEC powerhouses would win the remaining team trophies, and in what order.

The only possible concerns for the crystal-ball set were that Georgia would be relying heavily on multiple high placings by two key athletes doing double duty—sprinter Lynna Irby and jumper Keturah Orji.

If either of them showed up in College Station subpar for any reason, that could put the Dawgs closer to the rest of the top contenders.

As it turned out, there was nothing for either the prognosticators or Georgia’s fans to worry about, and that became very clear on the first day of competition.

Not only did Irby (a pair of 3rds) and Orji (a 1st and a 2nd) do well, but their teammates met—and in some cases also exceeded—expectations.

Frosh Irby won her heats impressively in both the 200 and 400. Orji (21-4¾/6.52) was sandwiched between Kate Hall (22-1/6.73 PR) and yearling Tara Davis (21-4/6.50) to give Georgia an unprecedented 1-2-3 sweep of the long jump.

“Going 1-2-3 with my teammates has been our goal all season,” said Hall. “After getting 1st in the NCAA outdoors, I definitely wanted to come back and get 1st today.”

Before her important 3rd in the long jump, Davis produced a stunning World Junior Record of 7.98 in the 60H heats. “She had the perfect race,” said coach Petros Kyprianou. “I’m really proud of her.”

In addition to the 24 long jump points, Georgia picked up 5 from unheralded soph Jessica Drop in the 5000 and another 4 points from Louisa Grauvogel’s PR in the pentathlon.

Bottom line: at the end of the first day, the Red & Black had 33 points, giving them a 20-point lead over Florida.

On Saturday, Orji won the triple jump by more than two feet (her sixth NCAA title and her third indoors). After briefly trailing Florida’s Yanis David, the Georgia senior took the lead in round 3 and set a meet record of 46-10 (14.27) in round 4.

“It was really great,” said Orji, who had finished 5th at the World Indoor the previous weekend.

“I like being pushed, and I feel like I jump the furthest when I’m pushed. It gets nerves going, gets energy going, and makes it more exciting.”

Also on Saturday, Irby picked up a pair of bronzes in the 200 and 400. Hall and Davis finished 6th in the 60 and 60H to round out the Georgia’s scoring. It was apparent well before the end of the meet that no team could approach their 61 points.

Arkansas ended up in 2nd with 49 points, 22 of which came in the vault after all three of the Hogs had indoor PRs.

Lexi Jacobus won with a meet record 15-3½ (4.66) that tied her with Sandi Morris for No. 3 on the all-time collegiate list.

Twin sister Tori Hoggard took silver 2 inches behind, moving to No. 5 ever, and third Razorback Desiree Freier was 5th at 14-5½ (4.41).

The Hogs won two other events with list-leading marks: the pentathlon (Taliyah Brooks 4572) and the hurdles (Payton Chadwick 7.93—the school’s first-ever title in that event).

“It was a fantastic day,” said coach Lance Harter. “We didn’t have a lot of bullets, but the bullets we had hit their target.”

Although Kentucky’s outdoor NCAA champ Olivia Gruver could manage only 3rd in the vault (14-9½/4.51), the Wildcats ended up 3rd in the scoring with 34 points, 2 ahead of Florida. The SEC thus swept the first four places and, in addition, had three other teams in the Top 10

There were some spectacular individual performances as well, with speed records going down almost as much as they had on the men’s side.

The best of them was the American/Collegiate 400 record of 50.34 set by USC’s Kendall Ellis (click to read feature) in the first section, breaking the 50.46 mark set at altitude by world champion Phyllis Francis 4 years ago.

“It was amazing,” said the Trojan senior. “I really wanted to get the national title. The fact that the record came with it was just icing on the cake.”

Irby was 2nd at 50.87, but didn’t claim the overall runner-up position. That honor went to second-section winner Sydney McLaughlin, whose 50.36 also broke the old AR/CR and additionally lowered her own World Junior/American Junior standards of 50.52.

Irby (22.55 PR) and McLaughlin (22.80 after a PR 22.68 in the heats) doubled back into the 200, where they claimed 3rd and 4th.

LSU had 4 finalists in the 60 and Aleia Hobbs and Mikiah Brisco (click to read sidebar) went 1-2.

Hobbs’s 7.07 equaled the CR set last year at altitude, and was 0.01 better than the previous low-altitude best. Brisco, the outdoor 100 champion, was 0.04 back in second.

Yet another CR was broken by Gabby Thomas in the 200 (click to read feature). After finishing last in the ’17 final, the Harvard junior was determined to do better here. “I focused on the mental aspect of the race,” she said. Preparing for the NCAAs took “a lot of positive self-talk and positive mindset.”


All-Time Collegiate 200 Top 10

The NCAA Championships full-lap race produced significant changes at the top of the all-time collegiate list, Gabby Thomas and Ashley Henderson becoming Nos. 1 & 3 all-time:

22.38 Gabby Thomas (Harvard) ’18
22.40 Bianca Knight (Texas) ’08
22.41 Ashley Henderson (San Diego State) ’18
22.42 Ariana Washington (Oregon) ’17
22.43 Veronica Campbell-Brown’ (Arkansas) ’04
22.45 Felicia Brown (Tennessee) ’16
22.49 Muna Lee (LSU) ’03
22.49 Sanya Richards-Ross (Texas) ’04
22.50 Kamaria Brown (Texas A&M) ’14
22.52 Jenna Prandini (Oregon) ’15

Karissa Schweizer was the only woman to win two events. The Missouri senior easily won the 5000 on Friday in 15:43.23, and then outkicked NCAA outdoor steeplechase champion Allie Ostrander in the 3000. Her winning time of 8:53.36 was the No. 8 collegiate performance ever.

Schweizer has now won 5 NCAA titles—three indoors, one outdoors, and one cross country, all within the past two years.

“It’s just been a crazy ride, just really trusting the process and knowing that I’m a totally different athlete than I was two years ago,” she said.

The other two long races were very exciting.

In the mile, New Hampshire’s Elinor Purrier, last year’s runner-up and this year’s list leader, led from the start.

She tried to open up some daylight on the field in the last lap but was pursued by Colorado’s Dani Jones, who fell just short of catching her in the closing steps. Purrier’s time was 4:31.76, just 0.06 ahead of Jones.

It was New Hampshire’s first-ever NCAA title, indoors or out.

Said Purrier, “It’s really emotional. I knew I could do it and I worked really hard for this. But a lot of things have to go right.”

Friday’s program concluded with the distance medley and that race was even closer than the mile.

Oregon won the event for the first time and its time of 10:51.99 was the fourth-best ever by a college team. The Duck margin of victory was only 0.03, as Oregon anchor Lilli Burdon barely held off Stanford’s Christina Aragon.

Said Burdon, “I believed in myself the whole way and we have all been working well together in practice, so I knew we could do it.” Results follow:


— NCAA Women’s Results —

College Station, Texas March 09–10 (200m banked)—

Teams (61 scored): 1. Georgia 61; 2. Arkansas 49; 3. Kentucky 34; 4. Florida 32; 5. Oregon 31; 6. LSU 29; 7. USC 28; 8. Stanford 24; 9. Missouri 20; 10. tie, New Mexico & Texas A&M 17.

60: 1. Aleia Hobbs (LSU) 7.07 lo-alt CR; =CR (old lo-alt CR 7.08 Remona Burchell’ [Ala] ’15; =CR 7.07[A] Hannah Cunliffe [Or]) ’17); 2. Mikiah Brisco (LSU) 7.11 (x, =9 C); 3. ***Natalliah Whyte’ (Aub) 7.12 PR (=8, x C); 4. Jonielle Smith’ (Aub) 7.19; 5. Ashley Henderson (SDi) 7.20; 6. *Kate Hall (Ga) 7.24.

Heats: II–1. Hobbs 7.12 =PR (=7, x C).

200(2-section time final): 1. *Gabrielle Thomas (Harv) 22.38 CR (old CR 22.40 Bianca Knight [Tx] ’08) (=5, x W; 2, 2 A); 2. Henderson 22.41 PR (WL, AL, CL) (=9, x W; 3, 3 A; 2, 2 C);

3. ***Lynna Irby (Ga) 22.55 PR ; 4. ***Sydney McLaughlin (Ky) 22.80; 5. *Kortnei Johnson (LSU) 22.90; 6. ***Ka’Tia Seymour (FlSt) 23.01.

Heats: I–1. Thomas 22.66 PR (=WL, AL, CL). III–1. Irby 22.66 PR (=WL, AL, CL); 2. McLaughlin 22.68 PR.

400(2-section time final): 1. Kendall Ellis (USC) 50.34 AR, CR (old records 50.46[A] Phyllis Francis [Or] ’14) (old lo-alt records 50.52 McLaughlin ’18) (=11, x W) (23.63/26.71);

2. McLaughlin 50.36 WJR, AJR (old records 50.52 McLaughlin ’18) (2, 2 A, C) (23.73/26.63); 3. Irby 50.87 (23.59/27.28);

4. *Sharrika Barnett (Fl) 51.07 PR; 5. Brionna Thomas (Pur) 51.56 PR; 6. *Briana Guillory (Ia) 51.68 PR.

Schweizer competed a distance double by beating Ostrander in the 3000ERROL ANDERSON/THE SPORTING IMAGE

800: 1. Sabrina Southerland (Or) 2:01.55 PR (CL) (5, 6 C) (27.89, 30.84 [58.73], 32.19 [1:30.92], 30.63) (58.73/62.82); 2. Síofra Cléirigh-Büttner’ (Vill-Ire) 2:02.46 NR) (58.95/63.51);

3. ***Sammy Watson (TxAM) 2:02.65 (58.42/64.23); 4. Ashley Taylor’ (NnAz) 2:03.66 PR (58.97/64.69); 5. *Jazmine Fray’ (TxAM) 2:03.88 (58.21/65.67); 6. *Rachel Pocratsky (VaT) 2:03.93 (58.67/65.26).

Mile: 1. Elinor Purrier (NH) 4:31.76 (31.08, 64.95, 2:13.59); 2. *Dani Jones (Co) 4:31.82 PR (30.85, 64.46, 2:13.13);

3. Nikki Hiltz (Ar) 4:32.59 PR (31.31, 65.01, 2:14.10); 4. Rhianwedd Price-Weimer’ (MsSt) 4:33.00; 5. Elise Cranny (Stan) 4:34.48); 6. *Millie Paladino (Prov) 4:34.93.

3000: 1. Karissa Schweizer (Mo) 8:53.36 (x, 8 C) (32.93, 67.75, 2:18.32); 2. **Allie Ostrander (Boise) 8:54.35 PR (9, 10 C) (33.69, 68.43, 2:19.07); 3. *Jessica Hull’ (Or) 9:01.96; 4. Vanessa Fraser (Stan) 9:02.31; 5. ***Weini Kelati’ (NM) 9:03.51 PR; 6. Sharon Lokedi’ (Ks) 9:03.68.

5000: 1. Schweizer 15:43.23 (34.12, 67.70, 2:15.06); 2. *Ednah Kurgat’ (NM) 15:47.46 (35.85, 71.34, 2:19.05); 3. Lokedi’ 15:52.95; 4. **Jessica Drop (Ga) 15:53.16; 5. Kelati’ 15:56.73 (34.48, 70.56, 2:24.74); 6. Erin Clark (Co) 15:56.97.

60H: 1. *Payton Chadwick (Ar) 7.93 =PR (=CL) (=8, x AmC); 2. **Anna Cockrell (USC) 7.93 PR (=CL) (=8, x AmC); 3. *Jasmine Camacho-Quinn’ (Ky) 7.96; 4. **Cortney Jones (FlSt) 8.02 PR; 5. *Kayla White (NCAT) 8.06 PR; 6. ***Tara Davis (Ga) 8.14.

Heats: I–1. Davis 7.98 WJR, AJR (old WJR 8.00 Klaudia Siciarz [Pol]) ’17; old AJR 8.01 Dior Hall [USC] ’15). II–1. Chadwick 7.93 (CL) (=8, x AmC).

Burdon won a great DMR battle with AragonKIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT

4 x 400(4-section time final): 1. USC 3:27.45 (CL) (5C) (Roberts 52.32, Cockrell 52.65, Hill 51.73, Ellis 50.75); 2. Purdue 3:28.82 (#8 School) (Abbott 52.85, Thomas 51.87, Cox’ 52.06, Mitchell 52.04);

3. Florida 3:29.41 (#10 School) (Johnson 53.79, Manson 51.88, Ghee 53.64, Barnett 50.10); 4. Oregon 3:30.00 (Anderson 52.98, DesRosiers 52.70, Southerland 52.18, Dunmore 52.14); 5. Kentucky 3:30.08 (McLaughlin 51.09 [2]); 6. Texas A&M 3:31.64.

DisMed: 1. Oregon 10:51.99 (WL, CL) (8W, 4C) (Hull’ 3:19.97, D’Arpino 54.17, Ejore’ 2:04.18, Burdon’ 4:33.67); 2. Stanford 10:52.02 (AL) (9W, 5A, 5C) (#4 School) (Fraser 3:20.44, Mongiovi 53.59, Cranny 2:04.64, Aragon 4:33.35);

3. Virginia Tech 10:53.62 (6A, 8C) (#6 School) (Kennedy 3:20.35, Blanden 53.97, Barton 2:03.87, Edwards 4:35.43);

4. Indiana 10:54.86 (#8 School) (Calder 3:21.56, Price 53.52, Harris 2:03.81, Receveur 4:35.97); 5. Boise State 10:58.93 (Ostrander 4:36.97); 6. Oklahoma State 11:04.65 (Ballner’ 4:43.15).

Field Events

HJ(jumpoff): 1. *Nicole Greene (NC) 6-1½ (1.87) (5-9¼, 5-11¼, 6-½ [2], 6-1½ [2], 6-2¾ [xxxx], 6-2 [x], 6-1¼ [x], 6-½ [x], 5-11½, 6-½ [x], 5-11½);

2. *Loretta Blaut (Cinc) 6-1½ =PR (5-9¼, 5-11¼, 6-½ [2], 6-1½ [2], 6-2¾ [xxxx], 6-2 [x], 6-1¼ [x], 6-½ [x], 5-11½, 6-½ [x], 5-11½ [x]);

3. Logan Boss (MsSt) 6-1½; 4. *Zarriea Willis (TxT) 6-½ (1.84); 5. *Clarissa Cutliff (FlInt) 6-½; 6. *Stacey Destin (Al) 6-½.

PV: 1. *Lexi Jacobus (Ar) 15-3½ (4.66) PR (11, x A; =3, =3 C) (MR) (13-9¾, 14-1¾, 14-3½ [2], 14-5½, 14-7½ [2], 14-9½, 14-11½, 15-1½ [2], 15-3½, 15-7¼ [xxx]);

2. *Tori Hoggard (Ar) 15-1½ (4.61) PR (5, x C); 3. *Olivia Gruver (Ky) 14-9½ (4.51); 4. ***Lisa Gunnarsson’ (VaT) 14-5½ (4.41); 5. *Desiree Freier (Ar) 14-5½ PR; 6. Laura Taylor (Ks) 14-3½ (4.36).

LJ: 1. Hall 22-1 (6.73) PR (CL) (7, x AmC) (21-6¼, 21-11½, 22-1, 21-1½, 17-11½, p); 2. Keturah Orji (Ga) 21-4¾ (6.52) (20-2½, 21-4¾, 20-9¼, 20-11¾, 21-2, 21-4¼);

3. Davis 21-4 (6.50) (f, f, 21-¾, f, 21-3½, 21-4); 4. *Yanis David’ (Fl) 21-¾ (6.42); 5. Jahisha Thomas’ (Ia) 21-0 (6.40); 6. Darrielle McQueen (Fl) 21-0.

TJ: 1. Orji 46-10 (14.27) (x, 8 A, C) (MR) (45-6¼, f, 46-4¼, 46-10, f, p);

2. David’ 45-10 (13.97) (43-10½, 44-6¾, 45-10, 44-9½, 44-8¾, p); 3. Jessie Maduka’ (UCLA) 45-3¾ (13.81) =PR (44-2¾, f, 44-3½, f, 45-3¾, 44-7); 4. Jhoanmy Luque’ (IaSt) 44-10¾ (13.68) PR; 5. Sabina Allen’ (Campb) 44-8 (13.61) PR; 6. *Marie-Josee Ebwea-Bile’ (Ky) 44-4 (13.51).

SP: 1. Maggie Ewen (AzSt) 60-8 (18.49) (58-7½, 59-2¾, 60-8, 60-6¾, 60-1, f); 2. Emmonnie Henderson (Louis) 58-3¾ (17.77);

3. Jessica Woodard (Ok) 57-0 (17.37); 4. Lloydricia Cameron (Fl) 56-10¼ (17.33); 5. *Kiley Sabin (Mn) 56-3¾ (17.16) ; 6. *Lena Giger (Stan) 56-2¾ (17.14).

Wt: 1. Kaitlyn Long (Mn) 76-5½ (23.30) (f, f, 72-8, 70-9¼, 71-7¼, 76-5½); 2. Annette Echikunwoke (Cinc) 76-5 (23.29) (f, 72-10¾, 76-5, f, f, 70-9¾); 3. Janeah Stewart (Ms) 76-3¾ (23.26) (f, 73-8¾, 76-3, f, f, 76-3¾); 4. Maggie Ewen (AzSt) 73-½ (22.26) =PR; 5. *Stamatia Scarvelis’ (Tn) 72-9 (22.17); 6. *Sade Olatoye (OhSt) 72-7¾ (22.14).

Pent: 1. Taliyah Brooks (Ar) 4572 (CL) (8.05, 6-½/1.84, 39-10¾/12.16, 20-10½/ 6.36, 2:22.44); 2. **Nina Schultz’ (KsSt) 4467 (8.29, 6-½/1.84, 37-10/11.53, 20-4½/ 6.21, 2:19.58); 3. Georgia Ellenwood’ (Wi) 4381(8.55, 5-10/1.78, 40-4¾/12.31, 19-6¾/5.96, 2:14.28); 4. Jaclyn Siefring (Akr) 4365 PR; 5. **Louisa Grauvogel’ (Ga) 4318 PR; 6. *Michelle Atherley (Mia) 4257.

 

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