The Indoor Season Starts Hot In The U.S.

Nico Young segued from a fine fall XC campaign to the fastest track 5000 ever by an American Junior. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

THE NCAA’S BRIEF WINDOW of December indoor meets was very productive this year, notably so in the American Junior Record department. Highlights:


American Junior Record For Brandon Miller

In his last month of being a Junior (U20) performer, Texas A&M soph Brandon Miller demolished the AJR in the 600 with his 1:15.49 at Arkansas’s Wooo Pig Classic (Fayetteville, December 03).

After following teammate Moitalel Mpoke (24.03) for the first lap (24.03), Miller set out on his own, passing the 400 in 49.06 and holding on to cross the line more than a second under Casimir Loxsom’s AJR of 1:16.92 from ’10.

“Brandon Miller had a tremendous day,” said A&M coach Pat Henry.”

The top mark on the women’s side came from Aggie frosh Laila Owens in the 300. Her 37.06 made her the No. 9 collegian ever.

A pair of snappy 5000s highlighted the distances. Arkansas’s Lauren Gregory won her race in 15:34.58. On the men’s side it was Tulane’s Scott Beattie in 13:40.42.


Nico Young 5000 AJR

The annual distance-fest that is Boston U’s Colyear-Danville Opener (Boston, December 04) once again sparkled, the men’s 5000 seeing a dozen runners breaking 13:30.

The race to the tape was dominated by runners from the Antipodes, Aussie Olli Hoare outkicking Kiwi Geordie Beamish, 13:09.96–13:12.53 as both set national records. Iowa State’s Wesley Kiptoo ran 13:14.74 to move to No. 3 among collegians undercover. In 4th came Northern Arizona’s Abdihamid Nur in 13:22.24, making him the No. 4 American collegian ever.

The biggest news though was Nico Young’s 13:22.59 in 5th. The 19-year-old Northern Arizona frosh broke his own absolute AJR of 13:24.26 set at the Drake Relays in April, as well as crushing the indoor AJR of 13:48.26 that Chris Derrick ran for Stanford in ’09.


Katelyn Tuohy 3000 AJR

In the top women’s race in Boston, cross country find Ceili McCabe of West Virginia won the 3000 in 8:52.52 to move to No. 7 collegian ever.

In 4th, Katelyn Tuohy of NC State broke a pair of AJRs in 8:54.18. That beat the absolute best of 8:57.27 set by Stanford’s Ceci St. Geme nearly 40 years ago as well as the indoor standard of 8:58.88 by Stanford’s Elise Cranny in ’15.

Five broke 15:30 in the 5000, led by a shocking performance from former Div. III champion (Centre College) Annie Rodenfels. The steeple specialist signed up to be the pacer through 3000. That she did in 9:12.69, then she decided to drop back into the pack and see how long she could stick with the pace. “I thought I’d try to stay in and snag a little PR if I felt good.”

Rodenfels came back to the lead on the final lap, and outkicked NCAA cross country champ Whittni Orton with a 26-second PR in a WC qualifier 15:08.80. Orton, competing unattached, crossed in 15:09.47 with BYU teammate Courtney Wayment clocking 15:15.46 in 3rd to move to No. 7 all-time among collegians.


Collegiate Record 300 For Abby Steiner

Last seen in an injury-shortened outdoor season, Kentucky’s Abby Steiner showed at the Cardinal Classic (Louisville, Kentucky, December 11) that she has fully recovered from the Achilles injury that kept her from racing at the Olympic Trials, burning her first 300 ever in a Collegiate Record 35.80.

That nipped the old CR of 35.83 that Jamaican great Merlene Ottey ran at altitude for Nebraska in ’81. Steiner also gets credit for the low-altitude CR and the American CR, both held by Sydney McLaughlin with her 36.12 from ’17.

“What a blessing it is to be healthy and doing what I love again,” Steiner said on Instagram.

The men also produced a swift 300 race on the banked 200 track. Kentucky’s Dwight St. Hillaire moved to No. 4 collegian ever with his 32.70 winner, ahead of teammates Lance Lang (33.04) and Kennedy Lightner (33.07).


Other Highlights

Cougar vaulter Zach McWhorter cleared 19-1 (5.82) at the BYU Invitational (Provo, Utah, December 10) to earn a share of No. 8 on the all-time collegiate indoor list. The 22-year-old soph is now No. 6 ever among American collegians.

The second-attempt clearance — with plenty of room to spare — added 2cm to the PR 19-¼ (5.80) he made to place 2nd at last year’s NCAA Indoor.

At Kansas State’s Winter Invitational (Manhattan, December 10) Wildcat senior Tejaswin Shankar totaled 4321 pentathlon points in producing the No. 5 collegiate score ever. He high jumped a notable 7-4½ (2.25) in the process. ◻︎

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