Collegiate Digest — A Recordbreaking Start To Season

Texas A&M frosh Athing Mu here broke the American Junior 800 record and a week later claimed the Collegiate 600 best. (ERROL ANDERSON/THE SPORTING IMAGE)

TEXAS WAS THE PLACE TO BE for collegiate track in January, with a spate of high-end meets.

Lightfoot Nails Collegiate Vault Record

It’s dangerous to place much stock in practice marks, but on January 08 a social media video was posted of KC Lightfoot clearing a bar set at 6-meters (19-8¼). This didn’t-count one was indeed a good indicator of things to come as the Baylor junior flew to a Collegiate Record 19-5¾ (5.94) at the Corky Classic (Lubbock, Texas, January 16). That put to bed South Dakotan Chris Nilsen’s 19-5½ (5.93) from last year.

Vaulting at 981 friendly meters of altitude, the 21-year-old Lightfoot opened with first-time clearances at 17-10¼ (5.44) and 18-8¼ (5.70) before having the bar raised to a PR 19-2¼ (5.85). That only took one try too and he had slotted himself as =No. 4 collegian on the all-time list. But he wasn’t done with perfection as the record height also came without a miss. The only soundtrack being the cheers of fellow athletes in the otherwise nearly empty fieldhouse, Lightfoot had plenty of air as he arced over the bar without contact.

“Some things fell into place and the Collegiate Record stayed up there,” he said after missing all three at the 6-meter barrier (19-8¼). “There are plenty of things to work on and I believe a 6-meter bar will be coming sooner rather than later.”

Baylor head Todd Harbour analyzed, “There’s more to come, but what a way to start the indoor season.”

His second appearance of the year was notable as well, as he cleared 19-4¼ (5.90) on his second attempt at the next weekend’s Aggie Invitational in College Station. He missed thrice at a CR 19-6¼ (5.95).

Said coach Harbour, “KC again was very consistent. He was jumping big bars again.”

Usoro Scares Collegiate TJ Record

Texas Tech’s Ruth Usoro signaled that ’21 might be a very special year, as the Red Raider senior became the No. 2 collegiate triple jumper ever indoors. The mark came on her first attempt of the season, with her 46-10¼ (14.28).

Competing on her home runway at the Corky Classic, the 23-year-old Nigerian, who also won the long jump at 21-4¼ (6.51), added more than 2½ feet to her old best of 44-3¼ (13.49).

“When I first saw the mark, I was really surprised,” she said. “I had to look back and check that it was really my mark. I was so surprised when I saw it, because I wasn’t really expecting it at this time. It came so early.” She followed up with a second-round 46-2 (14.07) before passing her remaining tries.

Mu Slams American Junior 800 Record

Athing Mu didn’t waste any time in college, tearing down the American Junior Record — and narrowly missing the WJR — at the Nelson Invitational (College Station, Texas, January 16) in her first race in an Aggie singlet. The night before, she had prophetically posted on Instagram, “The real fun begins tomorrow.”

Her 2:01.07 beat the ’17 record of 2:01.78 set by New York high schooler Sammy Watson. After passing halfway in 60.75, Mu accelerated through laps of 30.62 and 29.70 for a negative split of 60.32 for the second half. She came back later with a 53.69 third leg on the winning 4×4.

Said A&M coach Pat Henry, “She wants to be the best ever that stepped on the track. Watching her, you can see this kid has things not many can do.”

Mu Episode 2: Collegiate 600 Record

Aggie frosh Athing Mu was again in record mode in her second meet of the year, lowering the all-time collegiate best in the rarely run 600 to 1:25.80 at the Aggie Invitational. The old mark of 1:26.56 was set by Delisa Floyd (Walton at the time) of Tennessee in ’81.

Mu covered her 3 laps in 27.36, 29.82 (57.18) and 28.62 in producing the No. 10 time in U.S. history. Mu herself holds the American Record with the 1:23.57 she ran as a prep junior back in ’19. □