NCAA Indoor Women Day 3 — Arkansas Does It The Hard Way

Hog head Lance Harter found a way to win the national team title without a single individual winner. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

Women’s Teams: Arkansas

Usually, a team needs some heavy hitters to win an NCAA track title; Lance Harter’s Arkansas squad did it this year with pure depth. The defending champion’s prospects didn’t look especially promising on the surface after the meet’s first two days, with powerful Texas A&M sporting a 16-point lead. But on Saturday, the hits kept coming for the home team.

Recounted Harter, “We started the day with 10 points and knew we had some scoring ability because of all the events that we covered for today. I met with the milers, being the first event, and reminded them a lot of times momentum starts with the first event and has a positive flow for the rest of the meet.”

The milers took that to heart, with runner-up Krissy Gear and 3rd-placer Kennedy Thomson delivering 14 points. And so it went: points in the 60, points in the 400, points in the hurdles, points in the 800.

By the time the 3000 came up, Arkansas stood only 2 digits behind the Aggies. And Harter had a quartet of 3000 runners. “We met with the 3K girls and said, ‘Let’s take the pressure off the mile relay and make a statement here. If we can get ahead by 3 or 4 points, then we can put this meet away,’” said Harter. “They obviously overachieved and the meet was over.”

The Razorback tally, 68 points, stands as the third-highest in meet history. More notably, it was achieved despite not winning a single event — the first time that has ever happened at the NCAA Indoor. /Roy Conrad/


1. Arkansas 68;

2. Texas A&M 57;

3. LSU 39;

4. USC 35;

5. Georgia 31;

6. Florida 30;

7. BYU 29;

8. Texas 25;

9. Baylor 24;

10. Auburn 20;

11. tie, Ohio State & Texas Tech 18;

13. Kentucky 17;

14. Virginia Tech 15;

15. Oregon 14;

16. tie, Alabama & Florida State, Notre Dame 13;

19. Mississippi 12;

20. tie, Arizona, Colorado, Louisville & South Carolina 10;

24. tie, Clemson, Miami, Minnesota, NC State, Norfolk State & Oklahoma State 6;

29. tie, Air Force, Arizona State, Duke, High Point & UMass Lowell 5;

35. tie, Michigan, North Dakota State, Providence, Stephen F. Austin & Washington State 4;

40. tie, Cal, Kent State, Michigan State, Rice & Tennessee 3;

45. tie, Indiana, Kansas, Kansas State, North Carolina A&T, Oklahoma, Southern Illinois & Villanova 2;

52. tie, Kennesaw State, Missouri, Virginia & Washington 1.

Competed But Did Not Score

Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Illinois State, Iowa, Maryland, Memphis, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Northern Illinois, Oregon State, Penn State, Purdue, Rhode Island, Richmond, South Dakota, Texas State, UCLA, Wake Forest, Wisconsin.

60 Meters: Kemba Nelson (Oregon)

With the focus on USC’s TeeTee Terry and Kiara Grant of Norfolk State, little wonder that Kemba Nelson evaded scrutiny before the final. Terry, the defending champion, had led the heats in a very comfortable 7.09, a PR that put her just 0.02 away from the Collegiate Record. Grant, a Jamaican junior with 11.04 outdoor credentials, had rolled through an undefeated season and won her heat in a PR 7.11.

Oregon junior Nelson, another Jamaican, is in her first year in the U.S. college system after running a promising — but not earthshaking — 11.49 in ’19. The 21-year-old had come to Fayetteville with a 60 best of 7.19. In the heats behind Terry she lowered it to 7.13. That still didn’t make her a real part of the conversation.

A lightning start in the final did. While Terry got out sluggishly — behind both Grant and Nelson after several strides — the Oregonian stayed low and transitioned directly into a daunting lead that she extended throughout the race. The times at halfway were Nelson 4.13, Grant 4.16 and Terry 4.17.

Nelson crossed with a winning margin of 0.09 seconds, the biggest since ’15. Behind her, Terry chased down Grant to take runner-up honors, 7.14–7.16, with Alabama’s Tamara Clark hitting 7.18 in 4th.

During the post-race broadcast interview, Nelson saw that she had set an unlooked-for CR 7.05. “That’s crazy!” was her reaction. The performance knocked down the 7.07 standard that fellow Duck Hannah Cunliffe had set at altitude in ’17 and LSU’s Aleia Hobbs tied the next year.

“From the prelims, I cleaned up the transitioning to the final 30 and I guess that’s what caused me to win,” explained Nelson. “I was just remembering what coach said, ‘Just low heels and push out of the blocks, react, react, react. As long as you react and get low heels and push through and stay down and be patient, then you should be fine.’” /Jeff Hollobaugh/


FINAL (March 13)

1. *Kemba Nelson’ (Or-Jam) 7.05 CR (old CR 7.07 Hannah Cunliffe [Or] ’17 & Aleia Hobbs [LSU] ’18) (4.13/2.92);

2. TeeTee Terry (USC) 7.14 (4.17/2.97);

3. *Kiara Grant’ (Norf-Jam) 7.16 (4.16/3.00);

4. Tamara Clark (Al) 7.18 PR (4.21/2.97);

5. Alfreda Steele (Mia) 7.22 PR (4.28/2.94);

6. **Joella Lloyd’ (Tn-Ant) 7.23 (4.23/3.00);

7. Jada Baylark (Ar) 7.23 (4.22/3.01);

8. Halle Hazzard’ (Va-Grn) 7.27 (4.24/3.03).

HEATS (March 12)

I–1. Grant’ 7.11 PR (CL) (=8, =10 C);

2. Lloyd’ 7.17; 3. Clark 7.18 PR; 4. Hazzard’ 7.23 PR; 5. *Kynnedy Flannel (Tx) 7.26; 6. Jayla Kirkland (FlSt) 7.28; 7. *Amira Young (Mn) 7.32;… dnc—*Julien Alfred (Tx).

II–1. Terry 7.09 PR (CL) (=5, =5 C; =4, =4 AmC);

2. Nelson’ 7.13 PR; 3. Baylark 7.15 PR; 4. Steele 7.23 PR; 5. **Semira Killebrew (Fl) 7.26; 6. Brianna Duncan (Or) 7.30; 7. ***Kevona Davis’ (Tx-Jam) 7.36; 8. *Abby Steiner (Ky) 7.38.

200 Meters: Abby Steiner (Kentucky)

A year ago Kentucky’s Abby Steiner was the top seed for the Indoor nationals that never was. This weekend the Wildcat junior, again the No. 1 seed, got her just desserts in claiming her first NCAA title. The bonus? A tie of the Collegiate Record along with the yearly world lead.

In section 1, defending champ TeeTee Terry of USC tried to make lane 4 work, but could not overcome Kennedy Flannel in lane 6, who had an insurmountable lead coming off the last turn. The Texan posted a 22.64, with Terry holding off a hard-pressing Anavia Battle of Ohio State, 22.75–22.76.

Steiner faced off against Alabama’s Tamara Clark in section 2, running in lane 5 to Clark’s 6. An aggressive backstretch helped Steiner make up the stagger just past the top of the last turn. That gave her a lead on the stretch, and even though Clark ate into that lead, at the finish it was Steiner tying Gabby Thomas’s CR of 22.38 with Clark finishing in a PR 22.45 for =No. 7 among collegians all-time.

The winner said she learned from the SEC, where a fast heat had her trying to break the CR in the final and falling short at 22.50: “I was more focused on time after running 22.41 in the prelims. When you start pressing for time, that’s when your race plan starts to get away from you.

“Obviously we’re at NCAAs, so winning that title is going to come with a fast time regardless. It was mostly about executing my race, the way me and my coach have been doing all year and just staying calm and confident and taking it one race at a time.”

As for sharing the record with Harvard’s Thomas, said Steiner, “I remember watching her run that. Now I get to see my name next to hers.” /Jeff Hollobaugh/


FINAL (March 13; 2-section time final)

1. *Abby Steiner (Ky);

2. Tamara Clark (Al);

3. *Kynnedy Flannel (Tx);

4. TeeTee Terry (USC);

5. Anavia Battle (OhSt);

6. ***Favour Ofili’ (LSU-Ngr);

7. *Delecia McDuffie (NCAT);

8. *Amira Young (Mn).

Sections: I–1. Flannel 22.64; 2. Terry 22.75 PR; 3. Battle 22.76; 4. Ofili’ 22.96.

II–1. *Steiner 22.38 =CR (=CR Gabby Thomas [Harv] ’18) (WL, AL, CL) (=5, =14 W; =2, =2 A);

2. Clark 22.45 PR (=7, =8 A; =7, =8 C; =6, =7 AmC);

3. McDuffie 23.01; 4. Young 23.47.

HEATS (March 12)

I–1. Steiner 22.62; 2. Battle 22.90; 3. McDuffie 22.94 PR; 4. *Trishauna Hemmings’ (Clem-Jam) 23.59. II–1. Flannel 22.93; 2. ***Kevona Davis’ (Tx-Jam) 23.22; 3. ***Jayla Hollis (Ar) 23.65; 4. **Dajour Miles (Ky) 23.76. III–1. Clark 22.77; 2. Jada Baylark (Ar) 23.27; 3. *Jania Martin (TxAM) 23.52;… dq—***Laila Owens (TxAM). IV–1. Terry 22.96 PR; 2. Young 23.16 PR; 3. Ofili’ 23.18; 4. **Arria Minor (Bay) 23.70.

Oregon’s Kemba Nelson shocked with an unlooked-for Collegiate Record in the 60. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

400 Meters: Kaelin Roberts (USC)

With just the seventh-fastest seasonal best (51.96) coming in to the meet, USC senior Kaelin Roberts showed how crucial location-location-location is for the 2-lapper and successfully defended her title from ’19.

Florida frosh Talitha Diggs set the bar easily winning the first heat of the 2-section final in 51.26, 0.12 off the PR with which she won the SEC. That left Texas A&M’s super-frosh Athing Mu, the season leader at 50.52, a clear time target to hit as she started section 2 in favorable lane 5.

But Roberts determined she would make it a battle despite her disadvantageous corridor 3 start position.

Diggs had blasted from lane 6 on her first lap in 23.80 in a tussle for the pole with Rosey Effiong of Arkansas (23.88). In the second section, long-striding Mu blasted too. But Roberts essayed a furious first backstretch and second curve to hit 200 in 23.70 half a step ahead of Mu.

When the Aggie pulled into lane 2 on the next-to-last bend and tried to pass, Roberts yielded nothing. Mu on the outside and Roberts on the rail entered the last turn nearly side by side, the effort written on their faces.

Mu had to yield and tucked behind. From a one-step lead coming into the stretch, the Trojan repelled Mu’s chase from behind and won by a yard, 50.84–51.03.

Mu’s soph teammate Charokee Young finished 3rd in 51.41 but Diggs’s time held up for the bronze spot.

“Basically my race was just running more strategic and not just running,” said Roberts, who won the last time with a 51.50 PR off a 24.53 first lap. “So actually having a plan and sticking to it versus just going to the track and blanking out.” /Sieg Lindstrom/


FINAL (March 13)

1. Kaelin Roberts (USC);

2. ***Athing Mu (TxAM);

3. ***Talitha Diggs (Fl);

4. **Charokee Young’ (TxAM-Jam);

5. **Amber Anning’ (LSU-GB);

6. *Tiana Wilson (Ar);

7. **Rosey Effiong (Ar);

8. *Kennedy Simon (Tx).

Sections: I–1. Diggs 51.26 (23.80/27.46); 2. Wilson 52.02 PR (24.13/27.89); 3. Effiong 52.50 (23.88/28.62); 4. Simon 52.69 (24.30/28.39).

II–1. Roberts 50.84 PR (23.70/27.14); 2. Mu 51.03 (23.75/27.28); 3. Young’ 51.41 PR (24.61/26.80); 4. Anning’ 51.83 PR (24.42/27.41).

HEATS (March 12)

I–1. Roberts 52.27; 2. Wilson 52.34 PR; 3. *Paris Peoples (Ar) 52.78; 4. *Stacey Ann Williams’ (Tx-Jam) 54.95. II–1. Diggs 51.91; 2. Anning’ 52.03 PR; 3. *Bailey Lear (USC) 52.37; 4. Honour Finley (Ks) 53.34. III–1. Mu 51.02; 2. Young’ 51.64 PR; 3. Effiong 51.82 PR; 4. Simon 52.14. IV–1. Taylor Manson (Fl) 52.61; 2. Nicole Yeargin’ (USC-GB) 52.81; 3. **Megan Moss’ (Ky-Bah) 53.31; 4. Morgan Burks Magee (Ar) 53.43.

800 Meters: Aaliyah Miller (Baylor)

With no returners from the ’19 final after the lost ’20 edition of the meet, surprises were expected. Aaliyah Miller opted to make the surprise her own and she did it the hard way.

The Baylor senior took the race by the scruff of the neck and led by 8m from Arkansas’s Shafiquah Maloney when she passed the 400 in 56.90. Miller looked relaxed and crisp even as she reached 600 in 1:27.49, now with a margin of nearly 15m from Clemson senior Laurie Barton, who had Maloney a stride behind.

The two lead chasers set out to hunt down the leader over the final circuit but simply never got her as Miller crossed in a superlatively surprising 2:00.69. Her time was not only a huge improvement on her 2:02.41 PR run outdoors in ’18 but also half a second faster than Raevyn Rogers’s meet record set in ’17.

A late rush by Maloney brought her close to 2nd — oh, so close as Barton prevailed 2:01.21–2:01.22. Each also notched a PR as Miller and Barton moved to =Nos. 2 and No. 7 on the all-time collegiate list. In 3rd, Maloney (2:01.22) claimed the No. 8 spot ever.

Miller had never before reached an NCAA final, coming closest twice outdoors in the semis of ’18 and ’19. “The race plan that I had was definitely to take it from the gun, run a fast pace and see if I could hold on and win,” she said. “It means everything. Through injuries, through tough seasons, through not having everything together, I knew what I needed to do to get back to the top.

“I mean I’ve raced fast times. Just when it came to Nationals, I didn’t have the strength or the endurance enough to put it all together.

“But I knew coming in that I had the mentality, the speed, the strength that I needed to get through the rounds and then to put down a fast time and come out with the championship.” /Sieg Lindstrom/


FINAL (March 13)

1. Aaliyah Miller (Bay) 2:00.69 PR (=2, =2 C; 2, 2 mC)

(27.69, 29.21 [56.90], 30.59 [1:27.49], 33.20) (56.90/63.79);

2. Laurie Barton (Clem) 2:01.21 PR (7, 9 C; 6, 8 AmC)

(28.65, 29.90 [58.55], 30.93 [1:29.48], 31.73) (58.55/62.66);

3. Shafiqua Maloney’ (Ar-StV) 2:01.22 PR (8, 10 C)

(27.97, 30.01 [57.98], 31.84 [1:29.82], 31.40) (57.98/63.24);

4. **Lindsey Butler (VaT) 2:02.15

(28.87, 30.31 [59.18], 30.96 [1:30.14], 32.01) (59.18/62.97);

5. *Claire Seymour (BYU) 2:02.25

(28.35, 29.96 [58.31], 31.93 [1:30.24], 32.01) (58.31/63.94);

6. **Gabrielle Wilkinson (Fl) 2:03.32

(28.81, 30.62 [59.43], 32.24 [1:31.67], 31.65) (59.43/63.89);

7. McKenna Keegan (Vill) 2:04.26 PR

(29.06, 30.49 [59.55], 32.24 [1:31.79], 32.47) (59.55/64.71);

8. *Sarah Hendrick (KennSt) 2:04.36

(28.94, 30.82 [59.76], 32.25 [1:32.01], 32.35) (59.76/64.60).

HEATS (March 12)

I–1. Wilkinson 2:04.59; 2. Butler 2:04.61; 3. Miller 2:04.61; 4. Hendrick 2:04.69; 5. Leigha Torino (Duke) 2:05.74; 6. **Aleeya Hutchins (WF) 2:08.44; 7. Kayla Johnson (Mia) 2:09.57;… dnf—Kennedy Thomson (Ar). II–1. Seymour 2:03.97; 2. Barton 2:04.07; 3. Maloney2:04.50; 4. Keegan 2:04.56 PR; 5. Brooke Fazio (Rich) 2:07.62; 6. Mallory King (Ia) 2:07.74; 7. ***Victoria Vanriele (PennSt) 2:07.95; 8. Andrea Foster’ (Clem-Guy) 2:13.44.

Mile: Sage Hurta (Colorado)

Racing in her first-ever NCAA track final, Colorado senior Sage Hurta made the most of it, kicking away to a decisive victory with a 4:30.58 PR as an Arkansas pair scored 14 crucial team points in 2nd and 3rd.

With three Razorbacks in the race, Canadian senior Kennedy Thomson took up the pacing chores as SEC champ Krissy Gear waited back in the pack. With Hurta — the season leader with an oversized-track 4:31.80 — near the front throughout, Thomson led through 2+ laps (409m) in 69.58 and 4+ in 2:20.24 doing little to deconstruct the tightly grouped field.

After the K, Gear moved up to 4th with Thomson, Oregon’s Aneta Konieczek and Hurta ahead. When 3 laps remained, Hurta rolled up front around the next bend to lead by a meter from Gear and Thomson with 400 left (3:27.39). With a 32.07 penultimate go-around the Colorado grad student built her lead over Gear to 5m at the bell and then shifted for a last lap in 31.12 that brought her home some 10m ahead of Gear (4:32.37).

Thomson’s 4:33.95 for 3rd was a PR as 4 of the top 5 got career bests.

Said Hurta — whose last 400 and 800 took 63.14 and 2:11.04 — “Yesterday in the prelims there was traffic and it bent me out of shape a little bit so I went in today saying, ‘OK, there’s going to be some pushing and shoving over the first half and I just want to be calm.’ I just wanted to make sure I was good to go over the second half — somewhere between 800 and 300m to go to make a decisive move and don’t look back.”

The winner began her college career with a 40th-place finish at the NCAA XC back in the fall of ’16 and placed 38th in the autumn of ’19, her last race before an injury-plagued ’20 and just two ’21 competitions before this championships. /Sieg Lindstrom/


FINAL (March 13)

1. Sage Hurta (Co) 4:30.58 PR

(pace—34.75, 35.22 [69.97], 34.53 [1:44.50], 35.04 [2:19.54], 34.42 [2:53.96], 33.43 [3:27.39], 32.07 [3:59.46], 31.12)

(finish—31.12, 63.19, 2:11.04);

2. Krissy Gear (Ar) 4:32.37

(32.24, 64.37, 2:12.23);

3. Kennedy Thomson’ (Ar-Can) 4:33.95 PR

(32.65, 65.98, 2:14.71);

4. *Kaley Richards (MaL) 4:36.26 PR

(32.57, 66.82, 2:16.02);

5. **Allie Guagenti (OhSt) 4:36.71 PR

(32.52, 66.60, 2:16.12);

6. Kate Hunter (BYU) 4:37.65

(33.69, 68.03, 2:17.80);

7. *Aneta Konieczek’ (Or-Pol) 4:38.46

(35.06, 70.21, 2:19.18);

8. Katie Rainsberger (Wa) 4:39.67

(34.43, 70.03, 2:19.78);

9. *Gracie Hyde (Ar) 4:44.40

(36.99, 73.69, 2:24.83);

10. *Heather Hanson (BYU) 4:48.97

(39.45, 77.01, 2:28.40).

HEATS (March 12)

I–1. Gear 4:40.92; 2. Rainsberger 4:41.61; 3. Hanson 4:41.74; 4. Hunter 4:41.78; 5. Ellie Leather (Cinc) 4:41.83 PR; 6. ***Tori Herman (Ky) 4:42.09; 7. Lotte Black (RI) 4:42.92; 8. *Imogen Barrett’ (Fl-Aus) 4:47.49. II–1. Hurta 4:37.04; 2. Richards 4:37.72 PR; 3. Konieczek’ 4:38.59; 4. Guagenti 4:38.73 PR; 5. Thomson’ 4:38.88 PR; 6. Hyde 4:39.04; 7. **Isabel Van Camp (Ar) 4:39.29; 8. ***Simone Plourde’ (BYU-Can) 4:45.99.

Abby Steiner of Kentucky claimed the Collegiate Record in the 200. (ERROL ANDERSON/THE SPORTING IMAGE)

3000 Meters: Courtney Wayment (BYU)

By the time the final women’s distance race of the Championships rolled around, the pattern had been set: contestants with no prior NCAA track finals experience were having breakthrough days. For that pattern to hold, Auburn’s Joyce Kimeli, 5000 titlist, and BYU’s Courtney Wayment, anchor leg on the victorious DMR squad, both the night before, could not be looked upon as likely double winners.

Cougar senior Wayment wasn’t having it, even though junior Kimeli started as favorite. In another thread of the storyline, Arkansas runners coveted points for their team’s tally.

So it was that after early leadership at a tactical tempo by Razorback junior Lauren Gregory, Kimeli led past 1600 (4:52.57) with Gregory and Wayment next and the field thoroughly intact.

As the cautious measure continued even with just 2½ circuits left, the tight bunching of the pack contributed to a trip and fall for 5000 bronze medalist Elly Henes of NC State, who was running about 5th when she tumbled.

Wayment, running abreast of Kimeli on the outside for the next half-lap, decided with 400 left it was time to go. As Wayment cranked it up and Kimeli fell behind, Gregory pursued the leader. Wayment reached the bell in the front by just under a meter. Gregory drove hard, nearly drew even in the last homestretch, but trailed Wayment by a couple of feet at the end.

Wayment wrapped her collegiate indoor career with a 31.19 last lap and 64.22 final 400 to stop the clock at 9:01.47. Gregory timed 9:02.67 with Kimeli 3rd at 9:02.79 and another Razorback, senior Katie Izzo, clear in 4th at 9:03.85.

“Golly, thank you so much,” Wayment told journalists afterwards. “I really don’t know what to say. It’s just been a really fun weekend.” It was a weekend that made her the sixth woman to claim an NCAA 3K/DMR double after Shalane Flanagan, Lauryn Fleshman, Dominique Scott, Dani Jones and Jessica Hull.

“You know, those are women that we look up to as collegiate athletes,” Wayment said. “I remember even before going into this week we watched a lot of those women’s races just to see how they did it and what their racing style was like. And it’s truly an honor to just be here and be competitive and have my name surrounded in some kind of circle with theirs. It’s a really cool thing.” /Sieg Lindstrom/


(March 13)

1. Courtney Wayment (BYU) 9:01.47

(36.58, 38.46 [1:15.04], 37.15 [1:52.19], 36.77 [2:28.96], 37.32 [3:06.28], 35.91 [3:42.19], 35.29 [4:17.48], 35.41 [4:52.89], 37.41 [5:30.30], 37.84 [6:08.14], 37.30 [6:45.44], 36.34 [7:21.78], 35.47 [7:57.25], 33.03 [8:30.28], 31.19)

(31.19, 64.22, 2:16.03);

2. *Lauren Gregory (Ar) 9:01.67

(31.16, 64.24, 2:16.06);

3. *Joyce Kimeli’ (Aub-Ken) 9:02.79

(31.86, 65.52, 2:17.36);

4. Katie Izzo (Ar) 9:03.85

(32.58, 66.33, 2:17.93);

5. Abby Gray (Ar) 9:05.52 PR

(34.04, 67.89, 2:19.31);

6. Jessica Drop (Ga) 9:05.98

(34.30, 68.25, 2:19.87);

7. Olivia Hoj (BYU) 9:06.77

(34.54, 68.81, 2:20.79);

8. *Maudie Skyring’ (FlSt-Aus) 9:09.05

(33.64, 69.31, 2:22.73);

9. Logan Morris (Ar) 9:10.40

(34.69, 69.22, 2:23.44);

10. Jennie Baragar-Petrash (NDSt) 9:10.51 PR

(32.44, 67.93, 2:22.70);

11. ***Alyson Churchill (FlSt) 9:14.91

(37.16, 74.61, 2:28.35);

12. Elly Henes (NCSt) 9:19.29

(39.19, 76.53, 2:33.52);

13. **Olivia Markezich (NDm) 9:21.74

(37.30, 76.24, 2:34.15);

14. Hannah Brookover (WF) 9:28.70

(41.51, 83.41, 2:41.80);

15. Allie Schadler (Wa) 9:29.83

(42.17, 84.16, 2:44.07).

60 Hurdles: Ackera Nugent (Baylor)

The straightaway produced another upset when Baylor frosh Ackera Nugent upended her Big 12 conqueror Chanel Brissett of Texas to win the hurdles in 7.92. That just missed the 7.91 World Junior (U20) Record the Jamaican had tied in the heats of the Big 12 meet.

Objectively, no one ran like a strong favorite in the heats. Brissett led the first at 8.04 and Arkansas soph Daszay Freeman the second at 8.05. Behind Freeman came LSU’s Milan Young and Nugent, both at 8.06. Florida’s Grace Stark, the No. 3 seed who missed the SEC because of injury, struggled to an 8.51 and did not qualify.

The final got out fairly evenly, with Brissett appearing to get the best start. However, by halfway Nugent (4.46), running from lane 2, had accelerated to an 0.04 lead over Freeman with Brissett in 3rd another 0.02 behind. At the finish, Nugent’s 7.92 put her 0.07 ahead of Freeman (a PR 7.99). Brissett and Miami’s Tiara McMinn both crossed in 8.01, the Texan ahead by 0.005.

“Going into my race I was a bit nervous,” admitted the 18-year-old Nugent, who said that humility has been key to bouncing back from her Big 12 loss. “What I’ve learned is that no matter how good you are, there’s somebody out there who’s equally good as you. You have to keep your composure and keep moving and either if you win or you fail, you just got to pick yourself up and keep going.” /Jeff Hollobaugh/


FINAL (March 13)

1. ***Ackera Nugent’ (Bay-Jam) 7.92 (x, =2 WJ) (4.46/3.46);

2. **Daszay Freeman’ (Ar-Jam) 7.99 PR (4.50/3.49);

3. Chanel Brissett (Tx) 8.01 (8.004) (4.52/3.49);

4. Tiara McMinn (Mia) 8.01 (8.009) (4.53/3.48);

5. Milan Young (LSU) 8.06 (4.59/3.47);

6. Mecca McGlaston (USC) 8.07 (4.58/3.49);

7. *Emily Sloan (Or) 8.08 (4.56/3.52);

8. *Trishauna Hemmings’ (Clem-Jam) 8.16 (4.62/3.54).

HEATS (March 12)

I–1. Brissett 8.04; 2. Sloan 8.09; 3. Hemmings’ 8.09; 4. McMinn 8.13; 5. McGlaston 8.16; 6. Destinee Rocker (SC) 8.17; 7. Erin Marsh (Duke) 8.24;… dnf—***Jasmine Jones (USC). II–1. Freeman’ 8.05 PR; 2. Young 8.06; 3. Nugent’ 8.06; 4. *Imani Carothers (Ga) 8.19; 5. ***Emelia Chatfield (Tx) 8.20; 6. *Vitoria Alves’ (KsSt-Bra) 8.35; 7. **Grace Stark (Fl) 8.51; 8. *Masai Russell (Ky) 9.23.

4 x 400 Relay: Texas A&M

Showing that its Collegiate Record 3:26.27 a month ago was not a one-off, Texas A&M produced a meet record 3:26.68, and anchor Athing Mu proved that she can bounce back from a rough race.

The action started in the first section with what at times looked like a Texas runaway. The Longhorns topped UCLA with a 3:33.85. The Bruins were barely in the mix until a storming 51.01 anchor by Shea Anderson brought them back from a nearly 5-second deficit in last to a 3:35.23.

In section 2, Florida produced a great first half in Taylor Manson (51.91) and Talitha Diggs (51.87), but on the anchor LSU’s Amber Anning produced a 51.46 that reeled in the Gators for a 3:29.69–3:30.58 win.

The final section delivered thrills galore, with USC’s Bailey Leer grabbing the pole and holding on for the first leg in 52.75. After a 53.16 opener Texas A&M came back into the lead with Charokee Young’s 50.97 on leg 2.

On the penultimate leg, USC’s Nicole Yeargin fought back into the lead with a 52.08, delivering an 0.39 margin to the winner of the individual 400, Kaelin Roberts. Anyone expecting a replay of that 400 an hour earlier — Roberts holding off Aggie Athing Mu — did not realize that Mu was writing a different ending to the history of her first NCAA meet.

Roberts, running scared, led through the first two turns, but on the homestretch Mu accelerated swiftly past her. Throughout the final lap, the prize frosh ate up the track with a monstrous stride like no one else had before. Her split, a jaw-dropping 49.54, is the fastest in history and gave the Aggies the No.2 collegiate time ever.

Roberts’ split of 51.17 saved USC the runner-up spot in 3:27.91, while Arkansas’s school record 3:28.07 was capped by a 50.83 anchor from Shafiqua Maloney. /Jeff Hollobaugh/


(March 13; 3-section time final)

1. Texas A&M;

2. USC;

3. Arkansas;

4. LSU;

5. Kentucky;

6. Florida;

7. South Carolina;

8. Baylor;

9. Texas;

10. UCLA;

11. Minnesota;

12. Tennessee.


I–1. Texas 3:33.85

(Adeleke 54.52, Simon 52.51, Williams’ 52.28, Patterson’ 54.54);

2. UCLA 3:35.23

(Leger 55.03, Okoro 56.54, Pierre-Webster 52.65, Anderson 51.01);

3. Minnesota 3:35.70

(Campbell 54.67, Schaffe 53.97, Larson 53.22, Josephs’ 53.84);

4. Tennessee 3:36.60

(Weil’ 55.17, Watson 53.89, Wilson 53.44, Chambers 54.10).

II–1. LSU 3:29.69

(Mason 53.40, Ofili’ 51.91, Young 52.92, Anning’ 51.46);

2. Florida 3:30.58

(Manson 51.91, Diggs 51.86, Lester 52.95, Anderson’ 53.86);

3. South Carolina 3:32.67

(Omovoh’ 53.89, Glenn 52.65, Lindley 52.78, Davis 53.35);

4. Baylor 3:33.27

(Francis’ 53.09, Minor 52.35, Miller 53.75, Williams 54.08).

III–1. Texas A&M 3:26.68 (2 C)

(Jania Martin 53.16, Charokee Young’ 50.97, Tierra Robinson-Jones 53.01, Athing Mu 49.54 [fastest split in indoor history);

2. USC 3:27.91 (10 C)

(Bailey Lear 52.75, Jan’Taijah Ford 51.92, Nicole Yeargin’ 52.08, Kaelin Roberts 51.16);

3. Arkansas 3:28.07 (#5 school)

(Paris Peoples 52.83, Morgan Burks Magee 52.17, Tiana Wilson 52.24, Shafiqua Maloney’ 50.83);

4. Kentucky 3:30.28

(Moss’ 53.29, Steiner 51.74, Russell 52.99, Miles 52.26).

Triple Jump: Ruth Usoro (Texas Tech)

Despite never holding the lead until her final jump, Ruth Usoro had an underlying confidence in her ability to win. Entered with a PR 47-1½ (14.36), the top-seeded Texas Tech senior had experienced problems throughout the first four rounds, as she explained: “The first jump, I didn’t jump. Then I got to the board on the wrong leg [a second-round 44-5½/13.55], then I fouled [twice].”

The first four seeds in the meet took the first four places, but the seemingly formful event was anything but smooth for the contenders.

In the first round, Florida State’s Latvian frosh Rūta Lasmane fouled as the first jumper in the order, followed immediately by Texas A&M senior Deborah Acquah, who produce a 45-4¼ (13.82). Usoro fouled, as did Georgia soph Jasmine Moore.

Acquah held the lead as round 2 began. Lasmane hit the board well, moving to the lead with a 45-6¼ (13.87) effort, but that was quickly tossed aside by Acquah, who stunned the field with a 46-10 (14.27), improving her PR by exactly a half-meter and making her the No. 3 collegian ever indoors.

Usoro got off an ungainly 44-5½ (13.55), moving her to 4th, and while she did not appear in jeopardy of forfeiting the last three rounds, she didn’t appear ready to combat Acquah. Moore was in greater jeopardy, reaching only 42-11½ (13.09) on her first fair jump and putting her 10th, one place away from reaching the final rounds.

Lasmane did not improve as she opened round 3, and Acquah chose to pass, sitting on her big lead. Usoro fouled again, but Moore pulled out a clutch jump, reaching 45-½ (13.73) to move to 3rd and leaving Usoro 5th as the remaining jumpers were reordered. Usoro was first to jump among the leaders, and she fouled a third time, but still held 5th throughout the round. Moore passed, and Lasmane improved her runner-up position with a PR 46-4 (14.12) that made her =No. 7 collegian ever.

Acquah passed again, but watched Usoro finally produce a threatening jump of 46-7½ (14.21) in round 5. Moore and Lasmane fouled, and Acquah passed, leaving everything to the final round.

After the early jumpers settled their scoring positions, with Lasmane improving her PR to 46-5¼ (14.15), Usoro hit the board well, then watched the reader board to see 46-10 (14.27) pop up, tieing her for the best mark but putting her in the lead ahead of Acquah based on second-best marks. Acquah couldn’t respond, her 45-1¾ (13.76) leaving her 45cm short of what she needed to regain the lead.

Usoro later told the media Zoomers, “I knew something was going to happen on the last jump; I didn’t relax, I just fought through to the end.” /Dave Johnson/


(March 13)

1. Ruth Usoro’ (TxT-Ngr) 46-10 (14.27) (x, =10 C)

(f, 44-5½, f, f, 46-7½, 46-10) (f, 13.55, f, f, 14.21, 14.27);

2. Deborah Acquah’ (TxAM-Gha) 46-10 (14.27) PR (3, =10 C; in/out: 4, x C)

(45-4¼, 46-10, p, p, p, 45-1¾) (13.82, 14.27, p, p, p, 13.76);

3. ***Rūta Lasmane’ (FlSt-Lat) 46-5¼ (14.15) PR (7, x C)

(f, 45-6¼, 44-5½, 46-4 PR [=7, x C], f, 46-5¼) (f, 13.87, 13.55, 14.12, f, 14.15);

4. **Jasmine Moore (Ga) 45-½ (13.73)

(f, 42-11½, 45-½, f, f, 43-8½) (f, 13.09, 13.73, f, f, 13.32);

5. *Charisma Taylor’ (WaSt-Can) 44-8 (13.61) PR

(44-8, f, 44-8, f, 43-3¾, 42-11) (13.61, f, 13.61, f, 13.20, 13.08);

6. Natricia Hooper’ (Fl-Guy) 44-4¾ (13.53);

7. **Mikeisha Welcome’ (Ok-Can) 43-9¾ (13.35);

8. **Euphenie Andre (Mo) 43-8 (13.31) PR;

9. Alonie Sutton (FlSt) 43-7¼ (13.29);

10. *Chantoba Bright’ (KsSt-Guy) 43-6 (13.26);

11. Essence Thomas (Ok) 43-6 (13.26);

12. ***Rhianna Phipps’ (KsSt-Jam) 43-3 (13.18);

13. *Titiana Marsh (Ga) 43-1½ (13.14);

14. **Dominique Ruotolo (Or) 42-8¾ (13.02);

15. *Arianna Fisher (Mo) 42-6 (12.95);

16. Kala Penn’ (Fl-BVI) 41-1½ (12.53). □