Our gleeful anticipation of a plethora of records this weekend in Eugene takes a bit of a hit—particulaly on the women’s side—with the latest weather report. As of Wednesday morning it’s showing a 75% chance of rain on Friday night (perhaps impacting the men) and an 80% chance on Saturday (almost certainly hitting the women) with highs on the final day perhaps dipping as low as the high 50s. Jacket weather, in other words, for spectators, and honestly not the most conducive conditions for the speed events.
Yet hope springs eternal, and with that we bring you our list of events to watch for records on the women’s side. And while we’re optimistically looking at a lot of events for records, realistically, we know we’ll be thrilled to get 2 or 3. Our unwillingness to count out CRs in many of the events is couched in our experience of being shocked so often in the past by the incredible performances that have been forged in the crucible of NCAA competition.
1. The 400H: We Know, You’re Shocked, Shocked That We’d Start With Syd
As we mentioned before, there is a logjam at the top of the all-time list for the 400 hurdles. It is an event that is waiting for its outlier, and her name is Sydney McLaughlin. Never before have we seen a talent like her, and—weather permitting (just keep adding those words to everything in this article)—we have every reason to expect that she will go faster than her 52.75 from the SEC that set a World Junior Record as well as the CR.
Her next targets aren’t unthinkably faster: Lashinda Demus’s American Record of 52.47 (from Daegu ’11) and Yulia Pechonkina’s ’03 World Record of 52.34. McLaughlin, according to a Kentucky release, might be carrying extra motivation: “This weekend, in all likelihood, will be McLaughlin’s last as a collegian. She wants to make it count.”
For her part, the super-frosh is simply focused on the running: “Great track, great atmosphere. Lots of people in the stands. Just a great place to run. I think NCAA nationals will be a great one to add to the list. I’m just excited to be back there.”
2. The 100H: Yes, Virginia, There Are Other Hurdles
As dominating as McLaughlin has been this spring, we can’t talk about potential records without also focusing on her teammate, junior Jasmine Camacho-Quinn. She missed the CR by just 0.01 with her 12.40 SEC victory in a race that both coach and athlete found wanting. Said the Puerto Rican Olympian, “The reaction was good, but instead of going forward, I popped straight up. I still ran a 12.4, but I feel like I can work on my start and run even better.”
3. The 4×1: LSU Chasing Itself
The Bayou Bengals already done it once this season, breaking the CR with a 42.05 SEC winner, and also own 6 of the 8 fastest times of the season. Can the Tigers do it again in cooler weather? With a loaded foursome including 100 favorite Aleia Hobbs (10.85 PR), Mikiah Brisco (10.96), Kortnei Johnson (10.97w/11.12) and Rachel Misher (11.21), Coach Dennis Shaver has all the quality and depth he needs to be thinking about going 41-point in perfect conditions. The competition should be there to push, as reports from Lexington have Sydney McLaughlin (11.07w) joining the Kentucky foursome that ran 42.30 behind LSU at Conference. And don’t forget Oregon, which has clocked 42.70 this year. The Ducks know something about running in the cold damp.
4. The Triple Jump: Orji Not Done Bouncing Quite Yet
Keturah Orji wants to end her collegiate career with a big one. At the SEC meet, the Georgia senior produced a CR 47-11¾ (14.62), motivated to try to regain the American Record that upstart Tori Franklin broke the day before with her 48-8¼ (14.84). In Eugene, the first order of business will be her trying to become the event’s first-ever 4-time winner. To do that, of course, she will be launching her best jumps. With the top 6 collegiate leaps in history already on her résumé, can she go even farther? We think she can.
So does coach Petros Kyprianou: “There is track magic there and we have felt it every year. I feel good about where we are.”
5. The 100: Hobbs Has 2 CRs To Chase In 1 Race
A warmer meet would give us much more confidence on Aleia Hobb’s chances to improve on her low-altitude CR of 10.85 and even challenge the 10.78 that LSU’s Dawn Sowell set in the altitude of Provo way back in ’89. All the same, Hobbs is a ferocious competitor and she is clearly in good condition. The 10.90 she ran to win the East Regional is a yearly U.S. leader. With San Diego’s Ashley Henderson, Tennessee’s Shania Collins and USC’s Twanisha Terry all under 11 as well the race might indeed be competitive enough to bring out some fast times. Factor in 200 star Gabby Thomas of Harvard (10.99w) as another top challenger just now beginning realize her potential in this event.
6. The Shot: On The Positive Side, Ewen Has A Lighter Workload
Deprived of her chance to go for a throws triple due to her hammer problems at the regional, Maggie Ewen may be more than motivated to send the shot out past her current CR. The Arizona State senior threw 63-10¼ (19.46) in late April. She says she’s disappointed in her hammer fate, but thinks there might be an upside for her other throws: “I really would have liked to defend (HT), but these things happen. I’m used to 3 events but going into shot fully ready to go probably will make a big difference. In discus, we’re just going to attack and have fun and where I end up is where I end up.”
7. The Hammer: Ewen Would Have Been Threatened
Even without Ewen competing, fans might want to keep a close eye on the hammer competition. Brooke Andersen’s best of 243-5 (74.20) is only 13 inches away from Ewen’s CR. And Eugene offers one of the most hammer-friendly venues there is. Says the Northern Arizona senior, “It’s going to be different because she won’t be there pushing me and I won’t be there pushing her, but it’s still the same task I have to do. First, get one in the sector, maybe not leave it to my third like regionals. Same task, same mindset as I would have if she was there. It’s definitely overwhelming but I just have to control my expectations for myself. No one else is putting more pressure on me than me at this point.”
8 & 9. The 5000 & 10,000: Schweizer Already Has Plenty Of Titles
A stretch to think we might see distance records? Not necessarily, in Eugene. Karissa Schweizer has become a formidable competitor when there are titles on the line (she has won the outdoor 5K, indoor 5K twice, indoor 3K and a XC crown).
The Missouri senior probably has the fitness level. The weather—especially in the 5K—may be perfect for her purposes. However, will there be anyone who can push her to run this fast? The absence of Michigan’s Erin Finn from the 10,000 takes away one surefire pacesetter from Thursday’s final. The CR of 31:18.07 was set by Iowa State’s Lisa Uhl in ’10. Schweizer has only run the event twice now, with a best of 32:00.55.
In the 5000 set for Saturday, she has an indoor best of 15:17.31. The CR is Jenny Simpson’s 15:01.70 from ’09. Several other 15:20-types in the field, including New Mexico’s Ednah Kurgat and Weini Kelati, as well as Stanford’s Vanessa Fraser, could help push the pace.
10. The 400: Ellis Has A Sub-50; On To The Next Target
Longhorn Courtney Okolo set her CR of 49.71 just two years ago. Now USC’s Kendall Ellis has joined her in the sub-50 club with a 49.99 at the Pac-12 meet. While Ellis might seem the obvious favorite, Lynna Irby (50.44) seems to have boundless upside. As well, Purdue’s Brionna Thomas (51.13), Florida’s Sharrika Barnett (50.69) and local favorite Makenzie Dunmore of Oregon (50.63) should be in the mix. One note of caution on Irby: she’s scheduled (assuming she makes both finals) to run the 200 some 35 minutes later. Might she hold back slightly?
11. The 4×4: What A Way To End The Meet!
Oregon set the CR of 3:23.13 here a year ago. And while the Ducks have lost key legs from that squad, they’ve run 3:29.94 this season. The competition is strong enough that the fight for the title could conceivably get near the record. USC won indoors at 3:27.45. Kentucky (3:25.99) and Florida (3:27.30) led the SEC. And Purdue clocked 3:26.71 at the NCAA East. If the competition can heat up more than the weather cools down, we might just see some incredible legs from the likes of Ellis, McLaughlin, Barnett, Camacho-Quinn, etc.
|Women’s Collegiate Records|
|Keep in mind that by T&FN’s longstanding definition (and one subsequently adopted by the USTFCCCA) Collegiate Records can only be set during the collegiate season, which ends as of the NCAA Championships. The all-time bests, in events contested at the Nationals (A = mark aided by altitude over 1000m):|
|100||10.78(A)||Dawn Sowell (LSU) ’89|
|(low-altitude)||10.85||Aleia Hobbs (LSU) ’17|
|200||22.02||Kyra Jefferson (Florida) ’17|
|400||49.71||Courtney Okolo (Texas) ’16|
|800||1:59.10||Raevyn Rogers (Oregon) ’17|
|1500||3:59.90||Jenny Simpson (Colorado) ’09|
|Steeple||9:24.41||Courtney Frerichs (New Mexico) ’16|
|5000||15:01.70i||Jenny Simpson (Colorado) ’09|
|10,000||31:18.07||Lisa Uhl (Iowa State) ’10|
|100H||12.39||Brianna Rollins (Clemson) ’13|
|400H||52.75||Sydney McLaughlin (Kentucky) ’18|
|4 x 100||42.05||LSU ’18|
|4 x 400||3:23.13||Oregon ’17|
|HJ||1.99 | 6-6¼||Brigetta Barrett (Arizona) ’13|
|PV||4.75 | 15-7(A)||Demi Payne (Stephen F. Austin) ’15|
|(low-altitude)||4.66 | 15-3½||Sandi Morris (Arkansas) ’15|
|LJ||6.99 | 22-11¼||Jackie Joyner (UCLA) ’85|
|TJ||14.62 | 47-11¾||Keturah Orji (Georgia) ’18|
|SP||19.46 | 63-10¼||Maggie Ewen (Arizona State) ’18|
|DT||67.48 | 221-5||Meg Ritchie’ (Arizona) ’81|
|HT||74.53 | 244-6||Maggie Ewen (Arizona State) ’18|
|JT||62.19 | 204-0||Maggie Malone (Texas A&M) ’16|
|Hept||6527||Diane Guthrie-Gresham’ (George Mason) ’95|