Maybe, Just Maybe, Coming Soon: The WCAA Championships, by Elliott Denman


I asked Elliott Denman to cover the Armory Track Invite for RunBlogRun. From that meet, came this column for a new and updated approach to a unique team competition.

Hunter_Drew1e-Armory16.JPGDrew Hunter, photo by


Bring on the WCAA's !!
No, no, no, not the Wisconsin, Washington, or Wyoming Collegiate Athletic Association Championships.
No, no, no, not the Western California/Colorado/Connecticut AA title meet.
No, no, no, think much bigger than that.
Much-much-much bigger.
To the World Collegiate Athletic Association Championships.
The concept raced into mind seeing an array of World Collegians cavorting around New York's New Balance Armory Track and Field Center two weekends ago. (And,yes-yes-yes, seeing squads of
global undergrads competing at the Penn Relays each spring.)
"Oui-oui-oui-oui," Monsieur Guillon Phillipon was surely agreeing from the
Armory sidelines.
Phillipon, a distance runner himself, had done all the hard work, all the fund-raising, all the behind-the-scene efforts that brought delegations from the University of Poitiers and the University of Rennes (France, of course) to the 16th edition of the Armory Track Invitational Meet to the classic Washington Heights venue last weekend.
Googling, I learned that "Fondée en 1431, l'Université de Poitiers est l'une des plus anciennes Universités d'Europe. Elle forme chaque année plus de 24 000 étudiants."
Sacre bleu, that makes this U de P no less than 205 years older than Harvard.
Mind you, l'Universite de Rennes is a lot, lot younger than its Poitiers counterpart. Its doors first opened in 1461.
Whatever their schools' status in antiquity, their young men and women
displayed plenty of youthful exuberance at the Armory.
Thibault Ramothe of Rennes and Maxime DeLaitre of Poitiers snared the 2-7 spots in the men's triple jump. Alexandre Folacci of Poitiers claimed seventh in the men's high jump. Poitiers' Mathilde Lagarde netted a fourth in the women's long jump.
Solene Gicquel of Rennes tied for fifth in the women's high jump.
They teamed up to form Tricolor national teams and gave France a third in the women's 4x200 relay and a sixth in the men's 4x200.
The meet showcased the top talents of at least a dozen other nations in its Open and Collegiate divisions and the collegians of our northern neighbors did themselves quite proud, too.
McGill, Toronto, Western Ontario, Ottawa, York, Sherbrooke and Saskatchewan University athletes were in top form. Clearly, there's a lot more than ice hockey going on up there this time of the year.
Toronto's Gabriela Stafford ran off with the women's mile title in 4:29.07; teammate Madeleine Kelly took the women's 1000 in 2:45.95 and added a fifth in the 800. Torontonian Honor Walmsley netted a sixth in the 1000.
Topping out at 15-9, York's Samuel Adams won the men's collegiate pole vault; the invitation section of the event saw Sherbrooke's David Foley and McGill's Riley van Ryswyk place 3-6.
One more Toronto standout was Sacha Scott, who claimed a close second in the 1000 (back of Mississippi State's redoubtable Brandon McBride), and a another second place in the 800.
York's Bismark Boateng nearly dashed to the men's 60 title, settling for second just 6/100ths back of South Carolina's David Winters.
Ottawa's Michael Robertson placed fifth in the men's 5000 meters; his Capitol City teammate, Segun Makinde dashed home third in the men's 200.
McGill's Jullien Flynn ran sixth in the women 's 3000.
Teammate Francois Jarry added a sixth in the men's 5000.
Western Ontario's Spear-Chief Morris netted a seventh in the women's 60.
Ottawa's Charlotte Gardner took fifth in the women's 500.

In the women's long jump, it was York's Holly Pitters second, trailing only Teddi Maslowski of Duke.
York, McGill and Sherbrooke teams took the 6-8-9 places in the men's 4x200 relay. York added a fourth in the men's 4x800 and McGill a fifth in the men's 4x400. York, Sherbrooke and McGill went 9-10-11 in the women's 4x200.
The ties to France and Canada ran specially deep.
French collegians have been coming to the meet for a dozen years and originally they were from the U. of Orleans team.
Back in 2009, the French delegation included a promising young pole vaulter from Clermont-Ferrand. His name happened to be Renaud LaVillenie and he soared to a still-standing meet record of 18-8 1/2. Today, of course, LaVillenie is the highest-flying athlete on the planet.
The 2015 edition of this meet saw a young Canadian vaulter out of the University of Akron descend on the Armory and raise the facility PV record to 19 feet and a quarter-inch. He did it, however, in the Open Division so LaVillenie holds onto his collegiate category mark.
Today, of course, Barber is the reigning World Outdoor champion.
To be sure, there have been World University Games - or World Student Games - or Universiade events - going on for years and years.
The "Confederation Internationale des Etudiants" (CIE) began staging championship meets as far back as 1923. The International University Sports Federation (FISU) took the reins in 1949 and has been running this show ever since.
But their event is a whole lot different than our current vision of the WCAA's, in which athletes would compete for their schools and not their nations.
An outdoor WCAA's would be just great, and so would an indoor version.
Fact is, the organizational plan is already in place.
It's been formulated by the Armory's Jack Pfeifer (the Armory Track Invitational guiding light ever since its start in 2001) along with Armory president Dr. Norb Sander and the very good people of The Armory Foundation.
Let's go Poitiers, let's go Rennes, let's go Toronto, let's go McGill, let's go Sherbrooke, let's South Carolina, let's go Mississippi State, let's go Ohio State, let's go Miami, On Wisconsin.
On to the WCAA's.
Maybe, just maybe, sometime soon.

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