Here is Lindsay Rossmiller’s column on day 4 of the NCAA Champs! Obviously, the new format is a big success and the rest days between rounds and finals are meaning alot. Some fine performances, and if these young athletes can keep their fitness, they will be dangerous at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Courtney Frerichs and Keturah Orji Break Records on Final Day of NCAA Championships
By: Lindsay Rossmiller
EUGENE, Ore.- Records fell on the final day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships as the women finished their season.
The first to go was the Jenny (Barringer) Simpson’s 2009 collegiate steeplechase record. Courtney Frerichs never trailed as she won in 9 minutes, 24.41 seconds.
Frerichs was stoic throughout the race until the final ten meters when her whole face broke into a smile as she ran the final steps.
“I’ve never celebrated in my whole life until that moment,” said Frerichs who was the runner-up in 2015.
Jessica Kamilos (Arkansas) was second in 9:41.28. She and Frerichs grew up about an hour apart in Missouri and have raced each other since they were teenagers.
“My coach [Butler] told me four years ago he thought I could do this [become an NCAA champion],” said Frerichs. “I thought he was a little crazy.”
On Saturday, no one else thought he was crazy as they watched a dominant Frerichs jump out to an early lead, not look back and run down the record alone.
The second record to fall was the American triple jump record when Keturah Orji (Georgia) won the triple jump in 14.53 meters on her fifth jump.
“I can never tell how far the jump is. I can tell if it’s a good jump, but not how far it is,” said Orji. “I was really happy with it.”
Just over a month ago, Orji broke the collegiate record on May 8, 2016 with a jump of 14.29 meters. On Saturday, she also set a new American record, breaking TiombÃ© Hurd’s from 2004.
Shamier Little (Texas A&M) became a three-time defending NCAA champion and set a new personal record to win the 400 hurdles in 53.51 seconds and become #2 on the all-time collegiate lists.
“I was so excited,” said Little. “It just builds my confidence up so much more.”
With the win, Little remains undefeated at Hayward Field as she prepares to return in a few weeks for the Olympic Trials.
In the 5,000 meters, Dominique Scott-Efrud (Arkansas) made her move with 450 meters to go and after crossing the finish in 15:57.07 turned around to high five the rest of the competitors as they came across the line. Scott-Efrud, who is South African, won her second of two NCAA titles after winning the 10,000 on Thursday.
In the 800 meters, Oregon sophomore Raevyn Rogers defended her title and won in 2:00.75.
“I didn’t realize how hard it is to double,” said Rogers. “I give Ches, Devon, all of them, Shamier, so much credit. It’s so difficult! … There’s a lot of pressure this year and then when you’re just going at it, you know, it’s a bit difficult.”
Just behind her, Stanford’s Olivia Baker was second in 2:02.65 and BYU’s Shea Collinsworth was third 2:02.83.
Oregon freshman Ariana Washington pulled off a surprise double in the 100 (10.95) and 200 (22.21) as she earned both NCAA championships.
Courtney Okolo (Texas) won her second outdoor 400 meter title in 50.36, the ninth fastest time in collegiate history. The second place finisher was Arkansas’ Taylor Ellis-Watson (50.86).
In the 100 hurdles, a pair of freshmen took the top two spots as Kentucky’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn won in 12.54 seconds and UTEP’s Tobi Amusan was second in 12.79.
Marta Freitas (Mississippi State) was almost edged at the line when she raised her hands in celebration in the 1500. Freitas won in 4:09.53 over Stanford’s Elise Cranny (4:09.55). Freitas, a native of Portugal, could represent her country at the Olympics if she runs the Olympic standard.
Wisconsin’s Kelsey Card threw 63.52 meters in the fifth round to earn top honors in the discus.
Kimberly Williamson (Kansas State) won the high jump at 1.88 meters.
Georgia’s Kendell Williams won the heptathlon with 6,225 points to add to another championship to her 2014 NCAA title.
Arkansas won the team competition with 72 points over Oregon (62) who was the defending champion.