If we had dropped an alien being into the US yesterday and they sat on my sofa and watched the NCAA Day three, even they would have been excited by the amazing day of track finals. For once, we did not shoot ourselves in the foot. The finals were exciting, with surprises and the announcing was warmed up and supported the broadcast.
Here is how Lindsay Rossmiller, who has been providing updates each day for RunBlogRun on the NCAAs, saw day three!
Donavan Brazier and Jarrion Lawson Join Legends at NCAA Championships
By: Lindsay Rossmiller
EUGENE, Ore.- Two collegians joined rare company at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Friday night when Donavan Brazier broke Jim Ryun’s fifty year old 800-meter collegiate record and Jarrion Lawson became the first man since Jesse Owens to win the 100, 200 and long jump at the same college championships.
The Hayward Field crowd roared as Texas A&M’s Brazier came around Mississippi State’s Brandon McBride at the top of the homestretch as they realized Ryun’s record was in jeopardy exactly fifty years to the day after he set it.
Brazier ran 1 minute, 43.55 seconds to break the collegiate, U.S. Junior, and Hayward Field record and etch his name at number eight on the all-time U.S. overall list.
After the freshman from Grand Rapids, Michigan ran 1:45.93 indoors in his first race in January, Brazier was a favorite to win the indoor NCAA title, but although he competed, Brazier was unable to finish due to a back injury.
“I wanted to redeem myself outdoors,” said Brazier. “It’s a lot of pressure, especially coming off indoors and 1:45 in my first race. I didn’t even get back to that time until the prelims on Wednesday so it’s just nice to see it all start to come together again.”
Brazier ran 1:45.07 in Wednesday’s prelims and after getting close to the record had to be told who Jim Ryun was. After Friday night’s final, he admitted he had since looked up Ryun..
“It’s not that I don’t care about his records, it’s just that I don’t pay attention to them,” said Brazier. “I’m not keeping up with that kind of stuff, but I looked it up when I was home after seeing that and I’m really impressed.”
McBride also ran under the meet record and set a new PR in 1:44.50 as the runner-up. McBride led for most of the race before Brazier made the definitive move on the final turn.
“If I’m going to lose, I’m going to lose running fast,” said the Mississippi State senior after.
McBride, who swept both the indoor and outdoor titles in 2014, hopes to make Canada’s Olympic team in July.
Brazier, on the other hand, was still considering trying out for the U.S. junior team instead of the Olympic Trials even after his finish. Brazier said it would be a decision he and his coach would make. The 800 at the Olympic Trials and U.S. Junior championships are six days apart.
Arkansas senior Jarrion Lawson used the NCAA championships as preparation for all three events he plans to compete in at the Olympic Trials and confessed it was just his third time completing the combination (SEC’s, regionals, and NCAA’s) and his first sweep.
“I treat them all with the respect they deserve and I treat all my competitors with the respect they deserve,” said Lawson. “I just go out and give it my all.”
On the first day of competition, Lawson won the high jump in 8.15 meters and qualified for finals in both the 100 and 200 meters. Two days later, Lawson found himself on top of the podium as well in the 100 (10.22) and 200 (20.19).
“I came here expecting to win three events,” said Lawson. “I know obviously it’s hard, but I do all these events because I love to do them.”
Lawson also ran the third leg on Arkansas’ third-place 4×100 meter relay.
“This is just amazing – to come out here and win three events and be put in the same sentence as Jesse Owens, I’m just thankful to God for it,” said Lawson.
On any other night, the most significant achievement may have been Edward Cheserek (Oregon) winning his fifteenth NCAA championship to tie the record and defend his 5,000 meter title.
Cheserek won in 13:25.59 over Stanford’s Sean McGorty (13:26.10) as they battled back and forth down the stretch before Cheserek made his final move around McGorty on the final corner.
Devon Allen (Oregon), the 2014 NCAA and U.S. champion in the 110 hurdles, completed his comeback and claimed another title in 13.5 seconds. Allen missed the 2015 season after tearing his ACL during the Rose Bowl as a football player for Oregon.
Michigan’s Mason Ferlic also made his comeback after falling into the water pit during last year’s final as he won the steeplechase in 8:27.16 over Arkansas’ Frankline Tonui (8:30.67) and Louisville’s Edwin Kibichiy (8:30.71).
Akron’s Clayton Murphy surprised in the 1500 meters to take the win in 3:36.38 over Washington’s Izaic Yorks (3:38.06) and Virginia’s Henry Wynne (3:38.35). Last summer, Murphy represented the U.S. in the 800 meters at the IAAF World Championships.
In the team competition, Florida won with 62 points with its depth and Eric Futch’s win in the 400 hurdles (48.91) and Arman Hall’s in the 400 (44.82).
USC’s Randall Cunningham won the high jump with a new PR of 2.25 meters.
Texas A&M’s Latario Collie won the triple jump with his first and only jump at 16.97 meters.
Nebraska’s Nicholas Percy was first in the discus after throwing 61.27 to improve his PR for the second time this season. The pre-competition favorite, Sam Mattis (Penn), was second with 60.96.
The defending champion, Kansas State’s Akela Jones, led the heptathlon after the first four events with 3,951 points over Georgia’s Kendell Williams.