I watched a couple of hours of the ESPN coverage of day two of the NCAA Champs. My buddies were texting me during the broadcast, telling me how much they loved the new format and how, one day one, Zeke Zarnowski, the dean of announcers for multi events, was amazing. One keen observer, said that ” Zeke was the best announcer I have heard in my 40 years of going to Eugene.” Well said.
This is LIndsay Rossmiller’s column for day two of the NCAA Champs. I asked her to give us the flavor of each day of the champoionships. Here is day two…..
Recapping Day Two of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships
By: Lindsay Rossmiller
EUGENE, Ore. – On a rainy evening at Hayward Field, records fell and new champions were crowned as the women were the focus of the second day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Top performances in the field events led to broken records in the hammer throw and shot put and a freshman pole vaulter completed a sweep of both the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships in the same year.
Arkansas freshman Lexi Weeks won the pole vault at 4.50 meters on her first attempt at the height when she was the only one able to clear it. Miami’s Alysha Newman was second and UL-Lafayette’s Morgann Leleux was third.
After receiving the win, Weeks attempted to set a new PR at 4.65, but couldn’t quite clear it in the rain.
“I feel like I had the height on it, but I didn’t have enough energy to get far enough in the pit so I feel like a warm day and not raining would be nice,” said Weeks. “If I can do that again on a nice day, hopefully a PR will happen.”
Weeks’ twin sister, Tori, finished tied for fifteenth and was standing next to the runway when Lexi won the title.
“Not very many people get the opportunity to compete with their twin sister and at this level,” said Weeks. “It’s just such an incredible opportunity to get to travel to new places, . . . just to have these new experiences and do it with your best friend is incredible.”
As Weeks was attempting to clear new heights, her teammate Dominique Scott-Efurd was running to her own championship in the 10,000 meters.
“It’s so easy once I get to two laps to go,” said Scott-Efurd after. “It’s just those 23 laps before that are kind of annoying.”
Scott-Efurd won in 32 minutes, 35.69 seconds. And as she came down the homestretch with an eleven second lead, she blew a kiss to her husband and cruised in to win her first outdoor NCAA championship after being the 2015 runner-up in both the 5,000 and 10,000.
New Mexico’s Alice Wright finished second in 32:46.99. Air Force’s Hannah Everson was third in 32:47.25.
Another senior, DeAnna Price (Southern Illinois), started off the day by defending her 2015 title in the hammer throw. Price also broke the meet record which she set in 2015.
Price threw 71.53 meters on her third attempt and Kansas State’s Sara Savatovic was second with 65.61.
“I had more in the tank,” Price said. “I’m really just hoping to inspire younger generations to let them know that it’s ok to be strong.”
Price gave more hugs than high fives on her victory lap and hopes it’s the start of another successful summer for her at Hayward Field as she attempts to make the U.S. Olympic team after representing the U.S. at last year’s IAAF World Championships.
Price said she hopes young throwers are inspired, “because each thrower later down the line is going to throw farther than what you’re doing now. Records are meant to be broken.”
Price’s former teammate, Raven Saunders, broke the collegiate record as she claimed her second shot put title. Saunders’ throw of 19.33 meters on her fifth attempt bettered the record held by Arizona’s Meg Ritchie since 1983. Later, she thought the shot could have gone farther.
“I definitely missed it,” said Saunders. “I threw my head so the shot came off slightly early.”
But while she felt she could have thrown farther, Saunders was pleased to have defended her title.
“One thing that my coach always stresses to me is records are going to get broken, but titles are forever,” said Saunders.
In the qualifying rounds of the women’s 800 meters, Princeton’s Cecilia Barowski won the third heat at the line over defending champion Raevyn Rogers (Oregon) and NCAA leader Olivia Baker (Stanford) in 2:03.5. Rogers ran 2:03.55 and Baker ran 2:03.56.
“I was definitely a little intimidated by my lane placement between Raevyn Rogers and Olivia Baker,” said Barowski who found herself listening for the announcement of the winner after crossing the line to be sure.
In the steeplechase, Courtney Frerichs, last year’s NCAA runner-up, won her heat by four seconds to advance. In the second heat, Harvard senior Paige Kouba, who is from Eugene, also qualified. It was her first time back to compete since running the 800 and 3,000 in the Oregon high school state meet as a senior.
“It’s obviously a dream come true to be running at Hayward again; I’ve wanted that since I was little and to be back here after a couple years away and you know, running the same warm-up course I did for the state meet at Hayward, it’s just unlike anything else,” said Kouba.
Texas A&M senior Maggie Malone won the javelin with her fifth-round throw of 62.19 meters Senior Hannah Carson (Texas Tech) was second with 61.20 and sophomore Audrey Malone (Texas A&M) was third with 57.06.
Georgia’s Chanice Porter won the long jump on her sixth jump (6.67) to take the lead back from the 2015 champion and 2016 runner-up, Alabama’s Quanesha Burks (6.52).
Texas A&M’s Linden Victor won the men’s decathalon with 8,379 points after overtaking Wisconsin’s Zach Ziemek (8,300) in the final two events.
Shamier Little (Texas A&M) easily qualified first for the 400 hurdle finals in 55.48 seconds.
Courtney Okolo (Texas), the collegiate record holder in the 400, won the qualifier in 50.48 to advance to Saturday’s finals.
Friday will feature all of the men’s championship finals. The women get a day off before their finals on Saturday. TV coverage will be on ESPN’s networks. Check your local listings for times.