The outdoor season is starting to ramp up, and there was some good action this week. The Florida Relays, the Stanford Invitational, the Sun Angel Classic, and some heated dual-meet rivalries all gave us lots to ponder. Let’s get to it!
Athlete of the Week: Ricky Robertson, Ole Miss
At the Pepsi Florida Relays, Robertson won the high jump with 2.32 meters (7′ 7¼”). He broke the meet and the facility records, and it’s the world’s best outdoor mark of 2012. It ties #14 on the all-time collegiate lists, and makes him just the fourth American male high jumper to achieve the Olympic ‘A’ standard.
Honorable mention: Conor McCullough, Princeton
At Princeton’s own Sam Howell Invitational, McCullough threw the hammer 74.01 meters (242′ 10″). It’s the fourth-best ever by a US collegian, and an Olympic ‘B’ qualifier. That makes him one of only six Americans to achieve that standard.
Team Player: Ethan Dejongh, Fresno Pacific
Dejongh led his Sunbirds to a narrow five-point win in a tri-meet against Biola and Westmont by winning all five events he entered: high jump, long jump, triple jump, and 4×100 and 4×400 relays. His triple jump mark of 15.54 meters (51′ 0″) is the NAIA leader by more than a foot.
Honorable mention goes to Navy’s Cody Rome, who won a 1500/5000 double in the space of just over an hour to help his Midshipmen top Army by a slim two points.
Teams of the Week: Arizona State and Florida
This was so close, I had to make it a tie. The Gators had some great results at their own Florida Relays, with Jeff Demps winning the 100 and anchoring the winning 4×100, Tony McQuay running great in the 400 and 4×400, Omar Craddock dominating the triple jump, Stipe Zunic winning the javelin, plus the supporting cast of Jeremy Postin (hammer), Marquis Dendy (long jump), and Eddie Lovett (hurdles).
At Arizona State’s own Sun Angel Classic, the Sun Devils had a great weekend too. Besides sprinters Ryan Milus and Chris Burrows and the relays, their successes were all in the field. Thrower Jordan Clarke won the shot outright and was the top collegian in the hammer, and Chris Bernard won a long jump / triple jump double. Chris Hinch won the pole vault with the week’s best collegiate mark, and Bryan McBride was the top collegian in the high jump and did well in the triple jump too.
Schooling ‘em: Curtis Beach, Duke
The NCAA indoor heptathlon champ, Beach is known as the fastest decathlete of all time in the middle distances. At the Duke Invitational, Beach won the 800 meters in 1:47.99, the fourth-best collegiate time of the weekend. He simply thrashed a field that included VMI’s Felix Kitur, a three-time NCAA outdoor championships qualifier.
Chris Berman, have you thought of: Findlay All-American thrower, Derrick “Dirty” Vicars “Sketch” (shoutout to all the Monty Python fans)
Athlete of the week: Jeneva McCall, Southern Illinois
In a dual meet against Illinois State, McCall won three events, all with top marks. She won the hammer throw with a distance of 67.37 meters (221′ 0″), the best collegiate mark of the week; she won the shot put with 17.77 meters (58′ 3¾”), the best outdoor collegiate mark of the year; and she won the discus with 58.75 meters (192′ 9″), the best collegiate mark of the year.
Honorable mention: Brigetta Barrett, Arizona
Barrett won the high jump at the Stanford Invitational with a height of 1.95 meters (6′ 4¾”). It meets Olympic ‘A’ standard, and while she has already met that earlier this year with 1.97 meters, her first attempt at 2.00 meters was reasonably close. That’s elite territory, because only three women in the entire world cleared 2.00 or better during the 2011 outdoor season.
Team Player: Megan Brealt, Roger Williams
At the Corsair Classic, Brealt led her Hawks to a narrow 1½ point win over host UMass-Dartmouth. Brealt won the 100 hurdles, took second in the triple jump, third in the long jump and 400 hurdles, and led off the 4th-place sprint medley. In the four years since RWU’s women’s track team became a varsity sport, this is their first invitational-meet victory.
Team of the Week: Florida
The Gators won two relays at their own Florida Relays, the sprint medley and the 4×800, but there was so much more. Sprinter Darshay Davis was the second collegian in the 100 meters and third in the 200 meters, Lanie Whitaker and Ebony Eutsey were the top two collegians in the 400 meters, Genevieve LaCaze was the third collegian in the 800 meters, Ugonna Ndu was the second collegian in the 400 hurdles, Keely Madeiros was the second collegian in the shot put, Ashley Miller was the second collegian in the discus, Agata Strausa broke the meet record while winning the steeplechase, and the 4×400 relay was the top college team. That’s depth!
The streak continues: Sheila Reid, Villanova
Reid won an 800/1500 double at the Colonial Relays. That runs her win streak in collegiate competition to either 13 or 14 straight finals, depending on how you count it. Her last loss in an individual race during the collegiate season was at last year’s Mt. SAC Relays, where she lost the 1500 meters to pro Shalane Flanagan. Her last loss to a collegian was at last year’s NCAA Indoor Championships, where Oregon’s Jordan Hasay outkicked her in the 3000 meters.
Still in her father’s shadow: Leigh Petranoff, Illinois State
In a dual meet against Southern Illinois, Petranoff threw the javelin 52.81 meters (173′ 3″), a school and Missouri Valley Conference record and the third-best mark of the 2012 collegiate season. If the name sounds familiar, it should. She is the daughter of Tom Petranoff, the last American to hold the javelin world record.
Found Points: Alex Kosinski and Kimber Mattox, Oregon
The Oregon women’s team is likely to be in a tight battle to win their first NCAA Outdoor Championships since 1985 (and only their second ever). The Ducks have won the last three indoor championships, but haven’t been able to get over the hump for the outdoor title, and they want it bad.
Earlier this week, Track and Field News released its first NCAA Championships formchart, and they project a final score of LSU 57, Oregon 56. But that was before Oregon’s home quad meet against Texas A&M, Washington and UCLA.
In that meet, new Duck Kimber Mattox easily won the steeplechase in 10:15.05, a PR by some eight seconds. Mattox is a graduate student transfer (from D-III Willamette, Nick Symmonds’ alma mater) with one season of eligibility left. She now joins teammate Lanie Thompson as long shots to score at the nationals.
More impressive was the run of Alex Kosinski in the 5,000 meters. She ran the year’s best time (and the best by a Duck in 27 years), but using sit-and-kick tactics that rarely produce fast times. She was surprised by how fast she ran, and so was everyone else. Slowed by injuries, she scored no points for her winning team at the NCAA Indoor Championships, and TFN only projected her for 6th at the outdoor nationals. Saturday’s run indicated she could do more; only one of the women picked ahead of Kosinski has ever run faster than the 15:36.90 she put up on Saturday.
If the Ducks are looking for even more points, I think sophomore Laura Roesler might hold some. An all-around sprinter in high school, she’s been made an 800 specialist at Oregon, but has never scored a point at nationals in that event, nor is she projected to do so by TFN. However, her runs on Oregon’s 4×400 relays indicate that she might be a potential scorer at nationals in the 400 meters. While the 800 might be her best event several years down the road, the Ducks need points now.