The Texas Relays and Stanford Invitational dominated the landscape this weekend, and there was a lot of top-level action. Let’s get to it!
Athlete of the week, track events: Ameer Webb, Texas A&M
Webb won the Most Outstanding Performer award at the Texas Relays, and that’s no small accomplishment. He won the 100 meters in a world-leading 10.14, and ran on the Aggies’ winning 4×200 and 4×100 relays, both of which now lead the NCAA lists.
Honorable mention goes to Webb’s teammate, Deon Lendore, who anchored the Aggies’ runner-up 4×400 relay with a split of 44.46 seconds.
Athlete of the week, field events: Sam Kendricks, Ole Miss
This was a very tough choice, as there were many outstanding efforts in the field events over the weekend, but Kendricks’ win in the pole vault at the Texas Relays is my choice for the best of the bunch. His winning height of 5.81 meters (19′ ¾”) is the best by a collegian in fifteen years.
Kendricks, just a 20-year-old sophomore, is now only the second American to go over 5.80 in the last three years; the other is Brad Walker, the 2007 World champion. In the last ten years, only two athletes under age 21 have gone over 5.80; one was an age-group flameout but the other, Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe, won bronze at last year’s Olympics.
Honorable mention goes to UCLA’s Julian Wruck, who won the discus at the Texas Relays with a distance of 66.01 meters (216′ 7″) puts him #6 on the all-time collegiate list.
Division II Athlete of the Week: Remontay McClain, Azusa Pacific
At the Cal/Nevada Championships, McClain won the 100 and 200 meters and ran on the third-place 4×100 relay. His time in the 200 meters, 20.71, is tied for the collegiate lead among all divisions combined.
Division III Athlete of the Week: Jeff MacDonald, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Also running at the Cal/Nevada Championships, MacDonald ran the 400 and 4×100 and 4×400 relays. He was the top D-III finisher in the 400, running a D-III leading time of 47.75, and the relays were the first and second D-III squads in the meet.
NAIA Athlete of the Week: John Gilbertson, The Masters
Gilbertson won the top heat of the 10,000 meters at the Stanford Invitational, beating Oregon’s Parker Stinson and Northern Arizona’s Diego Estrada, amongst others. His time of 28:30.35 is the world’s fastest in 2013. If you’ve never heard of The Masters–and I hadn’t until this weekend–it was formerly known as Los Angeles Baptist College and Seminary and is “a non-denominational, conservative Christian liberal arts college located in Santa Clarita, California”.
Team of the Week
The Aggies were selected as the outstanding team at the Texas Relays. Who am I to argue? They won the 100 meters, the 4×100, and the 4×200, took second in the 4×400, the 4×800, the sprint medley, and the distance medley, and took third in the 4×1500.
Honorable mention goes to Texas, who won three relays at the Texas Relays, the first time the Longhorns have done that in 40 years.
Team Player: Daulton Teaford, Christopher Newport
Teford led his Captains to victory over all four opponents at the Commonwealth Duals by winning four events: the 200, the 400, the high jump, and anchor leg on the 4×100 relay.
Competition of the week: Texas Relays pole vault
Nine vaulters cleared 18′ 1″ or better in this competition. Only six collegians managed that feat in the entire 2012 season.
A legend displaced: Ohio State long jumper Mike Hartfield got out to 8.15 meters (26′ 9″) at the Texas Relays. He broke a school record that many others had gone after but could not beat, the 8.13m (26′ 8¼”) held by the great Jesse Owens.
Side note: not only did Ohio State’s assistant SID for track and field not really grasp the gravity of this accomplishment until yours truly pointed it out to him, but Ohio State’s official record book doesn’t even have the correct information on Owens’ record. Most of the other school records are dated, but Owens’ is simply listed as “1936″. It was actually set on May 25, 1935, in the greatest single hour in the history of sports, and OSU’s sheer ignorance of and/or unwillingness to research even this most basic of facts gives you a clue as to why Buckeye track and field has been so impotent for most of the last half century. Kudos to new head coach Ed Bethea for beginning to right a ship that has been so wrong for so long.
Two in a row: Derek Drouin
High jump rivals and Olympic medalists Drouin and Erik Kynard faced off for the second time in a month, and Drouin came out on top for the second time. This matchup wasn’t originally in the works, but Drouin enjoyed last year’s experience at Texas so much that he convinced his coach to send him down to Austin. Their career head-to-head record is now seven to five in favor of Drouin.
Athlete of the eeek, running events: Brianna Rollins, Clemson
Rollins won the 100 meter hurdles at the Texas Relays by a huge margin. Her time of 12.54 seconds was aided by a wind of 2.1 m/s, just barely over the limit allowable for record status. Still, it’s the fourth fastest “all conditions” time in collegiate history. For comparison’s sake, it’s only 0.01 slower than Perdita Felicien ran as an Illinois senior in her 2003 World Championships victory.
Honorable mention goes to Oregon’s Jordan Hasay, who ran her first ever 10,000 meters on Friday night at the Stanford Invitational and was not far off of breaking into the all-time collegiate top ten.
Athlete of the week, field events: Brigetta Barrett, Arizona
Barrett won the high jump at the Stanford Invitational with a clearance of 1.94 meters (6′ 4¼”). While it’s not a terribly big height for Barrett, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, it’s worth noting that only ten collegians have ever gone higher than that.
Honorable mention goes to South Dakota’s Bethany Buell, who won the Texas Relays pole vault with a clearance of 4.46 meters (14′ 7½”), a PR and the outdoor season’s collegiate leader.
Division II athlete of the week: Sam Lockhart, Grand Valley State
In a dual meet against rivals Saginaw Valley State, Lockhart won the shot put and discus and took second in the hammer throw. Her distances in the shot (15.91m/52′ 2½”) and disc (56.38m/185′ 0″) were D-II national leaders, and in the discus she ranks second among all divisions.
Division III athlete of the week: Molly Carl, Southern Maine
Carl won the steeplechase at the North Florida Invitational with a time of 10:15.21, which puts her #4 on the all-time D-III list. She lapped the entire field, winning by a minute and 43 seconds.
NAIA athlete of the week: Hillary Holt, College of Idaho
Holt won her section of the 1500 meters at the Stanford Invitational in a time of 4:18.82, the fourth-best in the nation across all divisions. She won her heat of the 800 meters as well, posting an NAIA-leading 2:09.37.
Team of the Week
The Tigers won three relays at the Texas Relays (4×800, sprint medley, and distance medley) and the 100 meters, plus a third place in the 100 hurdles.
Honorable mention goes to Michigan, who won the 4×800 and 4×1500 events at the Raleigh Relays and took runner-up position in the 100 hurdles.
Team Player: Natoya Goule, LSU
Goule ran four high-quality races at the Texas Relays, all relays. She anchored winning efforts in the 4×800 and sprint medley–holding off hard-charging Regina George and her 2:03 run in the latter–and ran on the 4×400 relay in the heats and final.
A big weekend for the MAC: Three outstanding marks in conference history came from the three big meets of the weekend. In Texas, Akron freshman Shawn Barber cleared 5.71 meters (18′ 8¾”) in the pole vault for a new Mid-American Conference record and Canadian record, and it puts him in a tie for fifth on the all-time world junior list. It’s also a World Championships ‘A’ qualifier, so he’ll almost assuredly be on the Canadian team to Moscow.
Over at Stanford, Ohio University’s Juli Accurso ran her first-ever 10,000 meters in 33:52.33, which puts her third in MAC history (but only second in Ohio U history!). And at the Raleigh Relays, Bowling Green sophomore Brooke Pleger threw the hammer out to 64.76 meters (212′ 6″), a meet and stadium record and #2 in conference history.
Texas Relays working for fans: Turnout at the Texas Relays looked down from what it’s been in the past, but it wasn’t for lack of effort on the part of the Texas athletic department. For the first time ever, they had a “fan fest” which included an “autograph alley” of famous pros. And they brought out Bevo the longhorn, the real live cattle mascot. From CKuykendall on the TFN message boards:
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For some reason they had him down on the infield, standing around for reasons not totally clear, with about four attendants. One of the attendants, with shovel and bucket, had the job of minimizing the extent to which Bevo was fertilizing the artificial turf.
So at almost 12:40 p.m., after six 4x200s, the announcer informs the spectators that, next up, are a pair of 4×800 races. Whereupon, Bevo who’s been standing the whole time, picks this exact time to lie down and curl up on the turf. It was hard not to conclude that he was one of those many Texas Relays fans who groove on the sprints but didn’t really follow the distances or even middle distances as much.
The meet continues. After the 4x800s they start into the honors presentation. Officials who have officiated 5 years, 10 years, 15, years, etc. A bunch of other stuff. In the program, this is listed as “Awards Presentations and Opening Ceremonies.” Why opening ceremonies, partway into an afternoon program, I’m not sure. But anyway, the announcer asks the audience to please rise for the playing of the national anthem, and identifies who is to perform it. So the singer has just barely started into, “Oh, say, can….” and Bevo GETS UP TO HIS FEET!! For the STAR-SPANGLED BANNER!! I don’t know if it was coincidence, or they’ve trained him, or one of the handlers tugged on a rope, or what. But one hypothesis is that this is one patriotic (sprints-loving) longhorn we seem to have.