CONGRATULATIONS TO THE ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS!
THEY ARE YOUR 2016 NCAA TRACK & FIELD WOMEN’S TEAM CHAMPION!
EUGENE, Ore. – The Arkansas women built an early lead and never let up at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field on Saturday.
Led by senior distance runner Dominique Scott, who swept the 5,000- and 10,000-meter titles, the Razorbacks fought off a late challenge by host Oregon to claim their first NCAA outdoor women’s title.
Arkansas finished with 72 points, followed by the Ducks at 62 – three more than they scored in winning last year’s NCAA crown – while Georgia took third at 41 and Texas was fourth at 36.
The four-day meet drew a total of 43,419 spectators, the second-best mark on record, capped off by Saturday’s finale of 12,947 on a sunny, but breezy day.
Arkansas grabbed an early lead by scoring 26 points on Thursday behind Scott’s win in the 10,000m, a victory from freshman Alexis Weeks in the pole vault, and a third-place finish from Taliyah Brooks in the long jump.
On Saturday, it was a matter of maintaining that momentum, and the Razorbacks proved equal to the task.
“We were on a roll, things we’re going well, but we still had to take care of business to close it out,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “We knew Oregon would come out like gangbusters today, so we had to take care of ourselves and we did that. We’re super excited to bring the championship home.”
There were two notable records set on Saturday: Georgia sophomore Keturah Orji set an American and collegiate record in the triple jump with a winning mark of 47 feet, 8 inches and New Mexico senior Courtney Frerichs established a collegiate record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at 9 minutes, 24.41 seconds, breaking the old mark of 9:25.54 set by Jenny Barringer in 2009.
In the team race, besides Scott’s distance double, Arkansas received second-place finishes from Taylor Ellis-Watson in the 400 meters, Jessica Kamilos in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and the 4×400-meter relay thanks to a blistering anchor leg by Ellis-Watson. Alex Gochenor and Payton Stumbaugh placed fourth and sixth, respectively, in the heptathlon and Devin Clark added a fifth-place finish in the steeple.
The Ducks, meanwhile, did everything in their power to make it close.
Despite missing two key performers on the 4×100-meter relay, the makeshift quartet of Sasha Wallace, Deajah Stevens, Danielle Barbian and Ariana Washington clocked 42.91 seconds to place third behind LSU and USC.
Senior Annie Leblanc used a strong kick to place fifth in the 1,500 meters with a personal-best time of 4:14.80 and Wallace took third in the 100-meter hurdles at 12.95.
By that point, the Ducks had 20 points in the bank, and they knew they would have to be perfect for the remainder of the meet if they wanted to put some pressure on Arkansas.
The talented UO trio of Washington, Stevens and Raevyn Rogers made sure that would happen.
First, Washington blazed to victory in the 100 in a wind-aided time of 10.95 to become only the second freshman to win an NCAA title in that race. She also became the fourth UO woman in five years to win the NCAA 100 crown, following in the footsteps of English Gardner (2012, 2013) and Jenna Prandini (2015).
Rogers then won her second straight NCAA title in the 800 meters by dominating the field with a strong kick in 2:00.75, nearly two seconds ahead of her closest competitor.
A few minutes later, Washington continued to rewrite the record book as she became the first freshman to ever win the 200, edging Stevens, 22.21 to 22.25, for a 1-2 finish that gave Oregon a brief 58-54 edge over the Razorbacks.
UO junior Allie Cash added four more points with a gutsy fifth-place finish in the 5,000, but Scott’s victory in that race sealed the NCAA championship for the Razorbacks.
With their runner-up finish, the Duck women have now earned a spot on the awards podium for eight consecutive seasons.
“We’re extremely proud of the girls,” UO head coach Robert Johnson told the media. “We talked last night … that we had to come out and be perfect today. And we were damn near close.”
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FLORIDA GATORS!
THEY ARE YOUR 2016 NCAA TRACK & FIELD MEN’S TEAM CHAMPION!
EUGENE, Ore. – One month after placing sixth at the SEC track and field championships, unheralded Florida put on a show in front of a record crowd of 12,244 at the 2016 NCAA Men’s Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field on Friday.
The Gators scored an astonishing 51 points on the final day of competition, including individual NCAA titles from Eric Futch in the 400-meter hurdles and Arman Hall in the 400 meters, to finish atop the awards podium with a total of 62 points.
It was Florida’s third outdoor national title after tying Texas A&M for the NCAA crown in 2013 and winning outright in 2012. The Gators were the runners-up to host Oregon the past two seasons.
Arkansas, led by a historic triple from Jarrion Lawson – he became the first man since Jesse Owens in 1936 to win the 100m, 200m and long jump at the NCAA meet – placed second with 56 points, followed by Texas A&M in third with 50 and the fourth-place Ducks at 48.
In all, the SEC took five of the top six places in the team standings as LSU (41) and Tennessee (30) finished fifth and sixth, respectively.
Florida, which began the day in fifth place in the team standings, began its climb with a fourth-place finish in the 4x100m relay, which seemed to spark the Gators to a string of inspired performances.
In the 400 meters, Hall matched his PR of 44.82 seconds to win that event, while teammate Kunle Fasasi took sixth. Florida grabbed its first lead of the meet after a 1-2 finish in the 400-meter hurdles from Futch (48.91) and TJ Holmes (49.31). KeAndre Bates then exceeded his season-best in the triple jump by more than two feet to place second, and the 4×400-meter relay sealed the deal with a second-place performance.
Florida head coach Mike Holloway said the Gators might have benefitted from flying under the radar.
“That’s a plus for us sometimes to be able to run without all the hoopla … and just fly under the radar,” said Holloway amidst the team victory celebration. “That’s why we’re standing here right now, because they (the team) really believed and really thought it was going to happen.”
Outside of the dramatic team competition, there were several other noteworthy individual performances:
- Arkansas senior Jarrion Lawson became the first athlete since Jesse Owens in 1936 to win the 100m, 200m and long jump at the NCAA Championships, claiming the sprint double on Friday after capturing the long jump on Wednesday. He scored 31 ½ points for the Razorbacks – he also ran a leg on the third-place 4x100m relay – the most of any athlete since Owens scored 40 points 80 years ago. Owens won the 100m, 200m, 220-yard low hurdles and broad jump.
- Texas A&M freshman Donavan Brazier provided the best individual performance of the meet in winning the 800 meters with a collegiate record of 1 minute, 43.55 seconds. The 19-year-old phenom broke the NCAA record of 1:44.9 set by the legendary Jim Ryun 50 years ago to the day; crushed the meet record of 1:44.70 established by Mark Everett in 1990; and bested the Hayward Field record of 1:43.5 (hand-timed) set by Rich Wohlhuter in 1974.
- Oregon junior Edward Cheserek came into the NCAA championships with 13 NCAA titles already to his credit in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. He added two more titles to his tally by sweeping the 10,000m and 5,000m for the second straight season. Cheserek, a 22-year-old Kenyan, became the first man to win three consecutive NCAA titles at 10,000m.
Other individual titles on Friday came from Akron’s Clayton Murphy in the 1,500m (3:36.38); Oregon’s Devon Allen in the 110m hurdles (13.50); Michigan’s Mason Ferlic in the 3,000m steeplechase (8:27.16); USC’s Randall Cunningham in the high jump (7-4 ½); Texas A&M’s Latario Collie in the triple jump (55-8 ¼) and Nebraska’s Nicholas Percy in the discus (201-0).