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Friday, 23 June 2017 21:46

2017 NCAA Division I T&F Champs—Running Events Featured

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Men’s 10K

By Kim Holm


Tulsa 10,000-meter runner Marc Scott was out Monday morning in Eugene with his trainer, and he was four miles into his 10-mile run when he had what he called a mini-seizure. He said he was too far from his car to turn around and go back. So he just finished his six miles and went back to the car. 

So he then went to the hospital, where they kept him for 24 hours. Doctors gave him a CT scan and checked out his heart, and everything came back inconclusive. They don't know what caused it. But they cleared him Tuesday afternoon to compete on Wednesday, and Scott said he wasn't worried about it at all.

Wednesday at Hayward Field, two days later, Scott won the NCAA title at 10,000 meters with a time of 29 minutes, 1.54 seconds. It was his first national title in five years at Tulsa, including his redshirt year.

“I didn't know how it would affect me after I was released,” Scott said. “The lack of sleep was the biggest issue.” 

That's because medical personnel kept having to wake him up at night to check on his condition.

At the start of his race on Wednesday, he was in the middle of the pack, trying to break through, and it didn’t look like he would be able to with only a few laps to go. 

“I knew it would come down to the last lap,” said Scott. “I’ve been working on really developing that final lap.” 

This is the first NCAA win for Scott. Oregon’s Edward Cheserek had won the event for the last three years, and he was the favorite this season before he withdrew from the NCAA West Regional with a minor back injury and could not qualify for the NCAA championships.  


“I’ve worked hard for five years to get a title,” said Scott. “It’s one guy -- it doesn’t change how I view a race. The goal is to go out there and beat whoever is on the start line.”


During the indoor season, Scott did race Cheserek in the 5,000 meters, taking second.


“It came a bit short indoors -- I’m a little disappointed I didn’t race him,” Scott said. “It’s a shame for him to go out the way he did, but it opened the door for me.”


Right behind Scott with a time of 29:02.96 was sophomore Rory Linkletter from BYU. This is Linkletter’s third time ever running the 10K. 


“It’s surreal—I had goals to be at least first team all-American,” said Linkletter. “I was in ninth with 500 meters to go. I just went for it—and I had it.”  


Linkletter said all the runners were piling up at the beginning of the race, and he didn’t know how he would finish. 


“It was a choppy race, everyone was throwing elbows, getting pushed in and out,” said Linkletter. “I was just thinking one more lap, one more lap, and eventually there was 400 meters to go, and I could always run a fast 400 meters.” 


Both Scott and Linkletter will compete on Friday in the 5,000 meters. Scott especially is looking forward to resting after his hospital stay, and said he is grateful for the people in Eugene who were able to help him recover for his race. 


Kim Holm is a junior at the University of Oregon, studying journalism and communication. She is a native Oregonian and loves to hike and explore all the wonders that Oregon wildlife has to offer. 



Men’s 400 meters

By Kim Holm


It didn’t look like Texas A&M senior Fred Kerley was going to win the 400-meter dash on Friday at the NCAA Championships. Until he came off the Bowerman curve—where he outkicked the field and won with a time of 44.10.


“My goal coming in this season is to win every race I was in,” said Kerley. “At the end of the day it’s track and field—you never know what’s going to happen.”


Back in May at the NCAA West Regional meet, Kerley ran a time of 43.70, breaking the collegiate record that was set 25 years ago by Olympian Quincy Watts with a time of 44.00. Kerley had met him just before the race.


After the regionals, Kerley was sixth on the all-time U.S. best performer list, and seventh on the all-time world best performer list.


From Auburn, finishing second was freshman Nathon Allen with a time of 44.69. Allen competed last summer in the 2016 Olympic Games, representing his home country, Jamaica.


Allen left Rio with a silver medal in the 4x400 meter relay, running on the second leg of the race. He also competed on Friday in the 4x400 at the 2017 NCAA at Hayward Field, but his team finished last.


Also running in the 400-meter was Michael Norman from USC, who took fourth place with a time of 44.88. Norman was the winner of the 400-meter dash at the Pac-12 Championships earlier this season with a time of 45.19.


“The last 50 meters really got me good,” said Norman. “I have a lot to still work on.”

Norman is also a fifth-place finisher at the 2016 Olympic Trials at Hayward Field. He finished first in the World Junior Championships in the 200 and 4x100 relay. 


“Just to come out and compete with these guys—it gives me motivation,” said Norman. “But I had a successful first collegiate season.”


Norman had struggled with some injuries this season, so for him to come out and set personal records was an accomplishment for him. Next season, Norman wants to focus more on the 200 meters, which is something he and his coach Caryl Smith Gilbert will work on.


After winning the 4x400, Kerley wants to come back in December and focus more on his basics, going back to the 200 next season from the 400.


Asked what was what next for him, Kerley answered simply, “Just wait on it.”



Gator’s Grant Holloway

By Ariel Sax


Friday was not a bad day for Florida freshman Grant Holloway. He helped usher the Gators all the way to the 2017 NCAA Men’s Outdoor National Championship. 


He won the 110-meter hurdles and he anchored the 4x400 relay that finished fourth and clinched the team title for the Gators, who needed to finish fourth to beat Texas A&M. On Wednesday, he finished second in the long jump.


“I had a remarkable first outdoor NCAA season,” said Holloway. “I took it upon myself just to work hard and just come out to this outdoor season prepared and ready to go.”


Holloway also had a strong indoor season, becoming the first freshman to win the 60-meter hurdle title since Omar McLeod, the gold medalist in the 110 hurdles at the 2016 Olympics.


Holloway is a dual-sport athlete in both track and football. However, his decision to pursue track instead of football was not a tough decision. 


“I stopped thinking about football a long time ago,” said Holloway. “I don’t like relying on other people to do my job.”


One of Holloway’s defining moments at NCAA was his win in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.49, only 0.07 seconds shy from his personal best. 


Coming in second place with 13.54 and running a personal best was Alabama’s Ruebin Walters. This second time competing at Hayward Field brought him a better time by 0.06 seconds. 


Walters’s first time competing at Hayward Field was at the IAAF World Junior Championships in 2014, and he placed sixth in the hurdles.


He believes that hurdles is an event that you mature in and get better at over the years. He said that he changed his technique when approaching hurdles from seven steps back to his original method of an eight-step approach.  


“It has shown a lot in my progression,” he said. “I ran a personal best, so going back to the eight steps was really tremendous for me.”


Walters is proud of his hometown of Diego Martin, Trinidad & Tobago, and the people have kept him motivated throughout training and preparations for the season.


“I just do it for the kids back home, for them to be motivated,” said Walters. “A lot of the young athletes back home look up to me. I show them that I can do it, and I give them some motivation for themselves.” 


Friday was a proud day for Holloway and the Gators. Being only a freshman and still a long career ahead of him, Holloway says he’s thankful that he got to help the team out as a “youngin’.”


“I turn off my brain and just execute,” said Holloway. “If things went right or left you just have to rely on your training, rely on [Coach Mike Holloway], and rely on the man upstairs. Because if I had none of that I wouldn’t even be here right now.”

 Ariel Sax is a sophomore at the University of Oregon studying journalism and communication. 



Men’s 1500 meters 

by Gus Morris


While many considered New Mexico’s Josh Kerr the favorite to win the men’s 1,500 NCAA title on Friday, he wasn’t having it. He actually considered himself an underdog.


Even though he ran the sixth-fastest time in collegiate outdoor history this year — 3 minutes, 35.99 seconds at the Bryan Clay Invitational, which also ranks as the fastest time in college this year — Kerr still felt that anyone in the field could win the 1,500 NCAA title. 


In a field that boasted the top five 1,500 runners in college this season, it’s easy to understand why Kerr might think that.


But he was considered the favorite for a reason.


Kerr won the 1,500 in 3:43.03 seconds at the NCAA Track and Field Championships on Friday to win his first NCAA outdoor title. Justine Kiprotich of Michigan State finished second in 3:43.50, edging out Ole Miss’ Craig Engels in the final 20 meters. 

Engels took third in 3:43.54.


“Brilliant,” said Kerr, a native of Edinburgh, Scotland. “I was able to compete with these guys and go when I wanted to go.”


As the final lap bell sounded, no runner had yet established a lead. But as the lap began, Kerr started to work his way to front of the pack and made it there with less than 300 meters to go. 


The last lap went how many had anticipated it would: with Kerr and Engels battling for the lead. After all, the two hold the top two times in the 1,500 this season. 


But while the two favorites dueled for the lead, Kiprotich made his own move and found himself in third place coming down the final 100 meters. 


He said he had actually been “kind of scared” of his position as the final lap started, when he was on the inside of the track. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to take the outside and make a move. Then Oregon’s Blake Haney tripped up and a path opened. 


Kiprotich took it and surged towards the front of the pack, which put Kiprotich in prime position to make a play for a podium spot. Except it wasn’t the one he expected.


“I was almost settling for third,” he said. “But I felt kind of good, so I thought I might as well give it another gear and see what happens.” 


In the final 100 meters, Kerr and Engels surged ahead, while Kiprotich followed not far behind. Kerr inevitably pulled well into the lead, and Engels began to fade.


“I wish I just would’ve taken it with 200 to go,” Engels said. “Maybe get into his head a little bit, but he’s strong. I was trying to catch him the last 100, but I didn’t have it.”


As Kerr crossed the line, Kiprotich made one last move and jumped ahead of Engels as he crossed the line. In just his first appearance in an NCAA championship meet, Kiprotich, a sophomore, recorded a second-place finish.


“I’m excited high,” he said.


Gus Morris is a junior at the University of Oregon. He’s an aspiring sports reporter who has covered an array of sports including football, golf and men’s basketball for the Oregon student paper, the Daily Emerald. He’ll be a free agent after graduating next spring.



Frosh Steepler Boreman Nabs Second

By Abigail Winn


Madie Boreman wasn’t even thinking about qualifying for the NCAA championships this season. But she did that and more. She took second place in the 3,000-meter steeplechase final and set a new American junior record.


“I don’t think it’s really hit me yet,” she said. “It’s feels really surreal right now.” 


The Colorado University freshman took second with a time of 9 minutes, 46.48 seconds, around five seconds behind the winner, Boise State freshman Allie Ostrander, at 9:41.31. Penn State senior Tori Gerlach took third.


Fourth-place finisher Elinor Purrier said she didn’t really see Boreman and Gerlach pass her in the last 100 meters for the podium. “It was kind of a blur,” she said.


This was Boreman’s first official season competing in the steeplechase, aside from a few tries in high school. In high school, she specialized in the 1,600 meters and the 3,200 meters, earning eight regional track championship titles in the events. 


Her finish today surprised her.


“I won Pac-12s, but my time wasn’t in the top rankings,” she said. “We didn’t really prepare for this.”


Regardless of the outcome, Boreman knows there are big shoes to fill at her university. Jenny Simpson, the first American woman to ever medal in the 1,500 meters at the Olympics, is a 2009 graduate of Colorado University.


“It’s kinda hard to go to Colorado and not know the people that have run there before you,” she said. “It definitely helps being able to have people that are better than you and use them as a goal.”


Her current role model? Sophomore and fellow teammate Dani Jones, who took fifth in Saturday’s 1,500-meter event.


“She’s the most relaxed and amazing runner I’ve ever seen,” she said. “She’s a really smart runner, and I really value being able to go off of her.”


Looking ahead, Boreman is ready for a break. Even with her new record, she’s not considering running for Team USA.


“I probably won’t,” she said. “This season has been really long.”



Missouri’s Karissa Schweizer Claims 5K Title

By Maverick Pallack


Missouri distance runner Karissa Schweizer won the 5,000-meter triple crown after getting first in the NCAA track and field championships at Hayward Field with a time of 15 minutes, 38.93 seconds, besting her third-place finish last year in the same meet.


Schweizer won the 6,000-meter NCAA cross country championship on Nov. 19 with a time of 19:41.70, won the NCAA indoor championship on March 11 with a time of 15:19.14 and on Saturday ended her season with a win.


She became the first female athlete to achieve the triple crown since Texas Tech’s Sally Kipyego in 2008, the same year Kipyego set the record for the 5,000 meters at the NCAA outdoor meet.


Schweizer knew what was at stake before the race and knew exactly what she had accomplished when she crossed the finish line.


“Truly unbelievable,” Schweizer said. “I never would have thought that would happen. It means so much to me, my team, my school and my coaches. It’s just an awesome feeling.”


The champion, however, did not use her usual race strategy this time. In her other championships wins, she sat in the pack and didn’t make a move until this end. But Saturday, she was in the top three of every lap, and on lap number eight, she made her move.


“It was a little nerve-wrecking for me just being out there in the front,” Schweizer said. “I don’t normally race like that, but I just trusted my coach and trusted my fitness and just went for it.”


Before Schweizer began to lengthen her lead, she battled with Oregon runner Samantha Nadel (who finished eighth), Loyola Marymount runner Danielle Shanahan (15th), Penn State runner Tessa Barrett (20th) and Furman runner Allie Buchalski (sixth).


Nadel challenged for the lead throughout the race, but ended up falling behind due to a more conservative approach than the race winner.


“She said don’t do anything crazy,” Nadel said, reflecting on her pregame chat with her coach. “She told us right before the race to stick to the same plan. Don’t try to do anything that you haven’t done before. Just run the way you know you can.”


That difference in running styles was a key factor in how Schweizer was able to pull away from her competitors, finishing almost five seconds ahead of the runner-up, Eastern Michigan runner Alsu Bogdanova.


“I knew where my fitness was,” Schweizer said. “I just wanted to go out there and make an honest race if no one was going to take it. I knew I was going to take it with seven to eight laps to go.”


Schweizer is not done with her memorable year yet as she is looking forward to competing in the U.S. outdoor championships.


“I’m gonna try to go to USAs,” Schweizer said. “That will be my next race, and I will just kind of go out there with no expectations and just see how it goes.”


Maverick Pallack, a journalism student at the University of Oregon, loves the Oakland A’s, San Francisco 49ers and the Golden State Warriors. He was Steve Prefontaine for Halloween and prefers mustache Pre over the clean-shaven Pre.

Read 323 times Last modified on Friday, 23 June 2017 22:26

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