NEW ORLEANS – Collegiate indoor track & field is back in full swing following the extended winter holiday break, and there was no time wasted for some of the country’s best student-athletes.
Take a look at some of the top headlines from the weekend, as reported to TFRRS, and let us know at the end which you thought was the weekend’s best.
The defending NCAA indoor champion, this time dressed in the Zips’ Navy and Gold in a fully fledged Akron Pole Vault Convention meet on Saturday, cleared 19-0.25 (5.80m) on his first attempt to officially move up into a three-way tie as the No. 4 indoor performer in collegiate history with Brad Walker and Russ Buller.
He took three attempts at the official collegiate record at 19-4.25 (5.89m), nearly making it on his second go-around.
Who’d he beat to get the win? That’d be Sam Kendricks of Nike, who edged Barber in an epic duel at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships to win his second national crown in a row.
But Barber wasn’t even the first to take shots at a collegiate pole vault record this weekend. Friday afternoon in Arkansas, the Razorbacks’ Sandi Morris took aim at defending indoor NCAA Champion Kaitlin Petrillose’s CR of 15-1 (4.60m), looking to go a centimeter better than her Texas Longhorn rival with three attempts at 15-1.5 (4.61m).
She missed all three, but walked away with the collegiate lead at 14-5.25 (4.40m).
If that wasn’t enough, she also ran a leg of a 4×400 relay. What was her pre-race outlook?
Jalen Miller’s World-Leading 60-meter Weekend
Granted, the season is young, but Jalen Miller of Ole Miss finished the weekend with not only the top time in the world at 60 meters in 6.56 to win at the Purdue Gene Edmonds Invitational, but also the No. 2 time in 6.57 from the prelims.
To put the sophomore’s performances in historic perspective, he’s already just four-hundredth of a second shy of the all-time top-10 indoor collegiate performers list.
Miller, who ran the lead-off leg of Team USA’s gold-medal-winning 4×100 relay at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships this past summer, defeated Guyana’s Adam Harris by .05 of a second.
It was a pretty quick weekend, as four other men were within a tenth-of-a-second of Miller: Clemson’s Tevin Hester and Bryce Robinson of Tulsa in 6.64; and a pair of Houston Cougars in Cameron Burrell in 6.65 and Leshon Collins in 6.66.
Dominique Scott’s All-Time 1000-meter Run
Morris wasn’t the only Arkansas Razorback making waves in the record books this weekend. Distance runner Dominique Scott made the most of her season debut with a blistering 2:42.60 at 1000 meters (an event not contested at the NCAA Championships), which is the No. 8 time in collegiate history, per Track & Field News.
The senior, who was sixth overall at the 2014 NCAA Cross Country Championships, finished her race Friday as the runner-up behind former teammate Stephanie Brown of Nike.
Next up on the 2015 collegiate 1000-meter list? That’d be Notre Dame frosh Jessica Harris nearly four seconds back.
Throwers Already in Championships Form
In what might be a sign of things to come, a host of the country’s top throwers are already performing at levels that would have finished near the top of the NCAA Championships standings a year ago.
In her 2015 debut, LSU’s Tori Bliss set a new school record with a winning shot put mark of 57-2.75 (17.44m) at her home invitational; a mark that is just three inches shy of her career-best that earned her runner-up honors at last season’s NCAA outdoor championships.
In the men’s shot put, Darrell Hill of Penn State set an indoor PR and school record of 66-2.5 (20.18m) at the Penn State Relays with a mark that would have finished him third at the 2014 outdoor NCAA Championships.
A couple states over to the West in Indiana, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi of Purdue continued his hot start in the weight throw with a winning throw of 76-6.25 (23.32m). Just before the extended winter break, he went for 75-6 (23.01m). This is the second year in a row he’s gotten off to a hot start, and last year he finished third at NCAAs and as the No. 10 performer in collegiate history.
Fly Like an Eagle: Eastern Mich.’s Donald Scott Leads Triple Jump
Last June, in the biggest meet of his career, Eastern Michigan’s Donald Scott put down the biggest triple jump mark of his career. He went 53-7.5w (16.34m) to finish sixth at NCAAs.
In his first collegiate competition since – and, of course, without any wind – in a quad meet in Ypsilanti, Michigan, he equaled that mark to win by eight feet. For good measure, he added another jump of 53-5.5 (16.29m).
Impressive 4×800 by Penn State Men
While Hill’s shot put performance ended up being arguably the biggest highlight of the Penn State Relays, it was the 4×800 battle between Penn State and Princeton that generated the most pre-meet buzz. The Nittany Lions did not disappoint, ultimately winning by three seconds in a meet- and facility-record 7:22.10. Clinching the win was a pair of 1:48 legs by Brannon Kidder and Robby Creese to close out the race.
Historically, the Nittany Lions were just over two seconds outside the collegiate all-time top-10.
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