Story by Eric.
The two-day NCAA Championships got underway on Friday, and there were no less than two collegiate records and several all-time marks set in the finals at the Randal Tyson Indoor Track Center on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.
Record Day For Whiting in Shot
Arizona State's Ryan Whiting set off the record evening by winning the shot put with a massive toss of 21.73m, a mark which bettered by 23cm the previous NCAA record set 21 years ago, and also established a new NCAA Championship record.
Whiting took the lead on his first heave, and saved his record-setting toss for his last. Whiting found himself in second place following his first flight, however, as Idaho's Russ Winger was able to muster a 21.29m put in the second flight and threaten to put an end to Whiting's hope of winning his first NCAA title.
Whiting's series: 20.18m; 21.12m; FOUL; 20.23m; 20.69m; 21.73m.
Whiting, a redshirt sophomore out of Harrisburg, Pennyslvania, had a personal best of 20.01m when the season began. His winning mark on Friday propelled him up to being the the third-best performer in the world indoors in 2008, trailing only world leader Adam Nelson (22.40), and IAAF World Indoor Champion Christian Cantwell (22.18) - two athletes who hold the top-four marks in the world this season.
Stanford's Terri Albritton held the previous NCAA Indoor shot put record, having heaved a massive 21.50m in 1977. This marked the second time in as many attempts that Whiting had moved close to - or past - Albritton.
Whiting set a MPSF conference and stadium record in the shot put in recording a personal best of 21.47 metres two weeks ago, and had taken down Winger's stadium record (20.28m) in the process.
Whiting's mark at the MPSF Conference Champions was the second-best mark in Pac-10 history, trailing only Albritton's 21.50m.
Texas Sprinter Knight Sets CR in 200m
Texas freshman Bianca Knight, competing in her first collegiate national championships, showed that she had great things in store for fans following a 22,48 preliminary round - a time which took over the world lead from Porscha Lucas, who had run 22,86 two weeks ago at the Big-12 Championships in Lincoln.
Knight returned two hours later to improve on her personal best, churing out an incredible 22,40 to become the second-fastest American ever at the distance behind three-time Olympic gold medalist Gwen Torrence's 22,33 set 12 years ago in Atlanta, Georgia.
Knight's time of 22,40 also established a new World Junior record, taking 0,09 seconds off of Sanya Richards's previous mark, and also knocked Richards off the top of the Texas 200m indoor all-time list.
Knight's time also set new a new NCAA Championship record and set the Randal Tyson track record, eclipsing Veronica Campbell's time of 22,43 set four years ago.
Knight, a 23-time Misssissippi state titlist as a prep at Ridgeland High School, had high hopes for her first NCAA race.
"There was a plan for me and my teammate Alexandria Anderson to finish one-two," University of Texas's track report states.
"We put our faith in each other, and if I didn't get it done, she was to get it done. I wanted to spice things up, and I don't know if a freshman has ever won nationals, but if not, I wanted to be the first."
Knight was able to exact a bit of revenge on her rival, Lucas, as well, as she had finished a distant fifth (23,21) to her at the conference championships. Lucas finished fourth on Friday, timed in 22,83 seconds - a race which saw the top-four women run under Lucas' previous world leading mark.
Tennessee's Bowman Runs Brave DMR Anchor
One of the evening's most-anticipated highlights was thought to be the expected men's Distance Medley match-up between world indoor record-holders Texas against the likes of Stanford and Arkansas.
Whilst Texas did win their first NCAA indoor title (9.32,04), it was the women's Distance Medley Relay which provided the most thrilling action and drama of the two races.
Stanford's Lauren Centrowitz got the race off to a great start after leading the opening 1.200 meter segment in 3.25,5, and handed the baton off to teammate Idara Otu (54,6 for her 400m split). Tennessee was in the hunt in fifth place after freshman Brittany Sheffey split a 3.26, but brought itself even with Stanford following freshman Brittany Jones's sensational 400m segment heading into the third leg, an 800m distance.
Stanford's Alicia Follmar's split of 2.08,8 was not enough to keep Stanford at the helm, however, as Tennessee's sophomore sensation Phoebe Wright ran an excellent race, as did the University of Michigan's Geena Gall. Hall's tactical savvy brought Michigan the stick around in first place with anchor leg Nicole Edwards, the collegiate mile leader at 4.33,23, ready to take stave off challenges from Tennessee's Sarah Bowman and Stanford's Arianna Lambie.
Michigan and Tennessee opened up a lead on the rest of the field during the first half of the anchor leg, but Lambie worked her way up to the lead pack before making a decisive and commanding surge for the lead with just over two laps to go. Her move was a costly one, however, as Bowman, who was biding her time behind Edwards, blew past with 130m remaining and helped secure Tennessee's victory by splitting 4.35,3. Edwards (4.36,1), a Canadian, held off Lambie (4.34,8 split) for second, with the Standford troop finishing in third.
Tennessee's winning time of 11.01,97 set a new school record. Michigan finished with a time of 11.02,22. Stanford's third-place time of 11.03,87 was the second-fastest in Stanford history.
Villanova University set the collegiate record (10.54,34) 20 years ago, with a team of Celeste Halliday (2.06,8), Michelle DiMuro-Ave (56,1), Kathy Franey (3.22,7) and Vicki Huber (4.28,8) achieving their mark in Gainesville, Florida.
Williams Takes Advantage of Tyson Track
Tennessee senior Rubin Williams won the 200m dash in 20,36 and set a new school record in the process, taking 0,06 seconds off of Justin Gatlin's previous indoor collegiate best. Williams, who had run a collegiate-leading 20,55 at the same venue two weeks ago, finishes the season as the second-fastest 200m runner in the world indoors this year.
Other Action on the Track
In other action, Josh McDougal, who was featured on this blog's front page yesterday, finished out of the running in the men's 5.000m, placing sixth (13.58,62). McDougal may find redemption in today's 3.000m, but will be hard-pressed to out-kick Villanova's Bobby Curtis, the collegiate leader at 7.50,17.
Southern Illinois weight star Brittney Riley won her speciality (25,34m), as did long jumper Brittney Reese of Ole Miss (6,76m).
Texas Tech's Sally Kipkego thrashed the women's 5.000m field, running a world-leading 15.31,91. Providence's Kim Smith holds the collegiate record at 15.14,18.
Finally, Sweden's own Ebba Jungmark won the high jump by clearing 1.89m, and became the first Swedish woman to win an indoor title in this event. World indoor record-holder (2.08m) Kajsa Bergqvist took home two outdoor titles whilst at SMU, but was never able to finish higher than second indoors (1.91m in Indianapolis in 1998).
Men 200m Dash Finals
1, Rubin Williams, Tennessee, 20.36. 2, Charles Clark, Fla St., 20.50. 3, J-Mee Samuels, Arkansas, 20.67.
Men 5000 Meter Run Finals
1, Shadrack Songok, A&M-CC, 13:51.26. 2, Jacob Korir, E. Kentucky, 13:52.91. 3, Sean Quigley, La Salle, 13:54.05.
Men 60 Meter Hurdles Finals
1, Drew Brunson, Fla St., 7.53. 2, Jason Richardson, S. Carolina, 7.53. 3, Ronald Forbes, FL Intn'l, 7.58.
Men Distance Medley
1, Texas (Jacob Hernandez JR, Danzell Fortson FR, Tevan Everett JR, Leonel Manzano SR), 9:32.04. 2, Arizona State (Joey Heller SR, Justin Kremer SO, Nectaly Barbosa FR, Kyle Alcorn SR), 9:32.49. 3, Wisconsin (Craig Miller SO, James Groce JR, Evan Jager FR, Jack Bolas SO), 9:33.83.
Men Pole Vault
1, Rory Quiller, Binghamton, 5.50m, (18-00.50). 2, Mitch Greeley, Clemson, 5.40m, (17-08.50). 3, Maston Wallace, Texas, 5.40m, (17-08.50).
Men Long Jump
1, Reindell Cole, Northridge, 8.12m, (26-07.75). 2, Norris Frederick, Washington, 7.99m, (26-02.75). 3, Ngonidzashe Makusha, Fla St., 7.97m, (26-01.75).
Men Shot Put
1, Ryan Whiting, Arizona St., 21.73m, (71-03.50). 2, Russ Winger, Idaho, 21.29m, (69-10.25). 3, Milan Jotanovic, Manhattan, 19.64m, (64-05.25).
Women 200 Meter Dash Finals
1, Bianca Knight, Texas, 22.40. 2, Nickesha Anderson, Kansas, 22.62. 3, Alexandria Anderson, Texas, 22.81.
Women 5000 Meter Run Finals
1, Sally Kipyego, Texas Tech, 15:31.91. 2, Lisa Koll, Iowa St., 15:54.90. 3, Maddie McKeever, Duke, 15:58.18.
Women 60 Meter Hurdles Finals
1, Tiffany Ofili, Michigan, 7.94. 2, Kristi Castlin, Virginia Tech, 8.02. 3, Queen Harrison, Virginia Tech, 8.03.
Women Distance Medley
1, Tennessee (Brittany Sheffey FR, Brittany Jones FR, Phoebe Wright SO, Sarah Bowman JR), 11:01.97. 2, Michigan (Danielle Tauro FR, Serita Williams SR, Geena Gall JR, Nicole Edwards SR), 11:02.22. 3, Stanford (Lauren Centrowitz JR, Idara Otu JR, Alicia Follmar JR, Arianna Lambie SR), 11:03.87.
Women High Jump
1, Ebba Jungmark, Washington St., 1.89m, (6-02.25). 2, Sharon Day, Cal Poly-SLO, 1.86m, (6-01.25). 3, Brittney Reese, Mississippi, 1.86m, (6-01.25).
Women Long Jump
1, Brittney Reese, Mississippi, 6.76m, (22-02.25). 2, Blessing Okagbare, UTEP, 6.68m, (21-11). 3, Natasha Harvey, Jacksonville, 6.60m, (21-08).
Women Weight Throw
1, Brittany Riley, S. Illinois, 25.34m, (83-01.75). 2, Jessica Pressley, Arizona St., 22.04m, (72-03.75). 3, Astin Steward, Purdue, 21.62m, (70-11.25).
Photo credits: UT press; ASU press; Kirby Lee.