The #2-ranked Lady Vols of Tennessee stormed into College Station and fearlessly took the title away from hosts and #1-ranked Texas A&M at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships this weekend. The Vols scored 42 points and had clinched their title before the meet was even over.
“The character and heart of this team was just unbelievable,” seventh-year UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. “What they did today, coming out here competing and breaking meet and school records, it’s just an unbelievable performance by the entire team. An 8.04 in the hurdles, 4:29 in the mile, 57-2 in the shot and then Phoebe Wright, who was really sick last week, coming here and giving her best performance today, was absolutely critical. I am really proud of what they’ve done.”
The team competition was just one of the exciting happenings at this year’s championships. The individual events were filled with tight finishes and record performances. The Vols’ own Sarah Bowman won the mile literally by a nose (0.03 seconds) to score 10 more points for her team and to beat Sally Kipyego of Texas Tech, arguably the greatest NCAA Track & Field athlete ever, and to deny her of her would-be record-setting 10th NCAA title. Both women ran 4:29 and change. The 4:30 barrier is very rarely broken by collegiate women; this year’s 3rd- through 7th- place finishers all broke 4:40 and in other years would have had a good chance of winning with their time. But not this year.
Watch the close finish of the mile below (thanks to FloTrack for the amazing cover of the NCAA Championships:
Another woman who has broken the 4:30 barrier this year (she in fact smashed the barrier AND the collegiate record in the mile by running 4:25.91 at the Big 12 Championships a couple weeks ago) is Colorado’s Jenny Barringer. Barringer opted to enter the 3000m; apparently she had nothing left to prove in the mile and wanted to go after the collegiate record in the 3000m. Barringer led from the gun and clicked off her laps like a machine, unleashing a final kick to lower the collegiate record by almost 7 seconds to 8:42.03. Barringer, who holds the American Record in the 3000m Steeplechase, beat second-place Susan Kuijken of Florida State by 14 seconds. Kujiken still broke the 9:00 barrier, another rare feat for collegiate women, and in most years would have easily taken home the title.
In the 60m Dash, LaKaya Brookins from South Carolina equaled the meet record, winning in 7.13 seconds. Her time is also the #2 time in the world this year.
In the 400m, Hampton University’s Francesca McCrory ran 51.55 to upset Jessica Beard (51.77), the 2008 World Junior silver medalist.
Kylie Hutson (Indiana State) won the pole vault by leaping 4.35 meters into the air. Alicia Rule was second in 4.30m, with #3 and #4 clearing 4.25m.
Watch the “Flotrack Crack Recap” for all the highlights below: