Camryn Rogers, Hammer throw Champion (set a Canadian NR as well), 2022 NCAA Champs, June 9, 2022, photo by Kevin Neri
This is Dave Hunter's column for Day 2 of the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon. On Day 2, the first day for the women, Dave focused on 4 top women athletes, plus highlights for the day!
NCAA / Day Two: Exceptional Women; Outstanding Performances
June 9, 2022, Hayward Field, University of Oregon
After the performance of the men on Day One, which, among other things, featured a gripping pole vault competition that resulted in a new national record; a buzzer-beating 6th-round winning heave in the shot put; and a dramatic 10,000-meter race in the sole track final of the opening day, it was time for the women to take center stage. Could they match the excitement the men had provided? No problem. The collegiate women are exceptionally talented, are poised and at the moment, and are tough as nails. While there were many notable moments on Day Two, here are four athletes who truly stood out:
Camryn Rogers / Hammer Throw: This event will likely long be remembered as arguably the most compelling collegiate women's hammer competition in NCAA history. Two-time NCAA champion Camryn Rogers was seeking yet another successful defense of her crown - a three-peat. 5 competitors - all of whom finished in podium positions 2 through 6 - all threw personal best marks in an effort to deny Rogers a third consecutive NCAA hammer crown. But the Cal senior was unflappable. Never behind, Rogers remained calm. And on her 5th throw, she uncorked a 254'10" bomb to clinch her victory. That personal best winning throw (77.67m) established a new meet record, a collegiate leader, a new collegiate record, and a new Canadian record.
Camryn Rogers, Hammer throw champ, NCAA Day 2, June 9, 2022, photo by Kevin Neri
Adelaide Aquilla / Shot Put: The defending NCAA shot put champion made it clear early that no one else would be standing on the top step of the podium when on her opening throw, she got the ball out 64'3"/19.64m. Game over. With that heave, the Ohio State senior, a multiple-time NCAA champion, established a new personal best, a new collegiate leader, a new meet record, and a new collegiate record. The Tokyo Olympian becomes the first Ohio State woman to capture two NCAA track & field titles.
Abby Steiner / Sprints: This Kentucky junior looked sharp and in sync as she rang up the fastest times in the preliminary rounds of both the 100m dash and the 200m dash. In the century, her 10.90 clocking was a new lifetime best for the Wildcat and her time matched the same mark posted by Texas sophomore Julien Alfred in an earlier heat. Alfred is ranked #3 on the all-time collegiate list. Saturday's final will feature these two stars and should be quite a showdown. In the furlong, Steiner, whose unique racing style features a relentless turn-over and an unusual arm carry, prevailed once again in her preliminary round, clocking 22.02. That mark - the fastest performance in the preliminary round - was yet another lifetime best for Steiner and set a new meet record. Can she author the sprint double on Saturday and capture 20 points for Kentucky?
Abby Steiner, 100m/200m, NCAA Champs, Day 2, June 9, 2022, photo by Kevin Neri
Charokee Young / 400 Meters: Texas A&M long sprinter Charokee Young came to Eugene with a season's best time of 49.87, #2 on the world list. In her preliminary round of the 400m, the sophomore looked smooth as silk clocking an easy-peasy 50.46 to handily win her heat. Later in the evening, Young ran the anchor leg on the Aggies 4x400m relay squad and showed that she also has the heart of a lion. A&M was in 3rd when Charokee got the stick. Taking off with determination and making up ground with every stride, Young was zeroing in on the Kentucky anchor, eventually passing her in the final strides for the win. Texas A&M: 3:25.63; Kentucky: 3:25.67. Young clocked 50.2 on her lap as she "Char-broiled" the Wildcat anchor.
Charokee Young, 400m, NCAA Champs, Day 2, photo by Kevin Neri
• Decathlon: As is often the case, the two-day event boiled down to the final event: the 1500 meters. Could Arkansas athlete Aiden Owens-Delerme - the 8-point leader after 9 events - fend off Texas athlete Leo Neugebauer and Georgia's Kyle Garland? The Razorback leader stayed focused, ran a steady, measured race, and crossed the line in 4:29.54 to seal the victory. The winner's final point total of 8457 tied the meet record held by two-time Olympic decathlete gold medalist Ashton Eaton.
• w4x400M Relay: The short relay almost always produces excitement and drama. The University of Texas quartet (42.31) posted the fastest time in the preliminary round as 5 of the 9 foursomes advancing to Saturday's final ran under 43 seconds. Nobody wins this event on Saturday without clean baton exchanges.
• w3000mSC: Arkansas senior Logan Jolly (9:38.13) ran a speedy last lap to post the fastest time in the preliminary rounds. But BYU senior Courtney Wayment (9:41:21), the NCAA indoor 5000m champion, appeared content to simply advance onward. More serious racing and faster times can be expected for Saturday's final.
• w100M: Alfred and Steiner both ran 10.90 in their separate heats as a total of 6 finalists posted sub-11.00 times in advancing to Saturday's final. Look for a scintillating race in Saturday's final.
• w400M: Florida sophomore Talitha Diggs, indoor 400m champion, ran a lifetime best 50.08 (#5 on the world list) in her preliminary heat. It took 51.24 to make the final which will feature 5 athletes who ran sub-51 seconds in the preliminary round.
• w800M: Boise State senior Kristie Schoffield (2:01.79) and Villanova senior McKenna Keegan (2:01.82) had the fastest marks in the prelims. It might take a sub-2:00 performance to win on Saturday.
• w400H: Florida sophomore Anna Hall (54.48) and Arkansas sophomore Britton Wilson (54.72) won their respective heats and look like the ones to beat. Wilson has the collegiate-leading clocking of 53.75, which currently ranks #3 on the world list. Look for a great race in this event on Saturday.
• w200M: Steiner (20.02), the fastest in the preliminary round, will have to contend with Ohio State Olympian Anavia Battle (20.26) and LSU sophomore Favour Ofili (22.13) in what should be a great final.
• w4x400 Relay: In the preliminary round, 6 teams cracked 3:30, with Arkansas, Texas, and Florida looking the sharpest.
• w10,000M: In the only track event final of the day, the women's 10,000 meters looked nearly identical to the men's 10K the previous evening. Taking a page out of Athanas Kioko's Wednesday night's playbook, Washington junior Haley Herberg dashed away from the field from the opening gun. Herberg's lead, at times over 100 meters in length, was intact through 7K's passed in 23:06. With 6 laps remaining, Alabama junior Mercy Chelangat caught the ambitious leader and stormed to the front and never was headed, crossing the line in 32:37.08. Chelangat, last year's runner-up in this event, finally earned the NCAA 10K victory. Herberg, the gutsy early leader, hung on to finish 7th in 33:20.33.
Mercy Chelangat, 10,000m winner, NCAA Champs, June 9, 2022, photo by Cierra Hitner