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Not only are professional runners establishing the necessary qualifiers, but 10 NCAA athletes also notched Olympic standards this weekend.
Track is so fun during an Olympic year! Check out the list of Americans who already have the Olympic standards, but enjoy learning about these athletes below, because it won't be the last time a young gun earns the standard this year.
Women’s 10,000m (Standard: 32:15.00)
Courtney Smith (Harvard, 32:08.32) and Chelsea Blaase (Tennessee, 32:08.39)
Smith and Blaase ran the ninth- and tenth-fastest NCAA marks of all time, respectively, at the Stanford Invitational. But you may not have realized that by watching the race. Unlike the men’s 10,000m, the women broke into several different groups so fast it was hard to tell what pace each athlete was running.
Smith, a sophomore, shaved almost three MINUTES off her best time (three minutes!!!) for a new Ivy League record. Meanwhile, redshirt junior Blaase improved her best time by 20 seconds.
Women’s 200m (Standard: 23.20)
Gabrielle Thomas (Harvard, 22.75), Felicia Majors (Tennessee, 23.01), Laquisha Jackson (Missouri, 23.10), Destiny Carter (Kentucky, 23.10)
For sprinters hunting the Olympic 200m standard this weekend, Florida Relays was the place to be. The wind was in favor of these four women who dashed their way onto Rio's radar.
Harvard’s Thomas wins MVP in my book -- her Ivy League-record time marks the freshman’s first foray into sub-23-second territory (with only +0.6 wind), and she also managed to nab her 100m qualifier in another Ivy League record of 11.30. Miraculously, only three of the eight women’s 100m sections had a legal wind, and Thomas was in one of them.
Men’s 100m (Standard: 10.16)
Christian Coleman (Tennessee, 10.16)
The 2016 NCAA indoor 200m champion is off to a great start this outdoor season after he clocked the fastest non-wind-aided mark in the NCAA so far with his new PB of 10.16 (+1.7). Though four men ran faster in Andre De Grasse’s section, their tailwind of +3.3 was a little too generous. First an indoor NCAA title, now an Olympic standard -- could this 20-year-old become the next Trayvon Bromell?
Men’s 200m (Standard: 20.50)
Ahmed Ali (Alabama, 20.16)
Ali destroyed this competition at the Florida Relays by posting a 20.16 (+2.0) over Florida freshman Ryan Clark (20.59). The Texas native’s previous best of 20.46 seems like a lifetime ago since the senior now owns the fastest time in the world.
Men’s 800m (Standard: 1:46.00)
Andres Arroyo (Florida, 1:45.78)
Watch Arroyo’s race below, and realize that now SEVEN men in the NCAA have broken 1:46!!!!
Men’s Pole Vault (Standard: 5.70m)
Devin King (Southeastern Louisiana, 5.70m)
King, a sophomore who finished third at the NCAA Indoor Championships, cleared 5.70m at the Texas Relays. Even more impressive, he cleared it on his first attempt to eclipse his previous best, which was was 5.51m.
"Leading up to it, I had some pretty good practices and had been jumping at pretty high bars," King said on Southeastern Louisiana's athletic site. "Coming into the Texas Relays, I was focused and just basically put what I do in practice into the meet and it ended up working."
World, you have been warned.