How A Young Colorado DMR Upset The Collegiate Record-Holders

Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports Jones, Cranny, and Rainsberger were three wide KICK OF THE WEEK: Dani Jones' 2 Kicks at NCAAs!
There were two certainties heading into the women's distance medley relay at last weekend's NCAA Indoor Championships. 

1. Oregon, the collegiate record-holder, was going to bring it. 
2. You wouldn't want to be anywhere near Dani Jones on the last lap of the race. 

Two weeks before NCAAs, Colorado coaches Mark Wetmore and Heather Burroughs made a rare decision to run a DMR at the MPSF Championships. For the past 25 years, Wetmore chose to focus on individual performances rather than relays. The last time Colorado scored in the DMR at the NCAA championships was in 1994 when the men's team finished eighth. 

With "conservative aspirations" in mind, Wetmore and Burroughs put together a team of two freshmen and two sophomores to compete at MPSF in Seattle. Tabor Scholl, Elissa Mann, Sage Hurta, and Dani Jones completed the young squad, which unleashed a surprising victory over Stanford in an NCAA qualifying time of 10:58.68. The win came down to a come-from-behind kick issued by Jones who split 4:33 on the 1600m to beat Stanford's Elise Cranny. 

Suddenly, the conservative aspirations became All-American aspirations. 

The Buffaloes ranked seventh in an NCAA field that included the formidable Oregon Ducks, who blasted a solo collegiate record of 10:48.77 in January. The Ducks' time was seven seconds faster than No. 2-ranked Indiana. NCAAs would be just the second DMR of the season for the young Colorado squad. 

But on Friday in College Station, Texas, the gun went off and all of the past performances didn't matter. The 1200m leg was run once again by Scholl, who split 3:27 and brought the team within the middle of the chase pack. The 400m was run by Mann, who split 56 seconds before handing off to Hurta. The cross country All-American split an 800m personal best of 2:05 to put Jones 30 meters behind the leaders. Jones spent the majority of the race closing the gap, and by 400 meters to go, she had worked her way into the lead pack. With one lap remaining, Oregon's Katie Rainsberger made a surge to the front with Cranny and Jones in full pursuit. 

With 150m remaining, the race was up to Rainsberger, Cranny, and Jones. From the final homestretch, Cranny passed Rainsberger, but in the all-too-familiar kick, Jones flew out into lane three to edge her out at the line. Jones split 4:31 to bring the Colorado squad its first NCAA title in the DMR with a winning time of 11:00:34. 

"I know everyone has strengths and weaknesses, but with those two girls there are no weaknesses," Jones said after the race. "It's any given day. I just had to stay smart.

"We were hoping to be top five, so this is a big surprise!"

The team placing was a surprise to many, even Wetmore and Burroughs, but the kick from Jones was no surprise. 

"I knew as long as she's there with a lap to go, there's no stopping Dani," Mann said in the post-race interview. 

On Saturday, that statement proved true once again when Jones unleashed the same kick to beat NCAA cross country champion Karissa Schweizer in the 3K. 

Wetmore and Burroughs' decision to run a Colorado DMR this year was also perfectly timed with two alums' success in the distance. Just two months earlier at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, Jenny Simpson and Emma Coburn contributed to the team that broke the distance medley relay indoor world record. Coburn ran as the anchor leg and handed off to teen Olympian Sydney McLaughlin. McLaughlin gave the stick to world bronze medalist Brenda Martinez who then handed off to Simpson. The Olympic bronze medalist brought the team across the finish line in a record time of 10:40.31. 

With the surprise success of the Colorado squad and a world record run by two alums, it's safe to say that Wetmore and Burroughs should continue to keep the DMR as a focus for the future.

Ben True Victorious In Half Marathon Debut

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Ben True’s first foray into the half marathon went about as well as possible. The 32-year-old, best known for his abilities in the 5000 and 10,000m, used his track speed to outkick Dathan Ritzenhein to win the New York City Half Marathon in 1:02:39, becoming the first American man to win the race. Prior to Sunday, True had never raced longer than 10 miles. But he did have years of experience in shorter distances -- something that was especially useful after the conservative early pace turned the race tactical and put a premium on a fast finish. 

Briana Williams Passes Marion Jones' World Age Group Record in 100


Briana Williams just made history. 

On Saturday at the Bob Hayes Invitational in Jacksonville, Florida, the Oakland Park Northeast (FL) High sophomore broke a 27-year-old record held by Marion Jones in the 100m run, setting a new 15-year-old world age group record with a wind-legal time of 11.13 seconds (+1.7).

After Eight-Month Layoff, Costello Returns To Racing At NYC Half

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By Rich Sands, @sands(c) 2018 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Photo: Liz Costello (third from right, back row) visiting Public School 1 in New York City in advance of the 2018 United Airlines NYC Half.  

NEW YORK (16-Mar) -- When Liz Costello toes the line in Sunday's United Airlines NYC Half it will be her first race in eight months. The Princeton grad had to scrap most of her summer and fall racing plans after her debut marathon left her in a physical and emotional crater.

MSU T&F Grad Assistant Resigns In Protest Of Nassar Case Handling

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Michigan State track and field graduate assistant Kassie Powell resigned from her position on Thursday in protest of the university's handling of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal.

Ritz Gears Up For Boston, Sisson Takes On Tough Field: NYC Half Preview

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With the 2018 World Half Marathon Championships scheduled for next weekend and major marathons in Boston and London on tap for April, the spring road racing season is in full swing. 

House Of Run: When A World Record Isn’t A World Record

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On this week’s episode of the House of Run, Jason and Kevin discuss the abundance of records at the NCAA Indoor Championships including Michael Norman’s world record in the 400m, Kendall Ellis and Sydney McLaughlin both running under the 400m American record, Eli Hall’s 60/200m double and the nonsensical tale of why USC’s men’s team won’t hold the 4 x 400m world record.

WATCH: Clarence Munyai Runs 19.69, Smashes South African 200m Record

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Clarence Munyai stunned the track and field world on Friday with a 19.69 clocking in the 200m. The 20-year-old from South African entered with a personal best of 20.10. The mark lopped 0.15 seconds off Wayde Van Niekerk’s South African national record and makes Munyai just the 10th man ever to run under 19.70. 

The Houston Men Might Break 31-Year Power Five Win Streak At NCAA Outdoors

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The Houston men finished seventh overall in the team standings at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships with 26 total points, 20 of which came from Eli Hall's impressive 60/200 sweep. But don't expect the Cougars to be anywhere near the bottom of the top 10 this outdoor season. In fact, the Houston men are legitimate outdoor team title contenders for three reasons.

The New Mexico XC Team Might Score 50 Points At The 2018 NCAA Outdoors

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The New Mexico women have an opportunity to pull off an incredible feat at this year's 2018 Division I NCAA Outdoor Championships. 

Kyron McMaster In The Hurdles, Sang/Goule In The 1500: 49er Classic Preview

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The indoor season hasn’t been over for an entire week and attention has already turned outdoors. This weekend UNC-Charlotte hosts the 49er Classic, a meet that features collegians and professionals all itching to get an early start on their outdoor season.