If you thought Ednah Kurgat's trouncing of the field at the fall's NCAA cross country championships was an indicator of the 2017-2018 track season to come — well, you still might be right. But '16 NCAA XC champ Karissa Schweizer of Missouri is making sure we don't forget about her by delivering another all-time great track performance in a decidedly off event, the mile.
Schweizer slashed eight seconds from her best to run 4:27.54 for third place at the Dr. Sander Invitational/Columbia Challenge at the New York Armory. She's now the fourth-fastest collegian of all time and less than two seconds away from Jenny Simpson's 4:25.91 NCAA record. That makes her better, historically, in the mile than the 5K, where her December dual against Kurgat resulted in a 15:17.31 performance, which ranks No. 6 all-time in Division I.
Could Simpson's collegiate record go down this winter? And could a 5K specialist be the one to bury it?
The only other current collegian to break 4:30 is New Hampshire's Elinor Purrier, whose 4:29.44 PB is the ninth-fastest in NCAA history. The senior hasn't run a mile yet this season, but she leads the NCAA in the 3K (8:55.68) and owns the sixth-fastest 800m mark so far this season at 2:04.53.
Below are more highlights from the weekend's action.
Justyn Knight PRs; 5 Collegians Break Four For The First Time
In men's mile action, Syracuse's Justyn Knight lowered his PB by a full second to 3:55.82 and to place runner-up to Shadrack Kipchirchir at the BU Terrier Classic. That race produced the 500th American sub-four mile as Emmanuel Bor of the U.S. Army ran 3:58.77 to break the barrier for the first time.
Not to be overlooked is redshirt freshman Jon Davis of Illinois, who was the 498th American man to break four with his impressive 3:58.46 win at the Illini Classic. He broke a 44-year-old facility record and became the first sub-four Illini man (the prior record was 4:00.17 by Graham Morris), and did so on a flat 200m track, which means the official NCAA conversion for Davis' mark is 3:55.46 -- faster than NCAA XC champion Knight ran in Boston.
Old school record holder Graham Morris and NEW school record holder Jon Davis. Davis ran a new UI Armory Track record of 3:58.46 in the mile run pic.twitter.com/ueienoeSco— Mike Turk (@CoachMTurk) January 27, 2018
Later on Saturday, Western Oregon's David Ribich became the 501st American to break four minutes by running 3:58.88 at the UW Invitational.
Give Saruni The Crown Already
For the third weekend in a row, Michael Saruni of UTEP did something insane on the track. After breaking the world record for 600m last weekend and the 800m school record the weekend before, the sophomore ran the second-fastest 800m in NCAA DI indoor history. His time of 1:45.19 inches closer to the NCAA record of 1:44.84, which has been held by Saruni's coach Paul Ereng since 1989.
Check this splits: 200M in 25.86 400M 25.98 that is 51:83 then came through the 600M in 1.18:48 and stopped the clock at 1:45.19 another excellent solo effort!!— Paul Ereng (@ErengP) January 27, 2018
The Most Dangerous Sprinter In The NCAA Is Named Lynna Irby
Georgia's newest prodigy isn't a field event sensation, but a world-class sprinter. True freshman Lynna Irby set NCAA-leading times in two events this weekend at the Razorback Invitational in the 200m (22.96) and the 400m (51.48). The 200m time broke a 22-year-old school record and the 400m time is the fastest in school history since reigning Olympic champion Shaunae Miller ran 50.88 to win the NCAA title in 2013.
Irby's run in the 400m was particularly impressive as she took down All-American and 2017 world team member Kendall Ellis of USC in a wire-to-wire victory.
Jordan Geist Continues To Do Big Things
High school throwing prodigy Jordan Geist has transitioned seamlessly to the big leagues in his freshman year for Arizona. The Pennsylvania native set an NCAA freshman record in the shot put this weekend with a mark of 21.45m/70-4. He now ranks No. 7 all-time in the NCAA DI record books.
Here's a fun picture of Geist with teammate Carlos Villarreal, who reportedly became the eighth Mexican sub-four minute miler in history with his 3:59.65 PB at UW this weekend.
If You Want To Break Four, Go To Oregon
Of the 10 men in the NCAA to break four minutes in the mile so far this season, four compete for the University of Oregon.
Redshirt sophomore Mick Stanovsek, who didn't even make the team his freshman year and entered the season with a 4:02 personal best, leads the Ducks' descending order list after a huge run of 3:57.90 to win his section at the Dr. Sander Invitational.
Stanovsek now ranks No. 3 in the NCAA behind Davis and Knight, followed by teammates Reed Brown (3:59.05, NCAA No. 5), Cooper Teare (3:59.29, NCAA No. 7), and Sam Prakel (3:59.56, NCAA No. 8). Brown and Teare are both true freshmen and the race marked Teare's first-ever sub-four. It's pretty wild that Oregon's fifth-fastest guy right now is Blake Haney, who has run 3:56.36.
If You Want To Get Paid, Go To Oregon
News broke on Sunday that Hannah Cunliffe has left the University of Oregon with intentions of turning pro.
She's the third female sprinter from the 2016-2017 Ducks' triple crown-winning team to leave the program with eligibility remaining, joining Deajah Stevens and Raevyn Rogers, both of whom made their announcements over the summer. (Both of whom also made their pro debuts this weekend — Stevens helped break the American indoor record in the 4x200m relay at the Armory while Rogers set a meet record at the UW Invitational with a 52.24 400m win).
Well now that it’s outta the baggg me and @hannahcunliffe5 ganna look so cute in our USA uni’s together— Deaj (@ADoseofDeaj) January 29, 2018
Cunliffe set the collegiate record in the 60m last year in 7.07 and is the reigning NCAA indoor champion in the event.