NCAA Weekend In Review: Saruni, Ewen, Andersen, McLaughlin, Wild Relays

By the good grace of the track gods, basically every NCAA superstar—as well as some up-and-comers—raced this weekend. And while they mostly didn't race each other due to the glut of high-quality meets (Penn Relays, Drake Relays, National Relay Championships, LSU Invitational, UCLA vs. USC dual meet, OSU High Performance, Desert Heat Classic...), we were still treated to several superlative performances. 

Below is a rundown of the top moments.

Michael Saruni Breaks Donavan Brazier's NCAA Record In The 800m

It took 50 years for someone to take down Jim Ryun's collegiate record in the 800m—and that someone was Texas A&M freshman Donavan Brazier—but the 2016 NCAA champion's mark of 1:43.55 didn't even last two years, as Michael Saruni of UTEP ran 1:43.25 this weekend to establish a new Division I record at the Desert Heat Classic.

His training partner, Emmanuel Korir—who won two NCAA titles at UTEP as a freshman before turning pro last year—better watch out, as Saruni is inching closer to his PB, 1:43.10, set in Monaco last year.

Maggie Ewen Breaks Raven Saunders' NCAA Shot Put Record, Brooke Andersen Poses Threat In Hammer Throw

Saruni wasn't the only athlete to break a collegiate record at the Desert Heat Classic, as Arizona State senior Maggie Ewen established a new NCAA Division I standard in the women's shot put. 

Ewen, a 2017 Bowerman Award finalist who is more well-known for holding the NCAA record in the hammer throw, threw the shot for 19.46m/63-10.25 to break Raven Saunders' outdoor record of 19.33m/63-5 from 2016. 

Saunders still owns the top collegiate mark ever, as her NCAA indoor record of 19.56m/64-2.5 is another 10 meters farther than Ewen's new record.

Still, the weekend wasn't all peachy for Ewen as she was narrowly defeated in her bread and butter event, the hammer throw.

Brooke Anderson of NAU led for the entire competition and threw a winning mark of 74.20m/243-5, the second-best in collegiate history behind only Ewen's 74.53m collegiate record from earlier this season

Anderson bypassed Ewen's 73.32m, the mark which broke a 10-year-old NCAA record and won the national title in the event one year ago. The win was pretty shocking as Ewen has been one of the most dominant performers in her event in the past calendar year.

Sydney McLaughlin Has A Weekend

Kentucky freshman Sydney McLaughlin made her highly anticipated collegiate debut in the 400m hurdles the only way she knows how: with a bang. The Olympian broke her own world junior record in the event with a mark of 53.6, chopping 0.22 off her previous record of 53.82. 

McLaughlin's time is the fastest in the world this year and she now owns eight of the top 11 fastest U20 marks in world history, including the top five.

Did we mention she won the race by more than four seconds?

The mark is No. 4 all-time in the collegiate ranks, and it's surely only a matter of time before she takes down training partner Kori Carter's NCAA record of 53.21.

She was racing at the National Relay Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas, so the 18-year-old was also on relay duty. She aided Kentucky to the overall women's team title with legs on the winning 4x100m and 4x400m relays—splitting 49.47 on the third leg of the latter race. 

Watch highlights from the Kentucky women's 4x100m and 4x400m relays below:

The Wildcats did not eclipse their NCAA-leading mark of 3:26.92 (set at the Florida Relays), but their 3:27.07 set a new facility record at the University of Arkansas. Their 42.84 winning time in the 4x1 ranks No. 4 in the NCAA this year.

So Does Jasmine Camacho-Quinn

Much of the media attention focuses on the Wildcats' McLaughlin, but she's not even the only Olympian on the team. Jasmine Camacho-Quinn represented Puerto Rico in the 100m hurdles in 2016, the same year she captured the NCAA title in that event. 

This weekend, she delivered in both the 4x1 and 4x4 relays—with a 51.4 split—as well as her individual race, clocking a wind-aided NCAA leader of 12.53 (+2.2).

This is also a very good tweet.

Kahmari Montgomery's 43.38 Is The Most Insane Relay Split Of The Weekend

Sorry, Sydney... Kahmari Montgomery wins this one. 

The Houston junior, who competed for the University of Missouri for the past two years, split 43.48 to anchor the Cougars to the first College Men's 4x400m Championship of America title in program history at the Penn Relays. McLaughlin's 49.47 split was certainly impressive, but consider that Montgomery has only broken 45 seconds once in his entire career: last weekend, he ran 44.91 at the Mt. SAC Relays and before that, his PB was 45.13!

More on Montgomery's heroic anchor leg here.

Skip to 1:43 in the video to see Montgomery's anchor leg.

A Very Unranked List Of Other Great Splits & Marks From This Weekend

— Karissa Schweizer split 4:32.19 to anchor Missouri to the Drake Relays DMR title, the second win in school history. She also set an event record in the 5K with her winning time of 15:23.21; she finished more than an entire minute ahead of the runner-up. Fingers crossed she takes a shot at Jenny Simpson's outdoor collegiate record of 15:07.64 this season.

— The Penn Relays are widely regarded as just as important as the national championships for Villanova, and the hometown team delivered under pressure with three Championship of America titles on the women's side in the 4x800m, 4x1500m, and DMR, while the men won the DMR and 4xMile. 

Siofra Cleirigh Buttner went out in 57 on the anchor leg of the 4x8 and managed to hold things together for a 2:02.63 split and event title; their overall time of 8:19.98 was just two seconds off their own NCAA and facility record of 8:17.45, set at Franklin Field in 2013. 

Casey Comber anchored both of the Nova men's winning relays; he split 3:59.79 on the DMR anchor to hold off NCAA indoor men's runners-up Notre Dame for the title, though the Fighting Irish's Yared Nuguse boasted the fastest split of the day in 3:58.69.

The Villanova men have now won 25 DMR titles at the Penn Relays. The second-most successful team behind Nova is Arkansas, with 15 titles.

— It's not a split, but speaking of Notre Dame: star Anna Rohrer returned to competition for the first time since last year's NCAA outdoor championships, where she placed 16th in the 10K while racing with a herniated disc. In her return this weekend, the redshirt sophomore won the Penn Relays 10K by 20 seconds in 33:25.24. That's well off her PB of 31:58.99 (NCAA No. 8 all-time), but still, it ranks No. 11 in the NCAA this season and certainly shows a promising return to form.

— Runner-up behind Rohrer in the Penn Relays 10K was Taryn Cordani of Ithaca, whose 33:44.06 performance ranks No. 3 all-time in NCAA Division III history. The record belongs to Mary Proulx, who ran 33:21.8 at the 2003 Penn Relays.

— Ashley Henderson of San Diego State took over the NCAA lead in the 100m with a 10.98 (+0.3) at the Desert Heat Classic, defeating everyone from Oregon in the process. 

— Sammy Watson of Texas A&M moved up to No. 3 on the NCAA list for 800m with a 2:02.49 win at the LSU Invitational. Teammate Jazmine Fray leads collegiates with her 2:01.18 season-best.

— The LSU women keep inching closer to breaking their 4x1 collegiate record, currently shared with Oregon at 42.12. The Tigers ran 42.49 this weekend.

— The Penn Relays men's SMR saw Isiah Harris split a gnarly 1:44.74 to steal the win from Clemson and Mississippi State, all of whom finished in 3:15. John Lewis anchored for Clemson in 1:48.64 and Dejon Devroe anchored for Miss State in 1:47.82.

— The women's Penn Relays Championship of America SMR saw Clemson earn the title with an anchor from freshman Kamryn McIntosh in 2:03.27; the split is especially impressive given the former national high school record holder's battle with a rare heart condition. Susan Aneno split 2:03.55 to help UConn nab second, while Danae Rivers split 2:02.98 to anchor Penn State to third.

— Running a good three seconds faster than Clemson in the women's SMR, though, was Stanford, which clocked 3:41.59 to win the National Relay Championships with a 2:00.9 anchor leg from Olivia Baker. The time is the third-fastest in NCAA history.

— It doesn't seem quite as exciting after Kahmari Montgomery's 43.38, but Michael Norman locked up his second straight sub-45 of the outdoor season with a 44.74 win at the USC vs UCLA dual meet. Teammate Rai Benjamin made his Trojans debut in the 400m hurdles with a 49.84 win.

Yulimar Rojas Sets Indoor Triple Jump World Record In Madrid

Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas set the women’s indoor triple jump world record on Friday in Madrid with a 15.43m leap. With it, the 24-year-old eclipsed Tatyana Lebedeva’s 15.36m mark that had stood since 2004.

Ababel Yeshaneh, Not Brigid Kosgei, Sets Half Marathon World Record

What was expected to be a coronation of marathon world record holder Brigid Kosgei as the half marathon queen instead turned into an introduction of a worthy counterpart as Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh stunned the Kenyan on Friday morning (Thursday night in the U.S.) at the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon by setting a 64:31 world record.

The 10 Best Performances From The Weekend

Between more Mondo Duplantis' theatrics in Glasgow, a ridiculous road 5k world record in Monaco and plenty of excitement stateside, there was a lot to get excited about this past weekend in track and field.

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Don't Look Now... The NAU Lumberjacks Could Win NCAA Indoors

With just two weeks left to qualify for NCAAs a majority of the top-16 fields are coming into form on the distance side. The NAU men are currently slated to qualify ten entries across three distance events.

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Joshua Cheptegei Smashes Road 5k World Record In 12:51

A little over a month after Rhonex Kipruto took down Joshua Cheptegei’s road 10k world record, the Ugandan has answered back in a big way by running 12:51 on Sunday in Monaco to smash Kipruto’s 5k world record. Cheptegei cut a whopping 27 seconds off the 13:18 that the Kenyan ran on Jan. 12, a run that came en route to Kipruto’s 26:24 10k record.

Mondo Does It Again, Breaks Pole Vault World Record


Mondo Duplantis is ushering in a new era of the pole vault, one centimeter at a time. Just a week removed from his world record clearance of 6.17m, the 20-year-old vaulted 6.18m at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix in Glasgow.

U.S. Indoor Women's Preview: Can Purrier Chase Down Houlihan?

The most interesting match-up of the indoor season materialized quickly. Last Saturday evening at the Millrose Games, Elinor Purrier dropped a stunning 4:16.85 mile to break the American record and dispatch a stacked field in a race that turned into a festival of personal bests and national records. It was a career-defining race for Purrier. A run fast enough to legitimately raise the question if she could beat America’s best mid-distance runner, Shelby Houlihan. This weekend at the US Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, Purrier will have two chances (the 3000m on Friday and the 1500m on Saturday) to pull it off. 

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2020 High School Track & Field State Championships Central

2020 High School Indoor Track & Field State Championships:

Weekend Watch Guide: Simpson, Jones Chase Fast 5k At BU

One of the busiest weekends of the 2020 indoor track season is upon us, and FloTrack has you covered with several live events across the country. Boston will once again host some of the top professional and collegiate distance runners in the U.S., including Jenny Simpson, Dani Jones and Tyler Day.

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