2018 DI NCAA East Preliminary Round

Sydney McLaughlin's NCAA Record & Nine Other Moments That Made Us Gasp

Sydney McLaughlin's NCAA Record & Nine Other Moments That Made Us Gasp

Top ten moments from the 2018 NCAA DI outdoor conference championship weekend.

May 14, 2018 by Johanna Gretschel
Sydney McLaughlin's NCAA Record & Nine Other Moments That Made Us Gasp

We're surprised, but also not surprised... the sport's biggest players delivered during one of the first high-stakes weekends of the year, NCAA DI conference championship weekend. Below are the top 10 moments from the action.

Sydney McLaughlin Smashes NCAA Record For 400m Hurdles

Don't say you didn't see this one coming. After her phenomenal indoor season (4th in the 200m, 2nd in the 400m at NCAAs) and the flat-track PBs she's been laying down (22.39, 50.07), we all knew something special would happen when Kentucky super-frosh Sydney McLaughlin finally focused on her bread-and-butter event, the 400m hurdles, during the championship season.

The 18-year-old ran 52.75 to win the SEC title by more than three seconds and crush the prior NCAA record by nearly half a second—the old record of 53.21 belonged to one of her training partners, reigning world champion Kori Carter.

McLaughlin's mark ties her with Shamier Little as the fifth-fastest woman in American history, and ninth-fastest in world history. It also eclipses Carter's all-time PB of 52.95, set last year.

The American record is 52.47, set by Lashinda Demus in 2011, and the world record is 52.34, set by Yuliya Pechonkina of Russia in 2003. 

LSU Women Claim 4x100m Relay NCAA Record 

After a long year in which the LSU women and Oregon women had to share the NCAA record in the 4x100m relay with twin marks of 42.12 in 2017, the Lady Tigers took the laurels for themselves with a dominant 42.05 win at the SEC Championships.

The quartet of Mikiah Brisco, Kortnei Johnson, Rachel Misher and Aleia Hobbs teamed up for the win and the record, which seemed inevitable all year since Brisco and Hobbs are reigning NCAA champions and sub-11-second performers. 

Hobbs later won the 100m in 10.92, a new stadium record.

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn Runs One-Hundredth Of A Second Off The NCAA 100m Hurdles Record

A lot of the attention at Kentucky goes to McLaughlin, but 2016 NCAA champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn enjoys a similar collegiate reign over the short hurdles. The senior, who competed for Puerto Rico at the Rio Olympics, dominated the SEC 100m hurdles final in 12.40 (+1.2). 

Her previous best was 12.58, and her new PB moves her up to No. 2 on the NCAA all-time rankings. Reigning Olympic champion Brianna McNeal set the collegiate record of 12.39 in 2013, just one-hundredth of a second faster than Camacho-Quinn's winning time on Sunday.

Training partner Keni Harrison's world record is 12.20.

Grant Holloway Runs No. 2 All-Time For 110m Hurdles

Florida's Grant Holloway did Grant Holloway things at the SEC Championships, improving his school record in the 110m hurdles from 13.16 to 13.15 and surpassing Devon Allen in the all-time collegiate rankings to officially take over the No. 2 spot. 

Renaldo Nehemiah's 13.00 has stood since 1979 and is certainly one of the more challenging records in the book, but the Gator has two more years to swing at it.

Holloway also won the long jump and helped the Gators place third in the 4x100m and 4x400-meter relays. He tied with Georgia's Denzel Comenentia as the meet's individual high-point-scorer to lead Florida to their sixth outdoor team title and first since 2015.

Kendall Ellis Goes 49.99, No. 2 All-Time For 400m

Indoor collegiate record holder Kendall Ellis of USC blew the doors off the Pac-12 with a 49.99 400m victory over Oregon's Makenzie Dunmore, who ran 50.63, as both women broke the meet record.

Ellis is only the second woman in NCAA DI history to break 50 seconds in an open race. The other is Courtney Okolo of Texas, who set the NCAA record at 49.71 in 2016.

The Trojan's previous open best was her indoor collegiate record of 50.34.

Kentucky Women's 4x4 Makes History

The Wildcat women captured the SEC 4x400m relay title for the first time in program history with a time of 3:25.99 to set a new championship record and put themselves at No. 11 on the NCAA all-time list.

Three Men Run Under 44.5 For 400m

The men's 400m is destined to be one of the hottest races at the NCAA Championships, and world indoor record holder Michael Norman is far from guaranteed the win. While Norman threw down a 44.40 to win the Pac-12 title, he was only the third-fastest man in the NCAA this weekend. 

Nathon Allen of Auburn and Nathan Strother of Tennessee battled to marks of 44.28 and 44.34 at the SEC Championships, which rank the athletes No. 5 and tied for No. 8 in NCAA history, respectively.

And that's not even including Allen's teammate, Akeem Bloomfield, who has run 44.74 and was second at NCAA indoors, or Baylor's Wil London, who ran 44.7 earlier this season and won the Big 12 title this weekend.

Breakout Star Of The Weekend: Rachel Pocratsky

Virginia Tech junior Rachel Pocratsky put her name at the top of the NCAA leaderboard this weekend with an impressive double victory at the ACC Championships in the 1500m and 800m. She won the 1500m by four seconds over Jessica Harris of Notre Dame, running 4:10.03 for a new collegiate leader, ACC Championship meet record and school record.

She returned to the track just over an hour later to win a hot 800m in 2:03.36, a season's best. 

Pocratsky was sixth in the NCAA indoor 800m final this March, her first-ever appearance at the NCAA Championships, but it's likely she'll switch events to the 1500m now.

Five women in the NCAA have run 4:10 this year, but Pocratsky's time is the fastest by almost half a second.

Rhianwedd Price-Weimer Over Karissa Schweizer In SEC 1500m

You have to be a stud to take down five-time NCAA champion Karissa Schweizer in any event—even the 1500m. 

Rhianwedd Price-Weimer of Mississippi State showed she is definitely back to the form that saw her win the NCAA 1500m title in 2015 with a 65-second closer at the SEC Championships to blow Schweizer away by more than a second, 4:18.79 to 4:19.98. (At 1200m, they were near even).

After struggling with injury and missing the 2016 season—which saw her teammate Marta Freitas claim the 1500m crown—Price-Weimer has been inching back to relevance: ninth in the 2017 1500m final, fourth in this March's indoor mile final, and, this season as a fifth-year senior, conference champion once again and No. 2 on the NCAA descending order list behind Pocratsky.

Reigning SEC champion Nikki Hiltz of Arkansas—who finished third and second in the 2018 NCAA indoor mile and 2017 NCAA 1500m final—overcame her own injury-plagued season to take fourth in her final conference meet.

Justyn Knight Fourth In ACC 1500m, Then Leads Syracuse XC Attack On The 5K

It's rare for Syracuse's Justyn Knight to lose to collegiate athletes at this stage of his career, which made it all the more stunning when Vincent Ciattei and Diego Zarate of Virginia Tech and Yared Nuguse of Notre Dame blew by the two-time NCAA champion in the ACC 1500m final.

NCAA indoor mile runner-up Ciattei closed in 52.91 to lead his teammate across the line, 3:46.37 to 3:46.52, while Nuguse, who was in sixth place at the bell lap, closed nearly as fast in 52.95 to nip Knight, 3:46.86 to 3:46.96.

In true Knight fashion, though, the Canada native bounced back 2.5 hours later to lead an insane near-sweep of the men's 5K for Syracuse. 

Knight won the race in 13:58.69, followed by teammates Iliass Aouani, Colin Bennie and Aidan Tooker in second through fourth; VA Tech's Peter Seufer snuck into fifth, and Syracuse's Noah Affolder and Philo Germano took sixth and seventh while UVA's Lachlan Cook closed out scoring in eighth place.

If you're curious what 32 points in the 5K looks like, it's this...

The Orangemen pulled off a similar feat in the men's 10K with Aouani, Kevin James, Germano, Dominic Hockenbury and Joe Dragon scoring in the 2-3-5-6-7 positions behind event champion Seufer, who eked out the win by just one second over Aouani, 29:58.61 to 29:59.75.