DI women's outdoor track and field: Arkansas takes home its first outdoor championship
EUGENE, Ore. – Arkansas captured its first ever women’s NCAA Outdoor team title with 72 points on Saturday at Hayward Field in front of 12,947 fans on a breezy, sun-splashed day. The attendance over the four days of the national championship meet reached 43,419.
The Razorbacks turned back defending champion Oregon, who offered a strong challenge with 62 points, as Dominique Scott completed her distance double with a victory in the 5,000 meters (15:57.07) while Arkansas also generated points from three runner-up efforts in the steeplechase, 400m and 4x400.
“Actually, when we were underneath the pavilion just about to go out on the track, I saw that Oregon was ahead and I just knew that I had to do whatever I could to score as many points as I could in the 5k, so that really motivated me throughout the race,” Scott said.
Arkansas head coach Lance Harter added: "We're ecstatic. We kept worrying about Oregon putting something together. The one-two finish in the 200 and to win the 100, if they had everybody healthy, they could score 90 points.
“They just did a fantastic job inspiring us to stay a step ahead. Obviously the kids continue to rise to the challenge.”
Raevyn Rogers defended her title in the 800 (2:00.75) while a sprint double in the 100 and 200 meters by freshman Ariana Washington (10.95w, 22.21) kept the Ducks in the title chase. Finishing behind Washington as a runner-up in the 200m was Deajah Stevens (22.25).
Washington joins only one other freshman, USC’s Angela Williams in 1999, to have won the NCAA 100m title and becomes the fourth national champion in the event for the Ducks, which have all been claimed in the past five years. In the 200m, Washington is the first frosh to win the NCAA title and the first freshman to sweep the 100 and 200.
“Last year, I remember watching Jenna (Prandini) win both the 100 and 200 and you just don’t think, ‘that’s going to be me next year,’ that doesn’t ever cross your mind,” Washington said. “To come out today and do that is just unreal. It hasn’t fully hit me yet.”
Supplied with an American and collegiate record performance in the triple jump from Keturah Orji, as well as a victory in the heptathlon by Kendell Williams (6,225 points), and a runner-up in the high jump by Madeline Fagan (6-0 ¾), Georgia finished third in team scoring with 41 points.
Orji reached a distance of 47 feet, 8 inches (14.29) in the fifth round to increase the lead she established in round two. That mark betters the American record of 47-5 (14.45) set by Tiombe Hurd in 2004 as well as the collegiate record of 46-9 set in 2011 by Kim Williams of Florida State. It also topped the NCAA meet record of 46-7 ¼ (14.20) from 2012.
“I can never tell how far the jump is, but I can tell whether or not it’s a good jump,” noted Orji. “My other three jumps were not too good, so my coaches were pushing me and I was really happy with that fifth-round jump.”
Courtney Okolo guided Texas to a fourth-place team finish with 36 points in winning a second 400m (50.36) title and anchoring the Longhorns to a 4x400 relay win (3:27.64) with an anchor split of 50.45.
Texas A&M finished fifth with 35 points as Shamier Little claimed a third consecutive 400m hurdle title in a time of 53.51, the second fastest-ever collegiate time. Little is just the second female 400m hurdler to win three titles, matching UCLA’s Janeene Vickers (1989-90-91).
A third consecutive day of collegiate record performances started with New Mexico’s Courtney Frerichs in the 3,000-meter steeplechase as she grinded out a 9:24.41 victory that bettered the previous collegiate and meet record of 9:25.54 set by Colorado’s Jenny Barringer in 2009.
Runner-up to Frerichs was Jessica Kamilos of Arkansas (9:41.28), who picked up valuable points for the Razorbacks, while New Hampshire’s Elinor Purrier (9:47.71) finished third after placing seventh last year.
A third circuit of the track in 1:14.79 moved Frerichs away from the early pack and she remained consistent with laps of 1:15.85, 1:15.35, and 1:15.35 before finishing with 1:13.99 and 1:10.57 to break the record.
“I think I knew it was going to be possible, but I knew it was going to be hard,” explained Frerichs. “My coach was yelling at me every lap that I could do it and the crowd really got me going on that last lap.
“It was a big goal. The primary goal was to win, because obviously this was my last chance and I was just kind of soaking in the last opportunity to be in a collegiate meet, but the record was definitely in the back of my head.”
A windy 100m hurdle final was claimed by Kentucky freshman Jasmine Camacho-Quinn in 12.54 (3.8 wind) seconds. Camacho-Quinn is the first freshman to win an NCAA title in this event and equaled the fourth fastest NCAA final, under any conditions.
Runner-up was UTEP frosh Tobi Amusan in 12.79 while Oregon’s Sasha Wallace edged Michigan’s Cindy Ofili for third, by 0.006, as both clocked 12.81.
Mississippi State’s Marta Freitas led the field for a majority of the race, but celebrating a stride before the finish line almost gave the race away to a charging Elise Cranny of Stanford. Freitas claimed the win, however, in 4:09.53 as Cranny crossed the finish line in 4:09.54.
After an opening 300m of 51.80 behind Dartmouth’s Dana Giordano (51.68), Freitas opted the lead the field with laps of 68.29 and 66.31. Then she finished with a 63.15 to barely hold off the 62.85 final lap by Cranny. This is the second consecutive victory for Mississippi State in the NCAA 1,500m and fourth title since 2003.
LSU claimed the 4x100 relay title in 42.65, improving upon the Hayward Stadium record of 42.76 that LSU set in 1996, as USC (42.90) and Oregon (42.91) finished second and third.
A clearance of 6-2 secured the high jump title for Kansas State’s Kimberly Williamson. In the discus, Kelsey Card of Wisconsin hit a mark of 208-5 for the win over a 201-7 from Florida State’s Kellion Knibb and a 201-6 by Stanford’s Valarie Allman.