2013 Outdoor Season In Review - USA Athletics Scholarships

2013 Outdoor Season In Review

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The Brit/Irish performances at the 2013 NCAA National Outdoor Track and Field Championships were outstanding. Two National titles, a further 1 All-American, and 3 top-10 finishes. Had it not been for some unfortunate events both in races, and away from the track, these numbers could have been even better.

Away from the Brit/Irish performances, the Championships produced some of the fastest times ever seen, particularly in the sprint events. Red hot favourites Lawi Lalang of Arizona, Betsy Saina of Iowa State, and Abby D’Agostino of Dartmouth dominated their respective events in the 5k and 10k, with Lalang doing the double on the men’s side. In the field, where the Brit/Irish challenge was most successful, many of the favourites missed out on the victory, highlighting the unpredictable nature of the NCAA. Other outstanding performances included 2 women running sub-54 in the 400m Hurdles and Olympians Derek Drouin of Indiana and Erik Kynard of Kansas State battling it out to the end in the Men’s High Jump.

End of Season Awards

With the season finally drawing to a close, it’s time to reflect on a successful year for the Brit/Irish athletes, and pick out some of what we think to be the best performances and athletes from the Outdoor track season.

Best Male Freshman

Zak Seddon – Florida State. A phenomenal 8:34.42 PB in the Steeple, an impressive double in the ACC Conference Championships (1st Steeple, 4th 1500m) and finished the season ranked 2nd in the NCAA. If not for his fall, who knows what Zak could have done.

Honourable MentionAdam Damadzic – TCU making it to the regional meet, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake – LSU for competing in the very difficult individual 200m, 4x100m and 4x400m at the national meet.

Best Female Freshman

Freya Jones – Georgia. NCAA National Javelin Champion. Can’t say it better than that.

Honourable MentionGeorgia Peel – Florida State. Running 4:14.40 and finishing the season as the highest ranked Brit/Irish 1500m runner.

Best Male Senior

Breandan O’Neill – Florida State. Finishing the season ranked 9th in the 10k (28:57.44), O’Neill ran to the form book to finish 9th in the national final only 2 seconds away from a coveted All-American spot. Also won the ACC 10k.

Honourable MentionTomas Cotter – Wichita State finished 9th in the National Steeple final, double Conference champion in the 1500m/3k Steeple, James Alaka – University of Washington for national appearance in the 200m and 4x100m whilst running on an injured hamstring.

Best Female Senior

Jo Moultrie – New Mexico. National qualifier in the women’s 1500m. Double Conference champion in the 800m and 1500m. 2nd highest ranked Brit in the 1500m with 4:14.44 (12th nationally).

Honourable MentionThe Okoro sisters: both qualified for the national meet in their respective events (Ese in the 400mH and Ejiro in the 800m), top 4 finishes at their Conference, and both part of their 4x400m relay team at Regionals.

Best Male Track Performance

Ieuan Thomas – Western State. At Mt. SAC this year, Thomas lowered his PB by 14 seconds to run 8:46.20. Not content with one outstanding performance, Thomas came back the next day to run a 13:59.89, a 25 second PB.

Honourable MentionLuke Caldwell – New Mexico for his 13:29.94 at Stanford, Robbie Farnham-Rose – Alabama for his 4th place finish at the SEC Championships in the 1500m, beating Jamaican 5k record holder (and junior 1500m record holder) Kemoy Campbell of Arkansas.

Best Female Track Performance

The New Mexico 1500m Girls. The New Mexico trio of Jo MoultrieCharlotte Arter and Chloe Anderson all negotiated their way successfully through the difficult early rounds of Regionals to qualify for the national meet. A remarkable achievement for the three ladies.

Honourable MentionKatie Clark – Butler for her double qualification from Regionals, Eli Kirk – UAB for her qualification from Regionals to Nationals in the 5k.

Best Male Field Performance

Nick Miller – Oklahoma State. Miller’s performance at the Regional meet was nothing short of extraordinary. He was the only man to throw over 70m in both the East and the West, a feat he reproduced 3 times. His 71.60m was a PB, and this mark was the longest in the both regional competitions by almost 5 meters. Remarkable stuff.

Honourable MentionJax Thoirs – University of Washington for his new Scottish record vault of 5.40m at the Ken Shannon Invitational in May, James McLachlan – Loyola (Chicago) for his 7.86m Long Jump at Mt. SAC.

Best Female Field Performance

Lorraine Ugen – TCU. This could only come down to two performances. But Ugen edges it with a clutch third round effort at the national meet of 6.77m that jumped her from facing elimination into the lead, something she never relinquished on her way to the national title.

Honourable MentionFreya Jones – Georgia – national title winning throw.

Male Athlete of the Year

Luke Caldwell – New Mexico. Not content with being a 2-time All-American this year, Caldwell completed the rare accolade of All-American across all three seasons with his 7th place finish at Nationals. His 13:29.94 in the 5k earlier this year at Payton Jordan speaks for itself. He was also the double Conference champion, winning the 5k and 10k and has been pre selected for the Euro U23’s squad. A fantastic year all round.

Female Athlete of the Year

Katie Clark – Butler. Clark burst onto the NCAA scene this year with an All-American finish in the XC Championships, and after red-shirting indoors, she delivered again in the outdoor season. She gained double qualification for Nationals in the 5k/10k, she was double Conference champion (1500m/5k), and she finished the season ranked inside the top 35 nationally in 3 separate events (1500-35th/5k-6th/10k-21st). Great range.

Best Coach

Pat Henry – Texas A&M. Men’s team tied for the championship with Florida, and women’s team finished 2nd. Incredible effort all around from the team, with points coming from all disciplines.

Breakthrough of the Year

Elinor Kirk – UAB. Entering the NCAA this year, Kirk was a 17-flat 5k runner. By the end of the season, Kirk had two top-3 finishes in her Conference, qualified comfortably from the Regional meet to finish 19th at the National Championships, and had cut over a minute off her 5k PB to run 15:59.57. A remarkable first year for Kirk, and hopefully she can build on this successful year in the future.

5 Things we learnt about the NCAA Outdoor Track this year:

1. The Brits/Irish are getting better: In 2012, there were 17 Brit/Irish athletes competing, with 2 All-Americans and a highest finishing spot of 6th (Rich Peters, 1500m and Sarah Waldron, 10,000m). This year, there were 20 individual athletes competing, with two victories (Lorraine Ugen, Long Jump and Freya Jones, Javelin) and a further 1 All-American (Luke Caldwell, 5000m).

2. Sprinters in the NCAA are rather good: we saw sub-10s/20s/45s in the Men’s 100m/200m/400m. A sub-11 in the Women’s 100m. Many of the sprinters times (including the relays) were inside the world’s top-10 fastest times. If the University of Florida’s 4x400m team were a country, they would be ranked 3rd in the world at time of writing.

3. Take NOTHING for granted: anything can happen in this sport. Highly ranked Zak Seddon was looking easy in his Steeple heat until a nasty fall at the water barrier. Alex Hatz of Wisconsin basically gave away his 1500m final spot by not running through the line and not realizing someone was coming up on his shoulder. Going into the last event, the 4x400m, 2nd ranked Texas A&M had to avoid last place, and hope Florida didn’t win in order to avoid a team tie for 1st place. Texas A&M proceeded to drop the baton, and Florida won at a canter to tie the team competition.

4. Regional Rankings mean nothing: take Chloe Anderson for example – ranked 31st going into Regionals, qualifies 21st out of 24th into the 2nd round, and then takes the last qualifying spot (12th) to Nationals.

5. Distance programs just don’t win Outdoor Team Championships: the top 3 teams at the NCAA XC Championships on the Men’s side put up a combined 19 points, which would place them 12th. The women do somewhat better, but the top 3 team from XC (Oregon, Stanford and Providence) finished 3rd, 6th and 49th.

 

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