The Sports Examiner

ATHLETICS: Steiner rolls to 21.80 collegiate record; Hall second in 400H and wins hep; Florida adds women’s title at NCAA Champs in Eugene

NCAA heptathlon winner and 400 m hurdles runner-up Anna Hall (Photo: University of Florida)

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The rainy final day of the 2022 NCAA Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene was all about the women’s events, with another world-leading performance.

Kentucky junior Abby Steiner equaled the NCAA Championships meet record in the semis (22.02) and had more to give in the final.

She got off well, but stomped on the gas to pass LSU’s Favour Ofili – the collegiate record holder at 21.96 – into the straight and ran away from the field to win in a world-leading 21.80 (wind: +1.3 m/s). That’s a collegiate record and now puts Steiner in position to challenge for the U.S. Worlds team in two weeks on the same track.

Ofili (NGR) couldn’t handle Steiner, but was strong on the straight to finish second in 22.05, with Ohio State’s Anavia Battle third in 22.33.

Then Steiner took the stick in the 4×400 m relay about 25 m back on the third leg, but she blazed a 48.92 split to take a 5m lead (yowsah!) and then handed off to Alexis Holmes, who finished off a 3:22.56 victory over Texas (3:23.35).

The next-most-amazing performances came from Florida’s Anna Hall, who breezed to the heptathlon title, but also contested the open 400 m hurdles final just 22 minutes prior to the heptathlon 800 m!

In the 400 m hurdles final – at 3:57 p.m. – it was Arkansas sophomore Britton Wilson, the collegiate leader, who took the lead right away and finished strong to win clearly in 53.86. Hall stormed down the straight and ran into second in 54.76, ahead of Lauren Hoffman (Duke: 55.58).

Hall then lined up for the 800 m at 4:19 p.m. and loped to a 10th-place finish in 2:21.23, finishing with a brilliant 6,385 points to 5,939 for Washington’s Ida Eikeng (NOR). Wow.

The rest of the meet was pretty good, too.

Julien Alfred (LCA) had the fastest time of the season at 10.81 and the Texas sophomore did not disappoint, holding off Kemba Nelson (Oregon/JAM) at the line, as both were timed in 11.02 (+0.2). Steiner was third in 11.08.

Florida’s Talitha Diggs looked like the favorite in the 400 m, but she was trailing Kentucky’s Holmes coming into the final straight. But she pumped her arms hard and took the lead with about 75 m left and finished in 49.99, no. 4 in the world for 2022.

That was just enough to beat Jamaica’s Charokee Young (Texas A&M), who surged at the end to pass Holmes, as did Texas junior Kennedy Simon, 50.65-50.69-50.71.

Baylor’s Aliyah Miller led the 800 m final for 700 m, but was passed by Boise State’s Kristie Schoffield in the home straight and – to her own surprise – won in 2:01.09, a lifetime best. Villanova’s McKenna Keegan and Gabija Galvydyte (Oklahoma State/LTU), 2:01.71-2:01.76.

LSU sophomore Alia Armstrong didn’t let the rain concern her, taking charge from the gun and leading from wire-to-wire, winning in 12.58 (-0.2). USC soph Jasmine Jones got a lifetime best of 12.66 for second.

BYU’s Courtney Wayment, fourth at the U.S. Olympic Trials last year, demolished the collegiate record in the Steeple, running away in 9:16.00. That moves her to no. 5 all-time U.S.! The record had been 9:24.41 by New Mexico’s Courtney Frerichs from 2016.

Texas A&M’s Lamara Distin (JAM) stood second on the world list coming into the meet at 1.97 m (6-5 1/2), and won at 1.95 m (6-4 3/4).

Jasmine Moore (Florida) won the triple jump with her third-round jump of 14.32 m (46-11 3/4), and moved to no. 9 on the world list for 2022. She’s the 2022 NCAA indoor and outdoor champ in the triple jump, to go along with her indoor and outdoor long jump titles in 2022!

North Carolina State’s Katelyn Tuohy took over the 5,000m with 600 m to go, winning in 15:18.39. Florida frosh Parker Valby finished second and clinched the team title for the Gators, finishing second in 15:20.10, a huge lifetime best.

Florida finished with 74 points to top Texas (64), Kentucky (50) and LSU and Texas A&M (39).

Next up for many of these athletes will be the U.S. Championships, again in Eugene, in two weeks.

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