Devon Allen winning the 110m hurdles at the 2014 NCAA Championships (© Kirby Lee)
Texas A&M University's women and the University of Oregon men secured prestigious NCAA (US collegiate) titles after four days of competition in Eugene on Saturday (14) but the headline story beyond US borders will be Trayvon Bromell's 100m world junior record* of 9.97 the previous evening.
Oregon – known as the Ducks – put together a total of 88 points for their first men’s win since 1984 and highest men's score since 1985, when the current system was inaugurated.
They were buoyed by a two-three-four finish in the 5000m, along with individual wins in the 10,000m, 1500m, 110m hurdles, and the javelin.
Texas A&M, the Aggies, returned to the top in the women’s contest after winning three in a row from 2009 to 2011.
Bromell, although he hails from Florida, runs for another famous Texas institution Baylor University, and with a breeze of 1.8m/s on his back he became the first junior event ever to run under 10 seconds with his run of 9.97 on Friday, as he took 0.04 off the former world junior record which he jointly held with Trinidad and Tobago’s Darrel Brown.
In fact, he had run even faster in Wednesday’s preliminary rounds with a time of 9.92, but that time was with an over-the-limit 2.2m/s wind.
Still only 18 and a first-year student at Baylor University, Bromell could potentially return to Hayward Field next month as Eugene hosts the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships between 22-27 July.
Further drama came on Friday night in the men’s 5000m.
Oregon's prodigious first-year student Edward Cheserek had taken the 10,000m title on Thursday, and looked to have the measure of Arizona's Lawi Lalang, but Kenya’s Lalang came back to defend his title in the shorter race with a meeting record of 13:18.36.
Behind Lalang, Cheserek finished second in 13:18.71 and led his teammates Trevor Dunbar and Eric Jenkins home in third and fourth to give the home fans everything short of a title.
Crousers extend family tradition
The victorious Oregon team saw a number of other outstanding performances, notably from javelin victor Sam Crouser, who carried on a family tradition with a 76.98m throw in the last round.
Crouser, an Oregon native, followed in the footsteps of his uncle Brian, an NCAA javelin champion in 1982 and 1985, and his father Dean, shot put winner in 1982 and back-to-back discus champion in 1982 and 1983.
He also watched his cousin Ryan, who is at the University of Texas, successfully defend his shot put title on Wednesday night with 21.12m.
The extended Crouser family tally now adds up to nine throws titles at the NCAAs.
The 110m hurdles victory for Oregon's Devon Allen in 13.16 was a meeting record, taking 0.05 off the former mark set by the current world record-holder Aries Merritt in 2006. Allen is the first collegiate hurdler to run under 13.20 twice in the same season since Renaldo Nehemiah. In the process, Allen also broke Nehemiah's US age-19 best.
Mac Fleet's 1500m win was Oregon's 12th title at the distance, counting pre-metric mile races, and Fleet's second; his foil was Lalang, again, just 0.04 behind.
Another notable individual performance came from Florida's Marquis Dendy, who completed a triple and long jump double. He won the long jump in the fifth round with an 8.00m leap after battling difficult headwinds through the first three rounds.
He then came back on Saturday for his second title and sailed out to a wind-assisted 17.05m in the first round, a good enough mark to win the current and for him to become the first man to win the horizontal jumps double since Walter Davis in 2002.
Little and Nelvis provide hurdles highlights
Texas A&M gathered most of their 66 points from four victories: the 200m, 4x100m, 400m hurdles and discus. In doing so, they were able to counter the Oregon’s high-scoring and multi-talented Jenna Prandini, who took second in the 200m, third in the 100m, and won the long jump.
A&M’s Shamier Little won the long hurdles race in 55.07, making her the first freshman to win that race since Lashinda Demus in 2002 and giving her the six fastest junior times this year in. She set 2014 world junior leading marks in both her semi-final and final, and her performance moves her into the world junior all-time top 10.
“The goal was to set a PR, which is what I did,” said Little.
Kamaria Brown's win over Prandini in the 200m was a thriller, with both Brown and Prandini being assigned the time of a wind-assisted 22.63, with the former eventually awarded the win by 0.007.
A&M's 4x100m relay team, featuring Brown, ran 42.80 for the win.
Discus thrower Shelbi Vaughan was A&M's other individual champion with a 60.02m toss.
Kendell Williams, who is at the University of Georgia and who set a world junior indoor record in the pentathlon at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, fulfilled the predictions and took the heptathlon with a mark of 5854 points despite falling in the 800m.
Her most notable event was the 100m hurdles, which she won in 12.99 – the fastest time by a junior athlete this year and easily the fastest ever performance in the sprint hurdles by a junior heptathlete.
“The hurdles were a great start, that’s what kind of set the cushion for the rest of my performances. It was definitely what I needed to maintain a lead throughout the rest of the competition,” said Williams who, like Bromell, could feature at the forthcoming IAAF World Junior Championships.
The 100m hurdles was won by Sharika Nelvis of Arkansas State in a wind-aided 12.52, which would have been a 2014 world leading time if not for the 2.8m/s tailwind she enjoyed. She just beat Louisiana's State University's Jasmin Stowers by 0.02.
Among the other top performances, Florida's Dedrick Dukes won the men's 200m in 19.91 with a barely over-the-limit 2.1m/s following wind.
Parker Morse for the IAAF
*subject to the usual ratification procedures