Posted on May 7, 2021
Track & field dual meets at the college level might be on life support, but they aren’t dead yet, thanks in part to Pac-12 schools keeping their traditional rivalry meets alive.
Last weekend, a busy one across the Conference, featured the battle of LA between USC and UCLA. The Trojans dominated the men’s competition, trouncing the Bruins by a score of 114-42. The women’s meet was closer, but the Trojan women still won their seventh straight over UCLA, 93-70.
In the Bay Area, Cal and Stanford split the Big Meet, with Stanford getting a narrow win by the men, 85-75, while the Cal women held on for a 88-74 decision.
Earlier in the season, Washington won its rivalry meet with Washington State.
College duals typically do not result in a ton of top performances because of the emphasis on scoring maximum points over collecting PRs. But the USC-UCLA meet saw several meet and school records broken, as well as new national leaders rising to the top of their events.
The Trojan women got rolling right out of the gate by blazing to a meet record and nation-leading time of 42.63 in the 4 x 100 relay. Trojan veteran sprinter Tee Tee Terry kept it going with a 11.09 meet record in the 100 meters, #3 time nationally.
Anna Cockrell‘s nation-leading 55.59 in the 400 hurdles and USC’s 4 x 400 meet record of 3:29.72 closed out the meet—and the Bruins.
The highlight for both women’s teams, though, was the 400. Trojan senior Kaelin Roberts took over the national lead in that event with a 51.14 win, but barely edged Bruin soph Shae Anderson at the line.
In nearly pulling off the upset, Anderson ran a big PR of 51.16 to claim the second-best time nationally. Three USC women ran under 52 seconds and seven went under 53.50, demonstrating their extraordinary depth in the one-lapper.
UCLA’s Alyssa Wilson claimed another meet record in the hammer throw. Her 229-5 throw ranks behind only Cal’s Camryn Rogers in the national hammer standings. One of the bright spots on the day for UCLA, Wilson also bolstered the Bruins’ cause with a 58-02.5 in the shot and a 177-8 heave in the discus.
The men didn’t have as many record-setting performances, but Matthew Katnik set a new USC school record in the shot put with a mark of 68-1.50, second nationally behind ASU‘s Turner Washington.
Katnik’s teammate McKay Johnson finished second and took over the fifth spot on the NCAA D1 list. Trojan mid-distance specialist Isaiah Jewett set yet another meet record in the 800 at 1:45.80, and took over the national lead in that event.
One of Stanford’s best performances of the weekend came the night before the Big Meet at the West Coast Relays hosted by Fresno State. Senior Ella Donaghu set a new personal best of 15:29.42 in the 5000 meters, a time that is the third-best in NCAA ranks this season.
Standouts from several other Pac-12 schools also had notable performances at the aforementioned West Coast Relays.
Washington State’s Paul Ryan jumped to #7 nationally with his 3.37.73 in the 1500 and to #2 on WSU’s all-time list. Colorado‘s Eduardo Herrera finished sixth, two places behind Ryan, in the same race, and took down the CU school record with his 3:38.09 performance.
Washington’s Sam Tanner was less than a second behind Herrera and was followed in short order by Cougar Zach Stallings and Husky teammate Mick Stanovsky, as the first ten finishers in that fast 1500 went under 3:40, shaking up the national rankings in a major way.
On the women’s side at the West Coast Relays, Poppy Tank of Utah broke the school record in the 10,000 meters, running 32:52.65 to move to #6 nationally. Charisma Taylor of WSU jumped 44-2.75 in the triple jump to take down the school record while also breaking into the NCAA seasonal top ten list at #9.
There was also some great action at the Desert Heat Classic in Tucson on Saturday.
Oregon‘s phenomenal freshman sprinter, Micah Williams, exploded out of the blocks in his first 100 meter race of the year and ran 10.03 into a -1.0 headwind! In March, Williams won the NCAA 60 meters indoors, even though his reaction time was the slowest in the finals.
One suspects he’s been working on his start because it seemed like he had a two stride lead in this race before his opposition got out of the blocks. Williams is now ranked third nationally in the 100, and, if he continues to start that well, best of luck catching him because he will be ahead.
At the same meet, Arizona‘s equally phenomenal freshman, Johnnie Blockburger, won the 400 in a time of 45.25. Blockburger is fifth nationally on the strength of his 44.71 400 three weeks ago, and his coach, Fred Harvey, had to emphasize to the media after the meet that 45.25 is still a really fast time even though it’s not 44.71!
Arizona’s Lillian Lowe and Keilan Teran went 1-2 in the high jump and took over the fifth and eighth spots nationally with their 6-1.5 and 6.0.5 marks, respectively.
Finally, another school record was set in Corvallis at the High Performance Meet by Oregon State‘s Kaylee Mitchell, who was profiled last week here on SportsPac12.com. Running in her first steeplechase race in nearly three years, Mitchell ran alone and won easily in 9:57.40.
The sophomore broke teammate Grace Fetherstonhaugh‘s record by five seconds and moved to number 14 on the NCAA steeple list. Watching Mitchell’s seemingly flawless hurdle and water jump technique made one think this record is likely to be broken again, very soon, and again, and again over the next two seasons.
As we edge closer to the collegiate championship season of conference, regional and national meets, the Pac-12 powerhouse programs are moving up in the rankings and appear ready to do battle.
The women’s Top 20 rankings by USTFCCCA include five Pac-12 schools. Number five USC is the only Pac-12 school in the top 10, but UCLA at 12 and Oregon at 13 are close, and are followed by Arizona at 16 and Colorado at 17.
The men’s Top 25 also has a strong Pac-12 presence near the top, with UO at three and USC at four. Arizona is 19 and Arizona State is 24.
NEXT WEEK: A preview of who and what to watch at the Pac-12 Track & Field Championships, which will be hosted by USC on May 14-16.
—Recent Steve Ritchie Stories—
- NCAA 10k Title Sweet Redemption for Oregon’s Baez
- Women’s Pac-12 Track Teams Take Center Stage at NCAAs
- Men’s Pac-12 Track Teams Look to Make a Splash at NCAAs
- Fans at Hayward Field a Treat for NCAAs and Olympic Trials
- Ritchie: Highlights & Takeaways from 2021 Pac-12 Track & Field Championships
- Ritchie: Trojan Women, Duck Men Favored at Pac-12 Track & Field Championships
- Ritchie: The Evolution of OSU’s Kaylee Mitchell
- Ritchie: Throwers take Center Stage at West Coast Classic
- Hayward Field ‘Magic’ Back as Stadium Unveiled
- Ritchie: Pac-12 Shines in Indoor T&F and CC Championships
- Ritchie: Pac-12 in Hunt for NCAA Indoor Track & CC Titles
- Ritchie: NCAA Bids on line at Cross Country Championship
- Ritchie: Pac-12 Cross Country, Indoor Track & Field are Back
- Ritchie: Pac-12 Cross Country and Indoor Track Notebook
- Cross Country Notebook: Season Switch Leads to Questions & Distance Dilemma
- Ritchie Mailbag: Handicapping a Lost Cross Country Season
- Ritchie Mailbag: Ex-Duck Coaches Turning Dawgs into Distance Powerhouse
- Ritchie: History of Pac-12 Track & Field Championships
- Pac-12 Track & Field GOAT Series Wrap-Up
- Greatest Pac-12 Track & Field Athletes of All Time: Part 6
- Greatest Pac-12 Track & Field Athletes of All Time: Part 5
- Greatest Pac-12 Track & Field Athletes of All Time: Part 4
- Greatest Pac-12 Track & Field Athletes of All Time: Part 3
- Greatest Pac-12 Track & Field Athletes of All Time: Part 2
- Greatest Pac-12 Track & Field Athletes of All Time: Part I
- Pac-12 Men’s 2020 Olympic Trials Outlook
NCAA 10k Title Sweet Redemption for Oregon’s BaezThe Duck senior vindicates her 2019 second-place finish, thrilling her home-track crowd - June 11, 2021
Women’s Pac-12 Track Teams Take Center Stage at NCAAsPredictions for all 21 winners in the women's competition from our senior track & field writer - June 9, 2021
Men’s Pac-12 Track Teams Look to Make a Splash at NCAAsPredictions for all 21 winners in the men's competition from our senior track & field writer - June 8, 2021