Men’s Pac-12 Track Teams Look to Make a Splash at NCAAs

Predictions for all 21 winners in the men's competition from our senior track & field writer

Posted on June 8, 2021


  By Steve Ritchie, SportsPac12

The NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships get underway today at Hayward Field, with the first day of men’s competition.

Women will take center stage on Thursday, back to men on Friday, and then women’s competition will conclude the meet on Saturday.

Here’s a link to television broadcast information and streaming for all four days.

Here are my predictions for all 21 winners in the men’s competition are listed below, followed by a look at the athletes and events I expect to stand out over the two days of men’s action.


Projected Individual Winners
(Pac-12 athletes in bold)

EventAthleteSchool
100Micah WilliamsOregon
200Terrance LairdLSU
400Noah WilliamsLSU
800Isaiah JewettUSC
1500Cole HockerOregon
5000Cooper TeareOregon
10,000Conner MantzBYU
3000 SteepleAhmed JaziriEastern Kentucky
110 HurdlesDamian ThomasLSU
400 HurdlesMoitalel MpokeTexas A&M
High JumpJuvaughn HarrisonLSU
Long JumpJuvaughn HarrisonLSU
Triple JumpChengetayi MapayaTCU
Pole VaultZach McWhorterBYU
Shot PutTurner WashingtonASU
DiscusTurner WashingtonASU
Hammer ThrowThomas MardalFlorida
JavelinSindri GudmundssonMiss State
DecathlonKarel TilgaGeorgia
4x100 RelayTeam LSULSU
4x400 RelayTeam NC A&TNorth Carolina A&T

100 meters & 4×100 Relay

Pretty tough to predict either of these events with any degree of certainty.

In the 4×100, the top six teams are separated by just .30 seconds, the blink of an eye. I picked LSU, which is ranked fourth with a qualifying mark of 38.58, to win.

Unlike some of their competition, the Tigers have an experienced team used to the spotlight and with the confidence that comes from being the heavy favorite to win the team championship.

Houston (38.49) and North Carolina A&T (38.54) come in with slightly faster times and either could certainly win.

The short relay and the 100 meters will see Oregon and LSU go head-to-head. If Oregon is to make a run at LSU, they will need to out-perform the form chart in both these events.

Laird
Williams

LSU’s Terrance Laird has the fastest time in the 100 at 9.80, but that was with a strong 3.2 meters per second tailwind.

Oregon freshman Micah Williams has a wind-legal 10.0, and is capable of getting out of the blocks ahead of everyone else.

On his home track with some extra juice from the fans, he might be able to steal this one.


800 meters

Oregon will also need to pick up some big points here from Luis Peralta and Charlie Hunter.

Peralta is an emerging star and Hunter is the NCAA indoor champ, but I don’t see anyone beating USC’s Isaiah Jewett. He has been on another level all season, and dusted Peralta and Hunter at the Pac-12s.

Isaiah Jewett | USC Athletics

Brandon Miller of Texas A&M and Clemson’s Kameron Jones have also run sub 1:46 this season, but I don’t see Jewett losing this race.


Shot & Discus
Washington

Arizona State sophomore Turner Washington has had sensational seasons—indoors and outdoors—in 2021.

He has consistently thrown over 68 feet in the shot and has had several throws over 70 feet, while setting the NCAA indoor record. No one else is close, though USC’s Matthew Katnick has a best of 68-1.5.

The discus could be closer, but Washington, if healthy, should sweep both throws and give himself a huge boost of confidence going into the Olympic Trials.


High Jump
Earnie Sears | USC Athletids

LSU’s JuVaughn Harrison and Tennessee’s Darryl Sullivan staged the best high jump battle of the season at the SEC Championships three weeks ago, with Harrison emerging as the victor with a collegiate best of 7-8¾, beating Sullivan by an inch.

It would be thrilling to see a repeat of that contest.

USC senior Earnie Sears cleared 7-6½ in 2020, but his best this year is 7-5 and he hasn’t reached that height in his recent performances.


1500 Meters

Oregon freshman Cole Hocker is trying to become the first man in history to win the NCAA 1500 and 5000 in the same meet. This will not be an easy task.

Waiting for him in the 1500 is defending champion Yared Nuguse of Notre Dame.

Yared Nuguse and Cole Hocker at Oregon Twilight Meet | RunnerSpace.com

Nuguse beat Hocker at the Oregon Twilight Meet in early May, and then set the NCAA 1500 record the next weekend at the ACC Championships, clocking 3:34.68.

Hocker, though, ran a 3:50.55 mile indoors in February, which is equivalent to a 3:33 1500.

Both Nuguse and Hocker have awesome kicks and both can win off a fast pace or a slow pace. The 1500 final should be a classic.

TOMORROW: I’ll pick the event winners in all 21 women’s events and highlight a few of the standout athletes and events, with a special emphasis on the Pac-12 women.




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