Day One: A Cardinal Act!
Stanford’s Robinson and Hicks Author 1-2 10K Sweep
Undaunted by the Austin heat and humidity, the very best collegiate men on the track and in the field showed their greatness in Day One of the 2023 NCAA Track & Field Championships.
The Men’s 10,000m, NCAA 2023 Champs, photo by How Lao Photography
The men took center stage on the first day of this 4-day championship gathering that was dominated by field event finals, multi-events, and semifinals on the track. The evening closed with the only opening day track event final: the men’s 10,000-meter run. Not surprisingly, the field of 24 answered the opening gun with a cautious shuffle, resulting in Gonzaga’s James Mwaura charging to the front and grabbing the early lead. A periodic change in leadership followed, including Alabama’s Victor Kiprop and Ok State’s Isai Rodriguez.
Men’s 10,000m, NCAA 2023, photo by How Lao Photography
After passing 5000 meters in an easy 14:10, the lead pack had assembled a crowd of 11. With 8 laps remaining, Harvard’s Graham Blanks moved up to 3rd and looked ready for more. With 2 kilos remaining and Kiprop back in the lead, the front pack had dwindled to 9 as the leaders prepared for a furious charge to the finish.
Men’s 10,000m heats up, NCAA 2023, photo by How Lao Photography
With 3 laps to go, Rodriguez and Mwaura moved back into the lead as the pace quickened. But then a surprise took place as Stanford’s Ky Robinson and then teammate Charles Hicks unleashed the quickest pace of the evening with 2 laps to go. The race to the finish was on, but the Stanford Cardinal was not to be caught, as Robinson (28:10.96) and Hicks (28:12.20) covered the final circuit in 54 and 55 seconds, respectively. The top 8 point-getters all raced the final lap with sub-60-second closings.
mPV: The anticipated showdown between Princeton’s reigning NCAA outdoor pole vault champion, Sondre Guttormsen, and Texas Tech’s Zach Bradford never materialized. At the event’s conclusion, the top 8 performers were bunched in a clearance traffic jam as only 4 inches separated the top 8 athletes. Alabama’s Kyle Rademeyer and Akron’s Hunter Garretson had the highest clearances (5.70m/18’8¼”) to finish 1-2.
mHT: In one of the most exciting events of the day, Harvard’s Kenneth Ikeji (77.92m/255-8) was the surprise victor, relegating the favorites – Minnesota’s Kostas Zaltos (76.33m/250-5) and Arizona’s Jordan Geist (75.97m/249-3) – to 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Kenneth Ikeji, Men’s Hammer Throw, photo by How Lao Photography
mJT: Close throws spiced the javelin competition as LSU’s Tzuriel Pedigo (79.79m/261-9) edged UVA’s Ethan Dabbs (79.27m/260-1) and Baylor’s Chinecherem Prosper Nnamdi (78.36m/257-1)
mLJ: Arkansas went 1-2 in the long jump as Carey McLeod (8.26m/27’1¼”) and Wayne Pinnock (8.15m/26-9) earned 18 big points for the Razorbacks, who ended Day One with a team-leading 21 points.
mSP: Arizona’s Jordan Geist, who had hoped to win the hammer earlier in the day, bounced back with a shot put victory, getting the ball out 21.06m/69-1¼ to squeeze out a narrow ¾ inch win over Arizona State’s Turner Washington (21,04m/69½). Cincinnati’s Fred Moudani Likibi grabbed 3rd in 20.54/67’4 ¾”.
mDeca: Day One of the Decathlon was full of drama, and close point counts for the first five events. At the end of the day, Texas’ Leo Neugebauer had rung up 4591 points and held on to a 21-point lead over Georgia’s Kyle Garland (4570 points). The final 5 events for Day Two of the Decathlon have been spread out to provide adequate recovery time and cooler temperatures for the Deca’s final event – the 1500m.
Steeplechase heats, NCAA 2023, photo by How Lao Photography
Other Notables: In the m100m prelim, Florida’s P.J. Austin posted a preliminary round clocking of 9.89 – the fastest of the day – as a total of 5 athletes delivered sub-10 performances; In the m200m semi, Stanford’s Udodi Onwuzurike had the fastest time at 19.76 as 5 others also ran sub-20.00 to advance to Friday’s final: In the preliminary round of the m400m, 6 athletes ran under 45 seconds, led by Arizona State’s Justin Robinson (44.54). In the m1500m, the traffic was heavy. Washington’s Joe Waskom, the defending 1500m champion, looked sharp, crossing the line in 3:33.50. Friday’s final should be terrific as the semi-time spread between the 9 finalists is 0.83 seconds. As always, the early rounds of the relays were electrifying. LSU led the way in the semifinal round of the 4×100 as the Ragin’ Cajuns clocked 38.06 for the best time of the day. The preliminary timing spread for the 9 finalists is 0.61 seconds; The preliminary round of the 4×400 provided similar excitement, with Florida racing at 2:58.62. 5 of the 9 finalists clocked under 3:00.00.
More great performances resume today as the women will dominate the events on Day Two; stay tuned! / Dave Hunter /