2018 NCAA Indoor Championships - Team USATF Recap

2018 NCAA Indoor Championships - Team USATF Recap

Provided by USATF

Two world records. Two world junior records. Four American records.*

That would be quite a year, by any measure.

How about all in one NCAA Indoor Championships?

Led by Team USATF veterans Michael Norman, Kendall Ellis, Sydney McLaughlin and Tara Davis, the onslaught of records at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships at Texas A&M's Gilliam Indoor Stadium left the athletics world in disbelief.

Norman, USC's 2016 World Junior champion in the 200m, set the first world indoor record of the meet in the 400m, blazing to a 44.52 to take down the old mark of 44.57, set by Kerron Clement in 2005.

He then teamed up with 2017 Pan Am Junior 4x400 gold medalist Zach Shinnick, 2014 World Junior 4x400 gold medalist Ricky Morgan, and Rai Benjamin of Antigua to pace the Trojans to a 3:00.77 in the final men's event of the meet, destroying the world indoor best set by Poland at last weekend's World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.

In fact, three men's 4x400 teams bested the Polish mark of 3:01.77, with Texas A&M staking claim to the world indoor record at 3:01.39 in second place, and Florida in third at 3:01.43.

USC's women also produced some fireworks, with Ellis claiming an American record in the 400m in a sterling 50.34 before closing out the meet with a strong anchor leg on the 3:27.45 winning 4x400. A gold medalist for Team USATF at the 2017 Worlds in London in the 4x400, Ellis split 50.75 after teammates Kaelin Roberts, 2016 World Junior 400m hurdles and 4x400 gold medalist Anna Cockrell, and 2015 Pan Am Junior 200m and 4x100 gold medalist Deanna Hill gave her the baton a step ahead of Purdue.

Olympic vet McLaughlin, who made the 2016 Games in the 400m hurdles as a high schooler, set another world junior record in the 400, winning her section in 50.36 to take .16 off the mark she set two weeks ago at the SEC Championships on the same track.

Georgia's Davis, the 2015 World Youth gold medalist in the long jump, showed her 60m hurdles prowess with a world junior record 7.98 in the prelims, and she took bronze in the long jump for good measure to help her Bulldogs to the school's first-ever NCAA team title.

A team USATF qualifier for the 2017 World Championships, Houston's Elijah Hall knocked .08 off Wallace Spearmon's 2005 American indoor 200m record, running the second-fastest lap in world history with a 20.02. Hall earlier won the 60m in 6.52, making him only the third man to achieve the sprint double at the NCAA Indoors.

Other top performances by Team USATF veterans included gold for 2016 Olympian Lexi Jacobus of Arkansas in the women's pole vault, and a win in the triple jump for Georgia's Keturah Orji, who has been on five national teams in her young career. Maggie Ewen of Arizona State, a 2017 World Championships team member in the hammer, won the shot put, and 2015 Pan Am Junior gold medalist Randall Cunningham of USC won the men's high jump.

Among the emerging national stars who should help continue the Team USATF dynasty at the world and Olympic level, Florida's multi-talented Grant Holloway won the 60m hurdles in 7.47 and was second in the long jump to lead his Gators to the men's team title.

Harvard's Gabrielle Thomas was a surprise winner in the women's 200m, clocking a collegiate record 22.38, and Karissa Schweizer of Missouri became only the fourth woman to win the 3,000m/5,000m double. Equaling the collegiate record of 7.07 in the women's 60m was LSU's Aleia Hobbs.

*Records pending until ratified by IAAF.