It isn’t the flashiest of nicknames, but “The 66 Percenters” would aptly fit Oregon distance runners Matthew Centrowitz and A.J. Acosta if they can do what they did last season at the NCAA championships.
|• East Region|
|• West Region|
Last year, Centrowitz, Acosta and Andrew Wheating swept the 1500-meter. With Wheating gone, Centrowitz and Acosta can at least get two-thirds of that honor again. And it is wholly doable. Centrowitz (3:42.23) and Acosta (3:44.68) enter next week’s competition ranked 1-2.
And winning again would add to Centrowitz’s legacy. He is coming off winning the Pac-10’s championship in this event for the third consecutive year. Up next is trying for another title with perhaps his biggest rival, Acosta – a guy he shares an apartment with off campus.
“You [worry] about [whether] someone gets in the limelight and somebody else’s feelings will get hurt,” says Oregon’s Director of Track & Field, Vin Lananna in a published report. “I wonder if you ask the question of them, ‘do you want to go 1-2’? Who’s 1 and who’s 2?”
Need to know
• University of Miami junior hurdler Devon Hill set a school record in the 110m hurdles and advanced to the NCAA National. Hill won the first of three quarterfinal heats by crossing the finish line in 13.54 seconds – 0.11 seconds better than the previous school record held by Cory Nelms. His time was the fastest in the East Preliminary Rounds and is currently the 11th-fastest among collegiate hurdlers this year.
• Jeshua Anderson of Washington State is looking to achieve a heady goal. He wants to secure the all-time college and NCAA meet records in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles at the NCAA championships. He is seeking a third NCAA championship after finishing second last year.
He comes into the event hot. Most recently, at the Pac-10 outdoor championships, he once again broke his own school record. It was his fourth consecutive title and came in a meet-record time (48.13), which is fifth best in the world this year behind four times of South African professional L.J. Vanzyl.
Anderson, with national and world junior titles to his credit, is looking to break the collegiate (47.10) and NCAA meet records (47.56) at a place where he won his first NCAA championship in 2008.
• Central Michigan discus thrower Alex Rose is two-for-two in NCAA championship bids. Rose, a sophomore who finished third in the regionals, is making a return trip to the championships. Rose enters as No. 9 in the event.
• Besides the Atlantic Sun (Joshua McNair – Kennesaw State), the Horizon League (Kris Gauson – Butler), the Ohio Valley (Zye Boey – Eastern Illinois) and the Western Coast Conference (Jarred Bassett – Portland) are all conferences with just one man participating at the national championships.
• Dominance by conference, thy name is the Southeastern Conference. The SEC has four of the top seven spots for schools with the most entries. The Big 12’s Texas A&M leads the way with 19. It is followed by Florida (17), the ACC’s Virginia Tech (14), the ACC’s FSU and LSU (13 each), and – with 11 entrants – the SEC’s Arkansas and Georgia, and the Pac-10’s Oregon and Stanford.
• The University of Southern California’s men’s track and field team has won 26 NCAA outdoor titles, more than double next-best Arkansas, which has 12. USC won a record-setting nine consecutive titles from 1935-43. The first men’s championship was held in 1921. The USC men’s team placed fifth in 2010 and has finished in the top 10 in 13 of 16 seasons with Ron Allice leading the Trojans.