COLLEGE STATION – Georgia’s women staged a historic sweep of the long jump medals and Texas A&M’s Will Williams had a dramatic last-round effort to win the men’s event on the first day of the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships at Gilliam Stadium.
Kate Hall’s 6.73m/22-1 leap in round three to win, with teammates Keturah Orji (6.52m/21-4.75) and freshman Tara Davis (6.50m/21-4) claiming the silver and bronze to put the Bulldogs atop the team standings with 33 points after six events. In the heats of the 60-meter hurdles earlier in the program, Davis set a world junior (under-age-20) record with her 7.98.
Williams led the men’s long jump with his opening effort of 7.99m/26-2.5 but yielded to Florida’s Grant Holloway in the fifth round as the sophomore went 8.13m/26-8.25. After Texas Tech’s Charles Brown jumped 8.12m/26-7.75 in the final stanza, Williams was in third as he took to the runway for his final attempt. With a loud crowd behind him, Williams spanned a facility-record 8.19m/26-10.5 to win the Aggies’ first-ever gold in the event.
A superb 1:46.23 800-meter leg by Patrick Joseph gave Virginia Tech the lead in the distance medley relay, and Neil Gourley anchored the squad to the win with a 3:58.63 1600 meters to finish in 9:30.76 ahead of a fast-closing Notre Dame. The Hokies lead the men’s point standings with 16 after five events, a half-point ahead of the Aggies.
Missouri’s Karissa Schweizer repeated as champion in the women’s 5,000 meters after a pokey initial pace saw the field bunched up through the 3,000-meter mark. Turning the tables on the woman who beat her at the cross country championships in November, Schweizer moved away from New Mexico’s Ednah Kurgat over the final two laps to finish in 15:43.23, with Kurgat just over four seconds back. In the men’s race, cross country champion Justyn Knight of Syracuse sprinted clear in the last 50 meters to win in 14:14.47.
The throwing events saw Colorado State’s Mostafa Hassan win the men’s shot put for the second consecutive year, throwing the 16-pound ball 20.86m/68-5.25 to beat last year’s runner-up, Denzel Comenentia of Georgia, by almost two feet. Maggie Ewen of Arizona State dominated the women’s shot put, with all of her five legal throws good enough to win, topped by an 18.49m/60-8 toss in round three.
Hussain Alhizam of Kansas became the first Saudi student-athlete ever to win any NCAA track and field title, taking the pole vault gold with a clearance at 5.70m/18-8.25. Alhizam tied the facility record set last year by South Dakota’s Chris Nilsen, who finished second today. Nicole Greene of North Carolina was the other winner in the vertical jumps, capturing the women’s high jump after a jump-off with Cincinnati’s Loretta Blaut. Both women cleared 1.87m/6-1.5, but Greene outlasted Blaut with a 1.82m/5-11.5 make in the seventh round of the jump-off.
Finishing first in three of the five individual events in the women’s pentathlon, Taliyah Brooks of Arkansas scored 4,572 points to win by 105 over Kansas State’s Nina Schultz. Brooks opened with a stellar 8.05 in the 60m hurdles and then cleared 1.84m/6-0.5 in the high jump. She topped the long jump with a leap of 6.36m/20-10.5 before cruising to a 2:22.44 in the 800 to move up one spot from her runner-up finish in 2017.
Coming down to the final two strides of the final race of the day, Oregon won the women’s distance medley relay as Lilli Burdon outleaned Stanford’s Christina Aragon, with the Ducks clocking 10:51.99 to 10:52.02 for the Cardinal.