NCAA track and field: 10 things to know about the 2017 outdoor championships at Hayward Field
The 2017 NCAA track and field championships are set to kick off on June 7 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. The men’s events kick off the first day of the four-day competition, with the team winner awarded on Friday and the women’s team winner on Saturday.
The Florida men and Arkansas women took home the national title last year in Eugene.
Before action begins on Wednesday, here’s a list of important things to know for this year’s championship.
1. Track Town USA
Eugene, also know as Track Town to many fans of the sport, will host the championships. However, this is certainly not the first time the championship has been in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon has hosted the event 14 times, and 2017 will mark the fifth straight year. The first year Oregon hosted was back in 1962.
2. Who has the most hardware?
Looking back at NCAA.com’s history page, USC has the most men’s team national titles. The men of Troy have 25 titles, but their last title was in 1976. LSU women have the most national championships with 15. The Tigers won 11 consecutive titles from 1987-1997 under head coach Pat Henry.
3. What do the rankings say?
The final USTFCCA rankings came out on May 30.
For the women:
For the men:
1) Texas A&M
4. Sister act
You’ll want to keep an eye out for a sibling rivalry in the pole vault. Lexi and Tori Weeks, twin sisters who both compete in pole vault for Arkansas, will go head-to-head at Hayward Field. Lexi competed in the Rio Olympics last summer. The duo have previously battled head-to-head this season, with Tori winning the SEC's indoor pole vault title earlier this year, a title Lexi won in their freshman season at Arkansas.
5. The King will be missing
It was announced on May 22 that Oregon’s Edward Cheserek would not compete in the West Regional meet due to a lower back strain, which in turn would make him unable to compete in the outdoor championships.
Despite not competing in the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the final time, Cheserek finished his career as the winningest runner in NCAA history. Cheserek won a combined 17 NCAA championships between cross country, indoor track and outdoor track, including the 5,000 meters and 3,000 meters at the 2017 NCAA Indoor meet. With his absence, the 5,000-meter race will be up for grabs.
RELATED: King Ches competes in last race
6. Bowerman watch
Prior to the NCAA prelims, the recent Bowerman watch list was revealed. The Bowerman is an annual award given to the year’s top student-athlete in collegiate track and field.
Many student-athletes on both the men’s and women’s side will be competing in Eugene.
7. Raven Saunders record in shot put
Mississippi’s Raven Saunders set a new collegiate record last year. The women’s collegiate shot put record of 62 feet, 3 inches had stood since 1983 until Saunders beat that by more than a foot. Her distance of 63'5" was the seventh-farthest in U.S. women’s shot put history and gave her back-to-back championships. What will she do this year?
8. Can the Ducks complete the triple crown?
Oregon is going for a piece of history on the women’s side. The Ducks, already cross country and indoor champions, would become the first program in NCAA history to complete the triple crown. Deajah Stevens and Raevyn Rogers could very well put on a show for their home fans. Oregon took home the 2015 outdoor title and was the runner-up to Arkansas last year.
9. Speed kills
It’s hard to deny that Tennessee’s Christian Coleman isn’t thrilling to watch. He has made a name for himself this season, making the Bowerman watch list, as well as doing his own 40-yard dash in the school’s indoor athletic facility — similar to the event in the NFL combine. He was named SEC Runner of the Year and won the 60 and 200 meters at the NCAA indoor championship in March. He tied the collegiate record in the 60, running in 6.45 seconds.
10. First time for everything
In this year’s steeplechase, for both the men and women, the winner will be a first-time NCAA champion. That will certainly be an exciting race to keep tabs on.
Elinor Purrier of New Hampshire, Sarah Edwards of Virginia Tech and Claire Borchers of Michigan had the top three qualifying times for the women. Edwin Kibichiy of Louisville, Jamaine Coleman of East Kentucky and Emmanuel Rotich of Tulane had the top times for the men.
Make sure to check back with NCAA.com for more news and live results of the 2017 NCAA outdoor track and field championships. Each day we will break down who and what events to watch.