On the fourth day of the 2019 NCAA Division I track and field championships, it’s all about the women.
There will be several final events for throws and jumps, but there’s a few races that could swing points in a major way and shake up the leaderboard standings.
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Here are three races you can't miss on Saturday.
100 and 200 meters
These are two separate events, but we’re grouping them together here because we’ll see a handful of runners compete in both.
North Carolina A&T’s Kayla White, Texas’s Teahna Daniels, LSU’s Sha’Carri Richardson, USC’s Anglerne Annelus and FSU’s Ka’Tia Seymour all qualified for both races. Annelus had the top 200 meters qualifying time at 22.35, while White had the top 100 meters qualifying time at 10.96.
College records in both of these events are within tenths of seconds of these runners. LSU’s Dawn Sowell set the 100 meters best time in 1989, running a 10.78, while Florida’s Kyra Jefferson set the best 200 meters time in 2017 with a 22.02 mark.
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A native of Alaska, Allie Ostrander of Boise State is going for the three-peat. She’s just 5-foot-1 and is often times clearing hurdles about half her height but is already a two-time national champion in the event. A win on Saturday would make her the first to win three straight NCAA steeplechase titles and put her in the mix to be the fifth four-time winner in any event next year.
She’s an 11-time All-American in track and cross country and has had a decorated college career so far. As a freshman, she finished first or second in every cross country race she entered. Excelling at the steeplechase runs in her family too, as her sister qualified for the Division III national championship three times from Willamette University.
While Ostrander was about two seconds faster than anyone else in qualifying, she does have a challenger this year in New Mexico sophomore Adva Cohen, whose personal best time of 9:29.74 is about nine seconds faster than Ostrander’s best. And in qualifying, BYU’s Erica Birk finished second with a time of 9:42.54.
4x100 meter relay
One lap, three handoffs, four runners. The 4x100 meter relay is a fast and furious event and one of the most exciting in track and field. In the women’s event this year, LSU is back to defend their championship which it won last year in an NCAA Championships record time of 42.09. The Tigers also set the college best mark last year, running 42.05 on May 13, 2018.
Defending the title won’t be easy though as LSU ran the second best time in qualifying, checking at 42.56. USC bested them for the top qualifying spot at 42.44. Will the Tigers step it up in the finals?
This race will also be an interesting one for Arkansas, which held the top spot on the leaderboard after Thursday with 15 points. The Razorbacks ran the third best time in qualifying with a 42.65 mark, but a win in the finals could go a long way towards bringing them their first NCAA outdoor track and field championship since 2016.
Mitchell Northam is a graduate of Salisbury University. His work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel, SB Nation, FanSided, USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times. He grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore and is now based in Durham, N.C.