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Stan Becton | | April 20, 2022

Here are the biggest challengers to each event’s reigning champion in women's track and field

2022 midseason superlatives for women's outdoor track and field

There are seven returning women's outdoor track and field individual event champions in 2022 and the road to a repeat performance won't be without competition. Here are the biggest challengers to each reigning champion at the season's start.

Camryn Rogers | California | Hammer


  • Shey Taiwo | Ole Miss
  • Jillian Shippee | UNC
  • Tara Simpson-Sullivan | Rice

The biggest challenger to Camryn Rogers — a record-setter in the hammer — is Shey Taiwo from Ole Miss. Taiwo is coming off a record-setting indoor season in the weight throw. While the hammer is an outdoor-only event, Taiwo enters the outdoor season with great momentum. Taiwo also finished second in the hammer last spring.

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Lisa Gunnarsson | LSU | Pole vault


  • Rachel Baxter | Virginia Tech
  • Tuesdi Tidwell | Baylor
  • Sydney Horn | High Point

Lisa Gunnarsson leads a loaded pole vault field this spring. You have 2022 indoor champion Rachel Baxter and third-place 2021 outdoor finisher Tuesdi Tidwell. There's also the always competitive Sydney Horn, who often flies under the radar a High Point, but is sure to make her presence known come championships.

MUST-WATCH: 5 outdoor track and field meets to pay attention to in 2022

Adelaide Aquilla | Ohio State | Shot put


  • Jorinde van Klinken | Arizona State
  • Josie Schaefer | Wisconsin
  • Akealy Moton | North Dakota State

Adelaide Aquilla was swept the 2021 shot put titles, but in the 2022 indoor season, Arizona State's Jorinde van Klinken ended her streak, taking home the title. Elsewhere, Wisconsin's Josie Schaefer and North Dakota State's Akealy Moton were the only athletes not named Aquilla to land a mark above 18 meters last spring.

💍: 5 track and field programs that could be the next first-time national champion

Ruth Usoro | Texas Tech | Triple Jump


  • Jasmine Moore | Florida
  • Deborah Acquah | Texas A&M 
  • Ruta Lasmane | Texas Tech

The triple jump crown is up for grabs this spring. Texas Tech's Ruth Usoro is the reigning champion, but Florida's Jasmine Moore set collegiate records during the indoor season. Texas A&M's Deborah Acquah seems to always finish near the top in the event too. Usoro also faces a challenger in her title defense from her own team in Ruta Lasmane; Lasmane joins the Red Raiders after finishing fifth in the event at Florida State last spring.

BIG NAMES: 40 names you should know before the 2022 women’s outdoor track season

Tyra Gittens | Texas | Heptathlon


  • Anna Hall | Florida
  • Kristine Blazevica | Texas
  • Erin Marsh | Duke

After transferring from Texas A&M to Texas, Tyra Gittens remains a power in the Heptathlon. However, Florida's Anna Hall won the pentathlon during the indoor season and poses a legitimate threat after her own transfer from Georgia. Texas's Kristine Blazevica and Duke's Erin Mash finished third and fourth last year in the heptathlon, respectively.

WOW: These are the most exciting sprinters in 2022 women’s outdoor track

Jorinde van Klinken | Arizona State | Discus


  • Seasons Usual | Texas Tech
  • Gabby Bailey | Kent State
  • Essence Henderson | Virginia Tech

Jorinde van Klinken won the discus by almost two meters with a mark of 65.01 meters last spring, but there are challenges in 2022. Texas Tech's Seasons Usual, Kent State's Gabby Bailey and Virginia Tech's Essence Henderson are the top three finishers returning this spring.

NEW BLOOD: 8 true freshmen in NCAA women's track and field who can burst on the scene in 2022

Rachel Glenn | South Carolina | High Jump


  • Lamara Distin | Texas A&M
  • Tyra Gittens | Texas
  • Morgan Smalls | Southern California

Predicting who will win the 2022 women's high jump crown is a toss-up. South Carolina's Rachel Glenn will be defending her title from Texas A&M's Lamara Distin — the 2022 indoor champion — and Tyra Gittens, a 2022 olympian. Morgan Smalls from defending champion Southern California is a sleeper in the event too.

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