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Stan Becton | | April 27, 2022

5 predictions for the second half of the 2022 women's outdoor track and field season

2022 midseason superlatives for women's outdoor track and field

The second half of the women's outdoor track and field season is underway, with the championships rapidly approaching. Here are some predictions for the season's second half.

1. A record-breaking year will continue at the championships

The 2022 women's outdoor season has seen records set in several events, including the 200 meters and hammer throw. I predict this record-breaking year will continue with collegiate records and/or championship-meet records falling at the 2022 DI outdoor championships. In recent championship history, we've seen future Olympic stars Sha'Carri Richardson (2019) and Athing Mu (2021) break records on the biggest collegiate stage.

🏅: The midseason superlatives — and a sleeper pick — for women's outdoor track and field

2. The 200 meters will be the individual race of the year

The 200 meters will be the individual race of the year. It's a battle at the top between collegiate record holder Favour Ofili (LSU) and indoor 200-meter champion Abby Steiner (Kentucky). Both athletes have sat atop the event leaderboard at points of the season, and only .09 seconds separate the two.

The two sprinters are almost guaranteed to race again at the SEC championships from May 12-14, should both compete in the 200. If they race for the conference title or not, each should qualify for the NCAA outdoor championships in Eugene.

If Eugene becomes the place where Ofili and Steiner race again over 200 meters, they may not be alone if it comes down to a photo finish. Ohio State's Anavia Battle is lurking with the third-fastest 200-meter time in the country, and her resume speaks for itself; Battle set the all-time collegiate-best mark at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials last year.

The 200 meters has the big names, the fast times and the allure of a budding rivalry that can make it the race of the year.

MORE: The top 10 women's track and field performances from the first half

3. The women's 4x400 will steal the show — again

Let's look at the last three women's 4x400 meter relays at the NCAA outdoor championship.

In 2021, Texas A&M set a new collegiate record in 3:22.34, with anchor Athing Mu running the fastest split in meet history. 

In 2019, Arkansas and Southern California tied for the lead at 57 points entering the 4x4. The Trojans dropped the baton while the Razorbacks finished second, giving Arkansas the national title.

In 2018, Southern California won the title, thanks to its comeback to end all comebacks

Jumping back to the present, we've already seen a race in 2022 with two sub-3:24 finishes at Texas Relays.

The women's 4x400 is the final event of the NCAA championships, and if history is any indicator, it should keep everyone on the edge of their seats through the finish.

NEWCOMERS: Here are 2022's top newcomers in women's track and field — so far

4. There will be at least 3 repeat champions

There were seven returning women's outdoor track and field individual event champions to start the year; all have been successful so far this season. Here are the returning champions and their events. 

  • Camryn Rogers | California | Hammer
  • Lisa Gunnarsson | LSU | Pole vault
  • Adelaide Aquilla | Ohio State | Shot put
  • Ruth Usoro | Texas Tech | Triple Jump
  • Tyra Gittens | Texas | Heptathlon
  • Jorinde Van Klinken | Arizona State | Discus
  • Rachel Glenn | South Carolina | High Jump

From those seven, I predict at least three will repeat as champions. Rogers, Gunnarson, Aquilla and Van Klinken all have nation-leading marks entering the final weekend of April. They, along with the other three, have a good chance of repeating.

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

5. Less than 50 percent of the indoor champions will complete the season sweep

There are 10 events that cross over from the indoor and outdoor seasons, meaning there will be 10 opportunities for a calendar sweep at the outdoor championships. Here are the 2022 indoor winners.

  • Abby Steiner | Kentucky | 200 meters
  • Talitha Diggs | Florida | 400 meters
  • Lindsey Butler | Virginia Tech | 800 meters
  • Courtney Wayment | BYU | 5000 meters
  • Arkansas | 4x400 meter relay
  • Lamara Distin | Texas A&M | High jump
  • Rachel Baxter | Virginia Tech | Pole Vault
  • Jasmine Moore | Florida | Long jump
  • Jasmine Moore | Florida | Triple jump
  • Jorinde Van Klinken | Arizona State | Shot put

From the 10 indoor champions, I predict that no more than four will complete the calendar sweep. As of April 27, only Distin (high Jump) and Moore (triple jump) sit first nationally in their events. While five other champions have top-five national marks, three others do not. I don't see the majority of the indoor champions sweeping events come June 11.

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