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Stan Becton | | March 14, 2023

8 storylines to know ahead of the 2023 DI men's and women's outdoor track and field season

Jasmine Moore and Joseph Fahnbulleh on Florida's national championship sweep

The 2023 outdoor season is here, amidst the madness of March. Here are some storylines to follow throughout the season.

1. Can Arkansas carry over indoor success?

The brooms may still be out for Arkansas, which swept the 2023 NCAA indoor titles just days ago, but it's the outdoor season now. With a new season, the Razorbacks remain a top contender.

The only events Arkansas scored points in at indoor championships that aren't in the outdoor season are the women's mile and the men's and women's DMR. The men's and women's teams now have new stars in Jaydon Hibbert and Ackera Nugent, respectively, after both had record-setting championship-winning performances. Yet, the chance of a championship hangover remains.

However, the leadership of two of the best athletes in the country, Britton Wilson and Ayden Owens-Delerme, should keep the Razorbacks focused after adding new trophies to their collections.


2. Can Florida repeat?

While Arkansas won the indoor titles, Florida remains the defending outdoor men's and women's champions. The Gators will be motivated to return atop the podium after finishing third for men and women during the indoor season.

Can Florida repeat? The women's team should get a boost from the return of short sprinter and hurdler Grace Stark. The men's team will have to replace star sprinter Joseph Fahnbulleh but have a deep roster that could replace his point-scoring as a group.

🗓: Here's when the 2023 outdoor track and field season starts

3. Will Texas win at home?

Second place. Second place. Second place.

Texas' women have finished in second place at three straight championship track meets, dating back to the 2022 indoor season. The Longhorn men finished second at the 2022 outdoor championships. Now, Texas hosts the 2023 outdoor championships.

With every team in the country's eyes set on Austin, Texas may have the most pressure to defend its home track.

MORE: Here's how the outdoor track and field championships work

4. How many records will fall during the outdoor season?

We saw more than 25 records fall during the 2023 indoor season. It's only right to expect a record-breaking year to continue as the athletes transition to the outdoor season.

RELATED: Every collegiate indoor track and field record broken this season

5. How dominant will athletes be?

A few athletes have set themselves apart from the competition, especially after the indoor season. 

On the men's side, Dylan Jacobs won an indoor 5K title with Tennessee after winning the 10K title with Notre Dame last spring. Sondre Guttormsen set an indoor collegiate record in the pole vault to win the championship, shouting to the crowd, "there's nobody that can beat me." That's three straight NCAA pole vault titles for Guttormsen, with European championships mixed in between. 

On the women's side, Katelyn Tuohy hasn't lost an NCAA championship race this year in cross country or the indoor season. Julien Alfred broke the 60-meter record more times than can be counted on one hand during the indoor season AFTER winning the 100-meter title during the outdoor season. And that's just the athletes on the track.

👀: Here are the DI track and field teams with most NCAA championships

In the field events, Jasmine Moore has won 12 straight horizontal jump conference and national titles, not counting the three SEC triple jump titles she won at Georgia. Lamara Distin won her third straight high jump title across seasons — in disappointing fashion for her — and Adelaide Aquilla has won four of the last five shot put titles across seasons.

These are some dominant athletes achieving historical levels of greatness. It'll be a treat to see how dominant they can be during the outdoor season.

WATCH LIST: The 2023 Bowerman watch list for men's and women's NCAA track and field

6. A new season means new events. How will athletes perform this spring?

The outdoor season brings more events that weren't in the indoor season. That means the re-emergence of athletes that we grew to know last year.

We'll see title defenses from Marc Minchello in the javelin and Claudio Romero in the discus. In case you forgot, Romero's title upset favorite Mykolas Alekna last year, meaning we could have a nice rivalry brewing.

There's a handful of athletes we saw during the indoor season, albeit not in their premiere events. Sean Burrell and Britton Wilson return to the 400 meter hurdles to defend their titles, with Wilson also coming off a collegiate record in the indoor flat 400. Camryn Rogers and Jorinde Van Klinken get to throw in their best events, the hammer and discus, respectively, after competing in other events during the indoor season.

These athletes in these events have the spring heating up already.

🤔: Here are the differences between the indoor and outdoor track seasons

7. Who will take over a wide-open men's sprint field?

In 2022, Joseph Fahnbulleh swept the men's 100 and 200 titles, Bowerman winner Trey Cunningham won the 110 hurdles title and Randolph Ross won the 400 title. All three are gone leaving no one as the clear favorite.

One can easily look at the indoor champions as top contenders, but remember, the outdoor track is not the same as an indoor track. There are different starting spots, different laps and different distances. With so many different factors, men's outdoor sprints are up for grabs.

TRANSFERS: 30 impact transfers to watch in the 2022-23 track and field season

8. How will athletes perform with a chip on their shoulders?

Plenty of athletes will look to put the indoor season behind them after falling short of a title, even with successful regular seasons and conference meets.

Ayden Owens-Delerme, Javonte Harding, Ryan Willie, Navasky Anderson, Drew Bosley, Vernon Turner, Favour Ofili, Talitha Diggs, Masai Russell, Rosemary Chukwuma stand out as some of the athletes that will have some extra motivation after falling short in individual events at indoor nationals.

There are also elite sprinters like Micah Williams, Favour Ashe, Grace Stark and Alia Armstrong that will look to prove they remain among the best in the sport after not getting the chance to compete for an indoor title because of injury or other reasons.

These athletes could put on a show this spring with a chip on their shoulder motivating them along the way.

The 2023 Bowerman watch list for men's and women's NCAA track and field

Here are the watch lists for the 2023 Bowerman, highlighting some of the best athletes in DI track and field.

The top five Bowerman candidates entering the outdoor track and field season

Let's take a look at the athletes after the indoor season with the top Bowerman cases entering the outdoor season.

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