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Stan Becton | | May 10, 2023

Head-to-head matchups to watch for at the 2023 SEC outdoor track and field championships

Florida's Jasmine Moore wins the 2022 NCAA women's outdoor track and field long jump in sweeping fashion

The SEC outdoor men’s and women’s track and field championships are always one of the premier meets in collegiate track and field and 2023’s meet should be no different. The SEC championships are filled with top-ranked teams and loaded with some of the top regular-season performers creating must-watch matchups.

Here’s a look at some of the top potential head-to-head matchups to watch. These aren’t guaranteed because some matchups may need athletes to advance to the finals to happen.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Updates, schedule and results for the 2023 SEC outdoor track and field championships

Men's high jump

Dontavius Hill - Auburn vs. Corvell Todd - Florida

Auburn’s Dontavius Hill and Florida’s Corvell Todd have the first and fourth-best high jump heights, respectively. There should be an exciting back and forth as the two progress up the heights. If they can bring some of that high jump energy seen at Penn Relays, then the progression to the final height will be worth the wait.


Men's long jump

Cameron Crump - Mississippi State vs. Wayne Pinnock - Arkansas

Wayne Pinnock is the defending outdoor long jump champion.Yet, Cameron Crump has a top-three long jump nationally, leaping 8.04 meters. With six jumps apiece, this event may come down to the final jump.

Other athlete(s) to watch: Carey McLeod - Arkansas, Brandon Hicklin - LSU

Women's 100 meter hurdles

Masai Russell - Kentucky vs. Ackera Nugent - Arkansas

I’ve long said that 2023 is the year of the women’s hurdles. The season will continue to live up to that status at SEC championships as we’ll see some of the best hurdlers in the country, including 100 hurdles collegiate record holder Masai Russell of Kentucky. She’ll face Arkansas’ Ackera Nugent, hopefully in what’s an epic finals race. The two have raced since Nugent beat Russell in the NCAA indoor 60 meter hurdles, breaking Russell’s collegiate record in the process.

Other athlete(s) to watch: Alia Armstrong - LSU, Grace Stark - Florida

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Men's 400 meters

Emmanuel Bynum - Tennessee vs. Ryan Willie - Florida

Tennessee’s Emmanuel Bynum owns the nation’s fastest time in the 400 meters at 44.67 seconds. He’ll have to hold off Florida’s Ryan Willie who’s run 44.93 seconds this year, the third-fastest time in the country. Bynum and Willie are two of the four men to run sub-45 in the 400 this year and will likely need to do it again to win the SEC title.

Other athlete(s) to watch: Emmanuel Bamidele - Florida, Evan Miller - South Carolina, Elija Godwin - Georgia

Women's 800 meters

Michaela Rose - LSU vs. Imogen Barrett - Florida

LSU’s Michaela Rose has been one of the best mid-distance runners all year, specializing in the 800 meters as the only woman to run sub-two minutes. However, Florida’s Imogen Barrett isn’t that far off her SEC counterpart, owning fourth-fastest 800 meter time in the country. It may come down to the final 100 meters in this race.

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Men's 400 meter hurdles

Chris Robinson - Alabama vs. Jakwan Hale - Tennessee

Only two men have run sub-49 seconds in the 400 meter hurdles this year and Alabama’s Chris Robinson is one of them. Robinson enters SECs as the fastest 400 hurdler in the conference, but he’ll have to hold off some talented athletes, highlighted by Tennessee’s Jakwan Hale. Hale has run 49.41 in the hurdles, a top-five time in the country. 

Other athlete(s) to watch: Rasheeme Griffith - Tennessee, Caleb Cavanaugh - Georgia, Sean Burrell - LSU

Men's 200 meters

Tarsis Orogot - Alabama vs. Robert Gregory - Florida

The two fastest 200 meter-sprinters in the country will face off at SEC championships in Alabama’s Tarsis Orogot (19.60 seconds) and Florida’s Robert Gregory (19.78 seconds). Orogot got the better of Gregory at the Tom Jones Memorial back in April, and that familiarity will only increase the intensity of this conference championship race.

Other athlete(s) to watch: Jacory Patterson - Florida, Javonte Harding - Tennessee, Matthew Boling - Georgia

Men's 4x400 meter relay

Georgia vs. Alabama

Could the men’s 4x400 meter relay collegiate record fall at SECs? There’s a chance if Georgia and Alabama are running the relays at full strength. The Bulldogs were only three-tenths of a second from passing the collegiate record back in March and Alabama ran the sixth-fastest all-time 4x4 mark then too. When the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide take the track, we may see history made.

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Women's 4x400 meter relay

Texas A&M vs. Arkansas

Did you watch the hectic event that was the 2023 SEC indoor championship 4x400 meter relay? No? Well, go back and watch that and you’ll see a bunch of contact and competitive running down the stretch.

That competitive spirit should carry over to the outdoor season, with Texas A&M’s second-fastest time this year facing Arkansas’ fourth-fastest time. We might not have seen the best four take the track as a relay yet for the Razorbacks, so the best could be still to come. 

Other relay(s) to watch: Kentucky, Florida

Men's discus 

Roje Stona - Arkansas vs. Claudio Romero - LSU

Arkansas’ Roje Stona has the second-best discus throw in the NCAA at 67.02 meters, a full two meters ahead of the third-best thrower. He’ll face defending NCAA discus champion Claudio Romero at SEC championships, with both athlete’s performance pivotal to their team's conference title chances.

Other athlete(s) to watch: Ralford Mullings - Arkansas

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Women's high jump

Lamara Distin - Texas A&M vs. Elena Kulichenko - Georgia

Texas A&M’s Lamara Distin has been dominant over the last two seasons, sweeping the 2022 high jump NCAA titles and winning the 2023 indoor NCAA high jump title. Distin is chasing the collegiate record in the event, but first she’ll have to get past Georgia’s Elena Kulichenko at SECs. Distin and Kulichenko are the only two high jumpers to hit 1.90 meters this season.

Women's triple jump

Mikeisha Welcome - Georgia vs. Jasmine Moore - Florida

Florida’s Jasmine Moore has won the last six SEC triple jump titles across the indoor and outdoor seasons. Will anyone dethrone her? The top candidate is Georgia’s Mikeisha Welcome, owner of the nation-leading triple jump at 14.07 meters. 

Other athlete(s) to watch: Charisma Taylor - Tennessee

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The women’s sprints

I’m sure you’ve made it through this article and you’re wondering, where are the women’s sprints? You didn’t see the 100 meters, 200 meters nor 400 meters yet because those races are too competitive, with field too deep, for a head-to-head matchup to be identified before start lists release.

Athlete’s like Talitha Diggs, McKenzie Long, Britton Wilson and more could run in a sprint event, or the could not. It all depends on scheduling and without the start lists, there’s no clear head-to-head matchup. However, that doesn’t mean the races won’t be worth watching. You’ll definitely want to tune into all of the women’s sprints as we could see some of the fastest times run in the nation this season.

Update: After start lists were revealed Wednesday afternoon and can be found by clicking or tapping here

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