Ashton Eaton of the University of Oregon set a new World Indoor record* of 6499 points in winning the men’s Heptathlon at the NCAA indoor championships here.
Eaton, defending the championship he won a year ago, set personal heptathlon bests in every one of the seven Heptathlon events to better the World indoor best of 6476 set by Dan O’Brien on this same weekend 17 years ago in Toronto at the 1993 IAAF World Indoor Championships.
Eaton’s marks were: 60m, 6.71; LJ, 7.73; SP, 13.12; HJ, 2.11 (3,561); 60H, 7.86; PV 5.10; 1000m, 2:32.67.
Another Oregon multi-eventer, Brianne Theisen, won the women’s Pentathlon. Her total of 4396 points puts her fourth on the all-time collegiate list behind Jacquelyn Johnson, Austra Skujyte (LIT), and Hyleas Fountain.
McCorory sets US 400m record
The women’s 400 metres, which had produced bland qualifying marks, produced two sizzling final sections and a national record. First, Keshia Baker of Oregon, who came into the meet with a best of 52.79, showed us a strong, front-running style that didn’t fade over the final 50m, and powered through the finish line in 51.63. Not to be outdone, in Section Two defending champion Francena McCorory of Hampton stormed through the first 200 in 23.82 and finished unchallenged in 50.54 – not only a collegiate record, but an American national record as well, erasing Diane Dixon’s 19-year-old standard of 50.64.
The men’s 400 was won pretty easily (4 metres) by Torrin Lawrence in a good 45.23.
In the straightaway races, Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare of Texas-El Paso (aka UTEP) finished the double which is beginning to look like her property. Friday she won the long jump with 6.87; today she came from behind with a burst and a lean at the tape to edge Gabby Mayo of Texas A&M; both were timed in 7.18, with the nod going to Okagbare, 7.172 to 7.175 – a couple or three centimetres.
The men’s 60 was won by Floridian Jeff Demps, his time of 6.57 confirming his 6.56 of Friday when he led the qualifiers. Closest to Demps was Gerald Phiri (ZAM), in 6.60.
Both 60m hurdles winners had to come from behind. Defending champion Ronnie Ash of Oklahoma, who led Friday’s qualifiers with 7.55, recovered from a bad start to edge Booker Nunley of South Carolia, 7.56 to 7.58. Queen Harrison emerged from a crowd at the fourth barrier to beat her Virginia Tech teammate, Kristi Castlin, 7.95 to 8.01.
Taylor leaps to 17.18
Standouts in the jumps today were Christian Taylor of Florida, with two world-class triple jumps (17.18 and 17.17); Kylie Hutson of Indiana State, winner of the women’s pole vault for the third straight year, with a 4.50 clearance – both are Americans – and Kimberly Williams (JAM) of Florida State, who defended her championship with a winning jump of 13.95.
In the men’s high jump Derek Drouin, a Canadian sophomore at Indiana University, had only one miss enroute to a victorious 2.28, which he followed with two very close misses at 2.31.
The middle distances were mostly slow, tactical races, but both 800s are worth noting. Phoebe Writght of Tennessee won the women’s race, leading all the way to win handily in 2:02.55. In the men’s 800, fast-closing U.S. Olympian Andrew Wheating of Oregon overtook Penn State’s Ryan Foster (AUS) in the home straight, only to be out-fast-finished by Virginia freshman Robbie Andrews, who won by 1/100th of a second in 1:48.39.
The day’s two throws were won by Walter Henning of Louisiana State, who took the men’s weight throw with a good 23.56; and Mariam Kevkishvili of Florida, who won her second straight women’s shot put title, with a throw of 18.59m. Kevkishvili comes from Georgia, but not the state that abuts Florida on the north; her Georgia is the former SSR, halfway around the world.
Finally, Texas A&M won the men’s 4x400 relay with the excellent time of 3:04.40.
Jim Dunaway for the IAAF
* World record subject to usual ratification procedures