The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

NCAA Regionals On Tap This Week

May 20th, 2013
11:21 am PST

PlaceholderThe championship portion of the collegiate season kicks into high gear this week with the Division I East (Greensboro NC) and West (Austin TX) Regionals. These meets are the precursor to the NCAA Division I Championships in Eugene in June.

In many ways these meets are also a preview of the USATF National championships and World Championships, as many of the top collegiate programs are peppered with elite, world class athletes. So let’s take a look at the top programs and athletes that will be on display this week. Following are the top ten men and women’s programs as ranked by the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Top Ten Men Programs

  1. Florida
  2. Texas A&M
  3. Oregon
  4. Arkansas
  5. Florida State
  6. Southern California
  7. LSU
  8. Texas
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Nebraska

Top Ten Women’s Programs

  1. Kansas
  2. Texas A&M
  3. Oregon
  4. LSU
  5. Florida
  6. Arkansas
  7. Arizona
  8. Georgia
  9. UCF
  10. Arizona State

These should be the teams dominating the action at both the Regional meets and the National Championships. Of course, the key to the team titles are the individuals – and the collegiate ranks are full of outstanding individuals. Here are 10 athletes that I think bear watching as they and their teams attempt to become National Champions.

 

Bryshon Nellum (USC) – 200/400

Nellum’s story is known to all that follow the sport – accidental shooting; extensive surgeries; years of rehab. Now as a senior he enters the championship season as the top long sprinter in the collegiate ranks with SB’s of  20.23/44.79. He was California high school champion in both sprints in outstanding times and just won both titles in the Pac12 meet – so he knows what it takes to pull it off. I expect him to be in the mix in both.

 

Isiah Young (Ole Miss) – 100/200

Young was one of those "who is that" guys last year when he made the US Olympic team in the 200 meters. His performance in London showed his inexperience, but he’s returned this year looking like a veteran! He’s running confidently and enters Regionals as the collegiate leader in the 200 at  20.20. A match up between he and Nellum could be epic.

 

Casimir  Loxsom (Penn State) – 800

Loxsom is a strong finishing half miler that was on fire during the indoor season. Athletes from the Big 10 tend to get overlooked most of the season being in the cold climes of the North. Come big meet time and warm weather, the better athletes from up north tend to surprise a big. Loxsom doing well will not be a surprise however. He should be in the thick of things at Regionals and Nationals.

 

Jonathon Cabral (Oregon) – 110 Hurdles

This young sophomore doesn’t get a lot of headlines, but he should because all he seems to do is win. I got to watch him in high school here in Cali and he’s reminiscent of Liu Xiang – solid and tough around the finish line. And Oregon will need him to do well if they hope to challenge for the national championship. As a matter of fact this could be a key event with Florida Lovett and A&M’s Davis among the major contenders.

 

Erik Kynard (Kansas State) – High Jump

Kynard enters the competition as the Olympic silver medalist from London and the world leader in the event at 2.34m/7’8".  Yet he’ll have to jump as well as he did in London if he wants the NCAA title with the London bronze medalist (Derek Drouin, Indiana) ready to challenge. Kynard could lead the best had to head match up of the collegiate season.

 

Kimberlyn Duncan (LSU) – 100/200

Duncan was a finalist at last year’s Olympic Trials. She didn’t make the team but that no embarrassment given her competition included Allyson Felix, Camelita Jeter, and Sanya Richards Ross! Here her competition will be a bit more mortal and I’m curious to see if she can pull off the double. If she can get out of the blocks in the 100 perhaps she can.

 

Jordan Hasay (Oregon) – 10,000

Hasay is as tough they come and after spending her really career in the 1500 & 5000 she’s moving up to the 10,000. Oregon is always in the thick of the team title and Hasay is always in the thick of the competition. She’ll be looking to get their title rub kicked off so look for big things from Jordan.

 

Kori Carter (Stanford) – 100H/400H

Quiet as it’s kept, Carter has been the hottest collegiate hurdler over both barriers.  So hot that she defeated Olympic finalist Georgiann Moline in the longer race at the Pac12 Championships. That’s saying a lot because Moline is a certified stud! Carter has a legitimate shot at the double. And a rematch with Moline could be a highlight of the NCAA Championships.

 

Brigetta Barrett (Arizona) – High Jump

As with the men the high jump features an Olympic medalist in London silver medalist Barrett. She should have a fairly easy time here as no one else is in her class in the collegiate ranks. What will be interesting is whether or not she can top the 2.00m mark – something not yet done in collegiate competition.

 

Andrea Geubelle (Kansas) – Long Jump/Triple Jump

The best field event doubler in the collegiate ranks, Geubelle will be key to a run by Kansas at the national title. If they are going to hold off A&M, Oregon, LSU, Florida and company, Geubelle will need to come up big. She’s tough and should be up to the task but she’ll have tough competition. Then again most of the top teams on the women’s side are depending on athletes to score multiple points.

So there’s my preliminary look at the upcoming Regionals. Since the format has no finals – just two qualifying rounds that funnel into the NCAA Championship meet – there will be no competition for  Regional titles. A major flaw in the format if you ask me. As such however, there are no match ups to discuss. We can only watch and try and determine the health and fitness of the contenders as they qualify for Eugene.

I’ll look to handicap some events between the Regional meets and Eugene. Given the level of talent this year THAT should be a lot of fun. What events are you interested in seeing handicapped?

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