Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan has demonstrated that she is a formidable opponent any day after narrowly missing the 100m Hurdles title in her debut outing at the just concluded National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Championships held in Oregon from June 8 to 11.
Amusan held her own, finishing 2nd behind Kentucky’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn who took Cindy Ofili by surprise, coming from behind to win the NCAA title in an impressive 12.54s, as the African Games Champion followed in 12.79s (+3.8), which would have been a new Personal Best (PB) but for the excessive tailwind.
Oregon’s Sasha Wallace was 3rd in 12.81s (12.804) while Ofili, who was runner-up to Kendra Harrison last year, came in 4th in 12.81s. The British athlete will no doubt rue her lost opportunity, considering that this is her senior year at the University of Michigan.
Despite not finishing in the Top 3 in his individual race, Adekunle Fasasi still had something to celebrate as the University of Florida won the 2016 Men’s Track and Field outdoor title after amassing 62 points to finish ahead of the University of Arkansas (56 points) and Texas A and M (50 points).
The University of Arkansas emerged tops in the women’s category with 72 points, followed by Oregon (62 points) and Georgia (41 points).
Fasasi finished 6th (46.10s) in the men’s 400m final which was won by teammate Arman Hall in a scorching 44.82s. Fitzroy Dunkley was 2nd in 45.06s and Michael Cherry 3rd in 45.11s. He then partnered with his team mates to 2nd place (3:01.12) in the 4x400m behind Lousiana State University (LSU) which clocked 3:00.69.
Margaret Bamgbose narrowly missed a podium finish after coming 4th (51.57s) in the women’s 400m. Tournament favourite Courtney Okolo powered home in an impressive time of 50.36s to take the title ahead of Taylor Ellis-Watson (50.86s) and Shakima Wimbley (51.43s), capping off her senior year in style.
Nwanneka Okwelogu finished 10th overall in the women’s Discus throw with a distance of 53.90m. The event was won by Kelsey Card with a superior mark of 63.52m, while Kellion Knibb (61.44m) and Valarie Allman (61.42m) placed 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The standout performance of the 2016 NCAA Championships belonged to Arkansas’ Jarrion Lawson who claimed the men’s 100m (10.22s), 200m (20.19s) and Long Jump (8.15m) titles, becoming the first athlete since Jesse Owens in 1936 to win all three titles at the championships.
Oregon’s Ariana Washington did the sprint double in the women’s 100m/200m at the Hayward Field, clocking 10.95s in her first race and 22.21s in the second. Ashley Henderson was 2nd in the 100m with a time of 10.96s, while Morolake Akinosun finished 3rd in 11.07s, before placing 4th in the 200m in 22.54s.
Meanwhile Beijing 2015 Silver medallist Shamier Little clinched her third consecutive NCAA title in the women’s 400meter Hurdles after racing to a PB and World Lead (WL) of 53.51s, becoming only the second female to accomplish the feat at the NCAAs after Janeene Vickers (1989-91). Her time is also the second fastest in collegiate history.
Georgia’s Keturah Orji leaped her way into the history books after setting an American Record of 14.53m to win her third consecutive NCAA title. Orji surpassed Tiombe Hurd’s former American record of 14.45m and improved on her own collegiate record.