The Week That Was: NCAA Conference Madness, All Hail The SEC, A 15 Year Old Runs 1:47 and the Hotel 4×100

The Week That Was In Running, May 7 – May 13, 2018

May 15, 2018

Past editions of The Week That Was can be found here. Questions, comments, or a tip? Please call us at 844-LETSRUN (538-7786), email us or post on our forum.

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If you missed our extensive coverage of the 2018 Shanghai Diamond League meet on Saturday, catch up here.

The Week in Numbers

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10 – place that Morgan McDonald, who has a 13:15 pb and won the Australian championships in February, finished in the men’s 5,000 at the Big 10 outdoor champs.

How can that be? Well, McDonald has been injured. It was stated on the messageboard last month after McDonald ran 14:11 at the Commonwealth Games that McDonald hadn’t run longer than 20 minutes in a month. Since McDonald had already redshirted outdoors in 2015, the Wisconsin Badgers, who were in desperate need of points, must have figured that there was nothing to lose in trying to see if McDonald could score. He didn’t score and the Badgers had a terrible Big 10 meet as the men were just 9th (the women finished in a four-way tie for 5th).

9 – number of consecutive times that the Oregon women had won the Pac-12 meet before the USC Trojans snapped that streak last weekend, defeating Oregon 170 to 154. It’s not like Oregon is horrible, however. They are #3 in the USTFCCCA rankings but USC is #1.

8 number of SEC titles won by Karissa Schweizer during her career at Missouri (counting relays and XC) now that she won the 5000 last week in a race that featured 52 starters. Schweizer was hoping that number would be nine but earlier in the meet she finished 2nd in the 1500 for the second straight year, this time to 2015 NCAA champ Rhianwedd Price-Weimer of Mississippi State.

7 – Justyn Knight‘s place on the all-time NCAA 1500 list thanks to his 3:36.07 pb. Knight ran the 1500 at the ACC champs last week and only finished 4th (NCAA mile runner-up Vincent Ciattei of Virginia Tech was the winner with teammate Diego Zarate second and Notre Dame’s star freshman Yared Nuguse third) although he did later win the 5000 (see below). We hope Knight’s loss reminds people that distance runners like Mo Farah (3:28 pb) or Galen Rupp (3:50 mile pb) might be able to run really fast for a 1500 or mile, but that doesn’t mean they’d be good at it in a championship setting.

6 – number of scorers that Syracuse had in the ACC men’s 5000 last week, led by winner Justyn Knight. Syracuse went big in the distances (five scorers in the 10k, 1-2 in the steeple) to try to win the team title, but came up eight points short of Florida State. We’ve done the math, and even if Knight ran and won the 10k as well (which was less than an hour after the 1500 prelims), Syracuse still wouldn’t have won the meet. Knight would have earned 10 points for winning the 10k, but in so doing he would have pushed all of the Orange’s other scorers down, resulting in a net gain of just four points. Of Syracuse’s 108 points, all but 28 of them came in the distance events and they scored zero in the field. In fact, Syracuse only entered one field event athlete — Randall Johnson, who finished last in the high jump. The Orange picked up one point in the 100, four in the 4×100, and 23 in the 110 hurdles. Distance-wise, they got five in the 1500, 18 in the steeple, 34 in the 5k and 23 in the 10k.

5 – number of collegians that broke 45.00 for 400 last week in various meets around the NCAA.

4 – number of pros that broke 45.00 in the IAAF Diamond League in Shanghai.

3 place that Grant Fisher, the reigning NCAA outdoor 5000 champ, finished in the 5000 at the Pac-12 Championships last weekend. Fisher wasn’t running the 5000 fresh as he had also finished third in the 1500 final earlier in the day. In case you are wondering, Ben Saarel of Colorado won the 5000 and Sam Prakel of Oregon won the 1500.

MB: Ben Saarel won the Pac 12 5k over Grant Fisher – any chance he can contend at NCAAs?

2 – number of times that NCAA 800-meter record holder Michael Saruni, the man who ran 1:43.25 two weeks ago, lost last week at the Conference USA meet. Saruni finished second to teammate Jonah Koech in both the 1500 and 800. You can watch both races below.

It didn’t look like Saruni lost on purpose, but he didn’t seem overly concerned about winning either as he was way back early in both races and Jonah Koech is pretty darn good (1:46.53 pb). We imagine the 1500 tired Saruni out a good deal as well as he is more of a 400/800 guy than an 800/1500 guy. But watching him run the 1500 was a real treat. When is the last time you saw a 45.42 400 guy run a 1500 let alone run it in the equivalent of a 4:08 mile?

Saruni runs the 1500 (last lap)

Saruni runs the 800

1 – number of collegiate women who have broken 53 seconds in the 400 hurdles after Kentucky freshman Sydney McLaughlin did it at the SEC meet last weekend (52.75). Much more on McLaughlin and the ridiculous SEC meet below.

Speaking of McLaughlin, her brother Taylor won his second Big 10 400 hurdles title for Michigan.

The Performances At The SEC Meet Were Incredible Once Again

The NCAA conference meets are in the books and as much as we like to bash the Power 5 schools for thinking no one else should be allowed to compete, some of the performances at their conference championships were amazing.

Leading the way, as is almost always the case, is the SEC. The 2018 SEC champs were once again unreal, particularly on the women’s side, which makes sense as the top four women’s teams at NCAA Indoors all came from the SEC.

The biggest star of all was of course Kentucky’s Sydney McLaughlin. She broke her own world U20 record of 53.60 by nearly a full second, running 52.75 to win the 400 hurdles, destroying Kori Carter‘s collegiate record of 53.21 (2013 NCAAs) in the process. Carter, who trains with McLaughlin in Lexington, is the reigning world champ, in case you forgot. So the 18-year-old McLaughlin (she doesn’t turn 19 until August 7) is now tied for the 9th-fastest woman in history at 400 hurdles (she’s also the 2018 world leader by over a second) and is also the third-fastest collegian in history (and #2 in the world in 2018) in the flat 400 (50.07). Her teammate, 21-year-old Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, is also a world #1 as she just missed the collegiate record by .01 thanks to the 12.40 (1.2 wind) that she ran in the 100 hurdles at SECs. Yes, she’s run faster (wind-legal) than both Keni Harrison and Brianna McNeal have this year.

In the men’s hurdles, Florida’s sophomore phenom Grant Holloway, 20, had a very successful weekend as he ran 13.15 (0.9 wind) in the 110 hurdles — the 2nd fastest time in collegiate history and the best mark in the NCAA in 39 years. To find someone who ran faster, you have to go back to Renaldo Nehemiah‘s legendary 1979 season. Coming into that year, the world record was 13.21 (Alejandro Casañas of Cuba) but Nehemiah ran 13.16 on April 14 and then 13.00 on May 6. It’s worth noting that Nehemiah was also a sophomore (at Maryland) and 20 years old — just like Holloway is now — when he accomplished all of that.

Holloway also won the long jump at 27′ 3.75″ (8.32m windy) and ran legs on Florida’s third-place 4×100 and 4×400 relays.

The flat sprints at SECs weren’t too shabby either. In the women’s 100, LSU senior Aleia Hobbs ran 10.93 in the prelims (0.4 wind) and 10.92 (1.5 wind), giving her three of the top six times in NCAA history, and also anchored LSU’s 4×100 team to a collegiate record of 42.05, breaking the previous mark of 42.12 shared by the 2017 Oregon and LSU squads. In the men’s short sprints, Georgia junior Kendal Williams, the 2014 world junior champ at 100, had never won an SEC individual title until last weekend when he won both the 100 and 200. He did it in style as in the 100 he picked up the first wind-legal sub-10 of his career, running 9.99 (1.1 wind) for the win. Previously, Williams had run a 9.98 with a 2.1 wind in 2015 and a 9.99 with a 2.1 in 2018. Williams then came back and won the 200 in 20.15 (0.8 wind). Williams was not the only collegian to break 10 over the weekend as Arkansas State’s Jaylen Bacon, who was 5th at NCAAs last year, also ran 9.99 to win the Sun Belt, but Bacon had a 2.2 wind — above the 2.0 limit.

In the 400 at the SEC champs, Auburn sophomore Nathon Allen, who was second at NCAAs last year and fifth indoors this year, ran 44.28 (#9 all-time NCAA) to get the win. He needed to run fast as Tennessee senior Nathan Strother ran 44.34 for 2nd.

And we barely talked about the field events, where Georgia’s Keturah Orji had world top 5 marks in both the long and triple jumps. Looking at the women’s events alone, both track and field, there were 11 marks that were world top-10 marks for 2018 at the SEC champs, including three world #1s.

The World Top 10 Marks Produced At the Women’s 2018 SEC Outdoor Track and Field Champs
#1 in the 100 hurdles – Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Kentucky – 12.40
#1 in the 400 hurdles – Sydney McLaughlin of Kentucky – 52.75
#1 in the 4×100 – LSU at 42.05
#3 in the 100 – Aleia Hobbs of LSU at 10.92
#3 in the 4×400 – Kentucky 3:25.99
#4 in the 200 – Lynna Irby of Georgia at 22.25
#4 in the triple jump – Keturah Orji of Georgia at 14.62m
#4 in the long jump – Keturah Orji of Georgia at 6.81m
#5 in the heptathlon – Tyra Gittens of Texas A&M with 6074
#7 in the pole value – Lexi Jacobus of Arkansas 4.65

MB: Sydney McLaughlin 52.75 400h


Kendall Ellis keeps crushing

Until 6:50 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sydney McLaughlin was the simultaneous world leader in the 400 and the 400 hurdles. And even though she lowered her world lead in the hurdles from 53.60 to 52.75, her world lead in the 400 (50.07 from the Florida Relays) went down because USC’s Kendall Ellis, the NCAA indoor 400 champion, ran 49.99 to win at the Pac-12 meet. Ellis joins Courtney Okolo (49.71 for Texas in 2016) as the only collegiate women under 50 seconds.


At the Big 12 meet, redshirt freshman Aaliyah Miller of Baylor, the 2016 World U20 silver medallist who did not compete last year outdoors (she won Big 12s indoors this year but didn’t qualify for NCAAs) showed that she is back healthy and better than ever as she won the 800 in a new pb of 2:02.41 to move to #3 in the NCAA this year. Four of the top six spots on the NCAA women’s 800 list are now freshmen.


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The fastest of those freshmen, Sammy Watson of Texas A&M (who won gold ahead of Miller at the 2016 World Under 20s), beat NCAA leader Jazmine Fray to win the SEC champs last week, 2:03.37 to 2:03.55.

A 15-Year-Old Runs 1:47.50

You don’t have to be in college to run fast. Last week, at the British Milers Club Grand Prix meet in Manchester, 15-year-old Max Burgin of Great Britain gave himself an early 16th birthday present (Burgin turns 16 on Sunday) as he obliterated his own age-15 world record in the 800. Shortly after turning 15 in June 2017, Burgin ran 1:49.42. He smashed that PR with a 1:47.50 in Manchester,  which in addition to being a new age-15 world record is also a British U17 record.

We wish Max the best but will point out that huge success early in life in the men’s 800 doesn’t necessarily result in future greatness. The holder of the previous British U17 record was Sean Molloy, who ran 1:48.24 in 2012. Molloy is 22 now and his pb is only a little bit faster at 1:47.76. In the US, Michael Granville famously ran 1:46.45 as a high schooler in 1996 at age 18 but never ran faster.

Age 15-19 world records according to

15 1:47.50               Max Burgin                 GBR 20 May 02 Manchester                 12 May 18
16 1:47.61               Sebastian Keiner           GER 22 Aug 89 Mannheim                    8 Jul 06
17 1:45.96               David Fiegen               LUX  3 Sep 84 Strasbourg                 29 Jun 02
18 1:41.73               Nijel Amos*                BOT 15 Mar 94 London                     09 Aug 12
19 1:43.55               Donavan Brazier            USA 15 Apr 97 Eugene OR                  10 Jun 16

*They didn’t have Amos as the age-18 record holder so we added him in

More: MB: Max Burgin and other Under-18 800 meter runners
*Daily Mail: Wonderkid Max Burgin set to land first British vest after achieving world record in 800m for a 15-year-old

Quote of the Week (that wasn’t quote of the day)

“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m proud to have stuck with it.”

Erin Finn texting to Race Results Weekly after barely staggering home to win the Big 10 10,000-meter title in hot conditions in 32:45.51, in a race where Finn lapped everyone in the field except for one racer.

See the uncomfortable finish here:

Finn is viewing the experience positively as she said to Flotrack a day after the race that she now knows she can “put that much more effort out in a race when I really need to.”


Tweet of the Week

Some of the youngsters at the Texas high school state meet decided they’d have a relay race in the hotel the night before states. Their race may end up being the most viewed race of all of 2018 as more than 3 million people have watched the followin

Recommended Reads

To see our favorite reads from other weeks, go here.

Quotes Of The Day And Last Week’s Home Pages

To see the actual quotes of the day from last week or last week’s home page or any home page, go to our archive page.

Got a tip, question or comment? Please call us at 844-LETSRUN (538-7786), email us or post in our forum.

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