Maia Ramsden and Juliette Whittaker Complete Indoor/Outdoor Doubles as Doris Lemngole Takes Down Olivia Markezich in Steeple

The 2024 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships came to a close today as the women’s championship concluded the action. Team wise, the amazing 400 runners from Arkansas stole the show going 1-2-3-4 in the open 400 and then breaking their own collegiate record in the 4 x 400 by nearly 4 seconds (3:17.96 vs 3:21.92) to win the team title for the Razorbacks in the final event. In the 5000, Parker Valby broke her own collegiate record of 4:52.79 by running 14:52.18 to win the 5000 by 17+ seconds and become the first women in NCAA history to win 5 distance titles in an academic year.

In the field events, Illinois’ Rose Yeboah of Ghanaand Goergia’s Elena Kulichenko of Cypriot both tired for the win in the high jump with a meet record of clearance of 1.97, breaking the 1.96 set by Amy Acuff back in 1995. In the discus, Vanderbilt senior Veronica Fraley, who had never scored in the discus before at NCAAs, won the discuss (63.66) after a nearly 5 foot pb (4’8″, 0.82m). In the triple jump, #1 seed Ackelia Smith of Texas completed the lj/tj double win with a 14.52.

The sprints, where also Ole Miss’s McKenzie Long won the 100 (10.82, +2.2) and 200 (21.83, +1.0) and led the Rebels to a 4 x 100 win as well, gets its own recap here as does Valby’s 5000 win here. We recap the rest of the distance events for you below – 1500, steeple and 800.

Women’s 1500: Ramsden repeats in dominant fashion

The first 800 meters of the women’s 1500 didn’t amount to much. Similarly to yesterday’s 5,000 final, you could throw a blanket over the entire field–but that didn’t last for long. Over the final 700 meters, defending champion Maia Ramsden made a statement, running 4:06.62 to win in dominant fashion. 

Despite her ferocious close, Ramsden wasn’t the fastest woman over the last lap. That was Kimberley May of Providence, who ultimately finished runner-up. May came on strong in the final 200 meters to reel in Flomena Asekol alongside Oregon’s Klaudia Kazimierska and clocked a 60.28 final quarter, but was a distant second in 4:08.07.

Kazimierska would finish in third, followed by Melissa Riggins of Georgetown who ran down Asekol in the final 30 meters. Shannon Flockhart of Providence, who ran the fastest time in the semifinals, finished in sixth place.

Harvard [JR]
2Kimberley MAY
Providence [JR]
Oregon [SO]
4Melissa RIGGINS
Georgetown [JR]
5Flomena ASEKOL
Florida [SR]
Providence [JR]
7Lindsey BUTLER
Virginia Tech [JR]
8Olivia HOWELL
Texas [SR]
Northern Arizona [JR]
10Samantha BUSH
NC State [SR]
Rider [SR]
Washington [JR]

Quick Take: What a 2024 season by Maia Ramsden

In winning her third NCAA title on Saturday afternoon, Ramsden made all sorts of history. As the reigning 1500m champion, Ramsden entered 2024 as the woman to beat, but recent history has shown that it is difficult to maintain consistency in this event. Ramsden is the first woman to sweep the indoor mile/outdoor 1500 titles in the same year since Florida’s Charlotte Browning in 2010 and the first to repeat as 1500 champion since Mississippi State’s Tiffany McWilliams did it 20 years ago.

Article continues below player.

And Ramsden did not just win; she dominated. Her 1.45-second margin of victory was the largest in this event since 2005. Ramsden has had a lot on her plate this year, from flying around the world to chase world ranking points to completing her senior thesis at Harvard to managing interest from shoe companies. She has handled it all with aplomb, winning her second and third NCAA titles and running the #2 time in collegiate history (4:02.58) last month in LA.

And Ramsden is not planning on stopping anytime soon. Unlike last year, where Ramsden planned to peak for NCAAs, she came into 2024 with the Olympics in mind.

“This year it’s been about finding more patience to know that I’m hoping to be racing until the end of August,” Ramsden said.

Quick Take: Kimberley May may have found a new strategy

May was 3rd at NCAA indoors so you might not think she’d be as nervous ahead of this race. But she said she had low confidence going in because she had decided with her coach Ray Treacy that she would try to come from behind rather than staying near the front of the race. It’s safe to say it paid off. No one was beating Ramsden today, but May timed her kick very well to move from 7th to 2nd over with a terrific 60.28 final lap.

“I’ve been doing a lot of leading and it hasn’t really been working,” May said. “I keep getting passed. so today we just wanted to have a bit in the tank so I could come down the last 400.”

May was also thrilled to make it a 1-2 finish for New Zealand behind Ramsden.

“It was really cool,” May said.

Women’s 3k Steeple: Lemngole pulls away late

A matchup that promised fireworks between reigning NCAA champion Olivia Markezich of Notre Dame and the second-fastest woman in NCAA history, Alabama freshman Doris Lemngole, delivered a great race and two of the fastest times ever run in the NCAA. The two women battled tooth and nail until the final lap, when Lemngole finally gained some separation and pulled away to win in a personal best of 9:15.24, breaking the 9:16.00 collegiate record of Courtney Wayment set at this meet two years ago. Markezich gave it everything she had, running 9:17.36 — the #3 time in NCAA history and a narrow improvement on the 9:17.93 she ran to finish 4th at USAs last year.

From the start, the top four seeds occupied the lead pack. It was CBU’s Greta Karinauskaite who took up leading duties early as she guided the field through 1k in 3:11 (9:33 pace). Lemngole, who has run from the front all year, was content to sit back, waiting until the mile to move into the lead; a duty she shared with Markezich. 

It wasn’t until 500 meters to go when Markezich made the first move, one that Lemngole covered immediately. Over the final lap, Lemngole would stride away from Markezich and ultimately win by over two seconds (9:15.24 to 9:17.36). 

Janette Schraft of Iowa State would reel in Karinauskaite over the final 400 meters to claim third place.

Alabama [FR]
9:15.24 PB   CL   MR   CR  
Notre Dame [SR]
9:17.36 PB  
3Janette SCHRAFT
Iowa State [SR]
9:34.82 PB  
9:35.56 SB  
Arkansas [SR]
Florida [SR]
7Sophie NOVAK
Notre Dame [JR]
9:40.54 PB  
8Karrie BALOGA
Northern Arizona [FR]
9:42.22 PB  
9Taylor LOVELL
9:48.39 PB  
10Calli DOAN
Liberty [SR]
9:49.54 PB  
Boston College [SR]
Minnesota [FR]

Quick Take: The collegiate record went down at NCAAs for the third time since 2016

Unlike the 5,000 or 10,000, there is an advantage to being out front in the steeplechase and forcing a fast pace — you get a clean run at the barrier and less traffic to get caught up in while hurdling. As a result, it is not uncommon to see some of the fastest times of the year in the NCAA final. Today was the third time in nine years that the collegiate record went down at NCAAs (Courtney Frerichs broke it in 2016 and Courtney Wayment broke it in 2022) and of the seven fastest times in NCAA history, six have come in the NCAA final.

9:15.24 Doris Lemngole, Alabama 2024 NCAAs
9:16.00 Courtney Wayment, BYU 2022 NCAAs
9:17.36 Olivia Markezich, Notre Dame 2024 NCAAs
9:22.31 Doris Lemngole, Alabama 2024 Wake Forest Invite
9:24.41 Courtney Frerichs, New Mexico 2016 NCAAs
9:25.03 Olivia Markezich, Notre Dame 2023 NCAAs
9:25.08 Kayley DeLay, Yale 2022 NCAAs
9:25.54 Jenny Simpson, Colorado 2009 NCAAs

Lemngole said coming in her plan was to break 9:20 and win the national championship. Mission accomplished on both fronts.

Quick Take: Markezich could not manage the repeat, but she is in a good spot to make the US Olympic team

Markezich was expecting a fast race and got one. Though she obviously wanted to win, she was proud of her result.

“I gave it my all,” Markezich said. “Any day with a small PR is a good day, so I’m very happy with it.”

Looking ahead, Markezich’s 9:17.36 today puts her #3 on the US list for 2024, behind Val Constien and Courtney Wayment. Markezich was 4th at USAs last year, and one of the women who beat her, Emma Coburn, will miss the Olympic Trials due to injury, as will American record holder Courtney Frerichs. It means the team will be easier to make than four years ago, but that does not mean it will be easy. Gabi Jennings has a season’s best (9:18:00) just behind Markezich’s, and reigning US champ Krissy Gear has only run 9:24 this year but has a dangerous kick.

“Even without Emma and Courtney, there’s still a ton of amazing US steeplers,” Markezich said.

Women’s 800: Juliette Whittaker leads 1-2 Stanford finish

Stanford teammates Juliette Whittaker and Roisin Willis used a huge last 100 meters to claim the first and second place spots in the women’s 800, running 1:59.61 and 2:00.17, respectively. 

In unusual fashion, defending champion Michaela Rose of LSU wasn’t in the lead at the bell. Instead, it was Sanu Jallow of Arkansas who towed the field through in 58.06 seconds. Rose didn’t take the lead until 500 meters and was never able to shake the field, especially Whittaker, who measured Rose until the final 100 meters and blew by her down the homestretch. 

Oklahoma State’s Gabija Galvydyte , last year’s runnerup, followed Whittaker in close order down the stretch but was overtaken at the line by Willis. For Whittaker, this is her second NCAA title over 800 meters in 2024 as she also defeated Rose indoors.

Rose ultimately faded to fourth place, running 2:01.03.

Stanford [SO]
1:59.61 PB  
2Roisin WILLIS
Stanford [SO]
2:00.17 PB  
Oklahoma State [JR]
4Michaela ROSE
Penn State [SO]
2:01.05 PB  
Arkansas [SO]
Ohio State [SO]
Duke [SO]
Harvard [FR]

Quick Take: Juliette Whittaker sweeps the NCAA 800 titles and a pb should be coming

You’d have to go back to Raevyn Rogers in 2017 to find the last time a woman swept the NCAA indoor and outdoor 800 titles in the same year. After today’s performance, Whittaker can lay claim to the same feat, and her future is very bright. Considering how easily Whittaker hung on Rose’s shoulder on the second lap and how much separation she created in the home straight, she looks capable of running significantly faster than the 1:59.61 she clocked today to win. It’s going to be fun to see how fast she can run against better competition at the Olympic Trials later this month.

Quick Take: Juliette Whittaker and Roisin Willis go 1-2 at NCAAs (again)

Whittaker (1:59.04 pb) and Willis (1:59.13 pb) entered the NCAA in the fall of 2022 as the two fastest high school runners in US history. And though neither has lowered their pb through two years at Stanford, they have delivered when it comes to winning NCAA titles, claiming three of the four 800 titles available to them as well as a DMR win in 2023.

Today, Whittaker and Willis went 1-2 just as they did at 2023 NCAA indoors, but this race was the inverse of that one. In 2023, Willis won and Whittaker used a late charge for second while this time, the order was reversed.

That’s not to say it’s been entirely smooth sailing. Last year, Whittaker didn’t make it to NCAA outdoors after trying to qualify in the 1500. And after winning indoors last year, Willis battled depression and major insomnia issues, which sapped her joy from the sport.

Willis underwent insomnia therapy this year, which has been a huge help — she proudly said she got a full eight hours of sleep on Friday night — and feels in a much better place now, something that was clear to see from her post-race demeanor compared to last year.

“I’m just so at peace now and just so happy and so content and just a much stronger person overall,” Willis said.

Quick Take: Michaela Rose was at a loss to explain her performance

Rose was the defending champion and the only woman in the field to have broken 1:59, doing it twice this year — 1:58.37 at Bryan Clay in April and 1:58.89 at SECs in May. She had easily the fastest time in the prelims as well, running 1:59.05 on Thursday, but had an uncharacteristically poor race today and was 4th in 2:01.03. The first sign something was amiss was when Rose was not near the front at 200, and though she would move up to 2nd by the bell, she didn’t have anything on the last lap and would fade to 4th.

“My close is something I’ve been trying to work on and it wasn’t there today even though we were much slower than I anticipated,” Rose said.

Rose said that practices indicate that she is still in the same kind of shape as when she ran 1:58.37 earlier this season. She still feels her chances of making the Olympic team are “great” but knows she cannot afford a repeat of today’s performance against the likes of Athing Mu, Nia Akins, and Raevyn Rogers at the Trials.

“I just need to race better,” Rose said. “And hopefully at the US Trials I clean that up, because making mistakes like that, I’m not going to make the team.”

Talk about the meet on our messageboard:

Want More? Join The Supporters Club Today
Support independent journalism and get:
  • Exclusive Access to VIP Supporters Club Content
  • Bonus Podcasts Every Friday
  • Free Shirt (Annual Subscribers)
  • Exclusive Discounts
  • Enhanced Message Boards