The outdoor track and field national championship begins today
The GIST: The four-day national championship explodes off the starting blocks today, with 42 individual and two team trophies to hoist by Saturday evening. While track events’ first two days are mostly semifinals, field events hand out gold from the get-go, starting with the men’s hammer finals at 2:30 p.m. ET. Thor is ready to rock.
- Just like winter’s indoor championships, athletes earn points for their team based on their finishing place in individual event finals. The more meet entries a school has, the more points they could win, giving them a greater shot at the team natty.
The favorites: The top-ranked guys and No. 3 gals of Arkansas look tough AF with a nation-leading 33 total entries. The Razorbacks hope to Woo Pig their way into the history books as the first team to sweep all four men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor ’ships in the same year…
- But the No. 2 women and No. 4 men of Florida are more than ready to defend their 2022 outdoor titles, with a whopping 30 entries of their own. Picking a favorite between these two schools is harder than choosing between Paxton Hall-Yoshida and Ben Gross.
The challengers: As the runners-up in the 2022 men’s and women’s outdoor championships and the 2023 women’s indoor ’ship, Texas’ top-ranked ladies and No. 12 fellas are racing to the NCAA meet with chips on their shoulders. But with home (track and) field advantage, this could be the year the Longhorns finally close the deal.
Who to watch: Today at 6:30 p.m. ET, Princeton junior Sondre Guttormsen will try to nab one of the meet’s first trophies by launching himself back to the top of the men’s pole vault podium. After flying high above the competition all season, all eyes will be watching to see if the Norwegian can capture the collegiate record outright.
- Equally dominant is No. 4 Oregon senior Jorinde Van Klinken, the favorite in both the women’s discus and shot put. While she owns shot put’s 2022 indoor title and collegiate record, the outdoor natty has thus far evaded her — but she could seal it tomorrow at 9:30 p.m. ET.