This weekend, the best collegiate track and field athletes went head-to-head at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama. On March 11 and 12, team and individual champions were crowned in a series of upsets and record-breaking performances across events at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
The University of Texas men’s team won the program’s first ever NCAA indoor title by scoring 47 points thanks to standout wins and breakthrough performances. The meet kicked off on Friday with an upset victory in the distance medley relay and continued on Saturday with the Longhorns scoring 13 points in the 800 meters with a 2-4 finish from Jonathan Jones and Yusuf Bizimana and runner-up finishes in the 4x400-meter relay and shot put from Adrian Piperi.
For the first time since 1992, Florida won the women’s NCAA team title. The Gators scored 68 points after winning five events, including victories from Jasmine Moore in the long jump and the triple jump, in which she broke the collegiate record. Her teammate Grace Stark won the 60-meter hurdles in 7.78, tying the collegiate record. Fellow Gators Anna Hall won the pentathlon and Talitha Diggs claimed the 400-meter crown.
Here are five individual performances that stood out from the rest.
Texas pulls an upset to win distance medley relay
Going into the championships, Texas was ranked No. 10 after the Longhorns ran a season’s best of 9:23.99 in the DMR at the Alex Wilson Invitational on February 19. Three weeks later, Texas unleashed the team’s best performance to date thanks to stellar performances from each leg of the relay.
Heading into the anchor leg, the Longhorns put themselves in contention for the win, by handing off in second to Wisconsin. In his first NCAA indoor championship, freshman Yaseen Abdalla executed a patient, controlled race in the mile by kicking past Princeton, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame with 200 meters to go. Abdalla split 3:55.59 to hold off several veterans, including NCAA 1500-meter record-holder Yared Nuguse of Notre Dame.
“The Wisconsin guy was ahead of me for a little bit, but I trusted my preparation and the work I put in to go back ahead,” Abdalla told reporters. “I was focusing on my race.”
With a winning time of 9:25.20, the Longhorns broke the facility record and won the program’s first title in the event in 14 years. Notre Dame finished second in 9:25.77, and Wisconsin placed third in 9:25.78.
Jasmine Moore wins jumps double, breaks collegiate record
The Florida sophomore proved to be unbeatable in the long jump and triple jump this weekend. Moore kicked off the championship by winning the long jump in 6.57 meters in a close battle with runner-up Monae’ Nichols of Texas Tech on Friday.
On Saturday, Moore shattered the collegiate record (14.53 meters) set by Keturah Orji by winning the triple jump in 14.57 meters. Her teammate Natricia Hooper also collected major points for the Gators by finishing second in 13.99 meters.
“[Orji] is someone I’ve looked up to since high school and so, to break her collegiate record is just amazing because I know she’s a great athlete and an even better person,” Moore told ESPN.
Abdihamid Nur claims distance double
Kicking off the men’s distance finals, Abdihamid Nur of Northern Arizona smashed the NCAA indoor championship record in the men’s 5,000 meters on Friday night. The sophomore won his first NCAA title in 13:19.01, improving on the previous meet record of 13:23.77 set by Wesley Kiptoo of Iowa State.
Freshman Ky Robinson of Stanford finished a close second in 13:20.17. Nur’s teammate Nico Young, also a freshman, placed third in 13:21.23. Prior to Friday night, Nur’s personal best was 13:22.24 from the BU Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener in December.
On Saturday, Nur returned to the track with momentum, winning the NCAA 3,000-meter title in 7:59.88. In a thrilling last lap, Nur pulled away from the competition on the homestretch with a blazing kick to beat a near-blanket finish from runner-up Amon Kemboi of Arkansas (8:00.21), Charles Kicks of Stanford (8:00.23), Olin Hacker of Wisconsin (8:00.39), Eduardo Herrera of Colorado (8:00.58), and Antonio Lopez Segura of Virginia Tech (8:00.70).
“I wanted to fight hard to make everyone proud, my community, my team, and my family,” Nur told reporters after the double.
Grace Stark ties collegiate record in 60-meter hurdles
The Florida sophomore racked up major points for the Gators by running the performance of her career. Stark powered down the homestretch to win the women’s 60-meter hurdles in 7.78, tying the collegiate record set by world champion Brianna Rollins.
In a drama-filled final, Stark set an NCAA indoor championship record and a facility record on her way to winning the NCAA crown against runner-up Masai Russell of Kentucky (7.95) and third-place finisher Rayniah Jones of University of Central Florida (7.947).
“I want to give thanks to God and my coaches,” Stark told reporters. “This means the world to us.”
Abby Steiner sets NCAA championship record in 200 meters
After breaking the collegiate record earlier this season, Abby Steiner capped off a breakthrough indoor campaign by defending her NCAA 200-meter crown in 22.16. In the process, the University of Kentucky standout broke the meet record and the facility record.
Steiner lowered her own collegiate record in the 200 meters multiple times this season. On February 12, she ran 22.37 at the Tiger Paw Invitational, which improved on the previous record she set at the 2021 NCAA Track and Field Championships. On February 25, Steiner lowered the mark again by winning the SEC title in 22.09. She is currently ranked No. 1 in the world.
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Taylor Dutch is a writer and editor living in Austin, Texas, and a former NCAA track athlete who specializes in fitness, wellness, and endurance sports coverage. Her work has appeared in Runner’s World, SELF, Bicycling, Outside, and Podium Runner.