Sam Fariss is writing 3 stories on the NCAA Track & Field Championships, this is her second column.
NCAA Championships 2023, Day 3: Five facility records fall at Mike A. Myers Stadium
By Sam Fariss for RunBlogRun
AUSTIN, TEXAS – There were tremendous expectations for Friday of the NCAA track and field Championships, and the evening filled with men’s finals and seemingly endless personal bests certainly did not disappoint.
Not only were athletes’ career records shattered throughout the third day of the highly competitive meet, but fans also witnessed five facility records get shattered at the University of Texas Mike A. Myers Stadium. Not to mention the competitors producing a collegiate record and a meet record throughout the events as well.
Kenneth Brooks, BYU junior and the only non-SEC athlete to earn a facility record Friday night, ran an impressive 8:26.17 in the 3000-meter steeplechase event. This wasn’t quite Brooks’ fastest time of his collegiate career, but he couldn’t complain about the overall result and setting the new record for the track.
“That last lap, I felt good. I like to lead going fast because I get a clear look at the barriers, which helps me get some clean hurdles. It gives me a lot of confidence,” Brooks said.
Jaydon Hibbert, the Arkansas freshman, earned 1st place in the triple jump when he landed 17.56 meters beyond his initial launch point. While not a personal best for the Razorback, securing his first outdoor title and the facility record was enough.
“I haven’t performed in front of a crowd like this one here at the national championships. I’m really happy,” Herbert said.
The astonishing results were far from over as the men’s 800 meters got underway. The at-home favorite Yusuf Bizimana was knocked to second by true freshman University of Georgia’s Will Sumner. The young Bulldog not only broke the facility record, he also set a personal best and a collegiate lead to cap off his rookie season.
Sumner was able to complete negative splits, clocking his first lap at 53 seconds and his second at a jaw-dropping 51 seconds.
“It’s honestly just amazing,” Sumner said. “I came out here knowing that if I did everything right, that’s what would happen, but to be able to actually do it is another thing.”
Later that evening, yet another collegiate lead and personal best were set by Alabama’s Chris Robinson. The junior ran a 48.12 to earn the 400-meter-hurdle title and set yet another facility record for the night. Robinson’s finish was nearly a quarter of a second faster than his previous PB, which came earlier this season, and you could see the track star was feeling good as he celebrated on the track after crossing the finish line.
“At the beginning of the year, I was trying to work on my celebration, and I was inspired by someone on Instagram,” Robinson said. “It was a nice celebration to do, and I know I had to crawl around there for a second, but I’m good now.”
The final facility record to fall on Friday came from the 4×400-meter relay. The top-ranked Florida Gators seemed confident heading into the race against number two Alabama and number three Georgia – two of their conference rivals.
As the baton made its way from hand to hand and around the track, it was coming down to the Gators and, maybe surprisingly, the Arizona State Sun Devils. When the finish line neared, Florida’s anchor stretched to push himself just 0.04 seconds ahead of Arizona State to earn his team their season-best collegiate lead, facility, meet, and collegiate record. No small feat.
The relay win, which was the final event for the men’s portion of the meet, secured the overall NCAA national title for the Florida Gators’ program, repeating after last year’s sweep.
“I’m extremely proud of everybody. Everybody contributed,” Mike Holloway, Florida’s head coach, said. “We trust each other and put a lot of faith in each other. At the end of the day, this is for the guys.”
Mike A. Myers Stadium has hosted nine NCAA championships as well as holding the annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, which always produces outstanding results. These events contributed to the facility records broken by the collegiate athletes on Friday evening. Track and field fans will have to wait and see just how many fall on Saturday when the women return to the track for their event finals.