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Friday Notebook: Highlights from the Armory Collegiate Invitational

Published by
ArmoryTrack.com   Feb 8th 2014, 10:19am

Friday Notebook: Highlights from the Armory Collegiate Invitational
By Doug Binder for Armorytrack.com

The 500 meters is an event that isn't run all that often in college track and field, which is part of why it's a fun distance to try out.

 Brycen Spratling of Pitt and Diamond Dixon of Kansas -- plus Duke's Curtis Beach -- all had their eyes set on records as they pushed through their respective 500s on Friday at the Armory Collegiate Invitational presented by NYRR. 

Spratling is the collegiate record holder after running 1:00.63 two years ago here. The world record is 1:00.17. So Spratling had the world record on his mind as he tore through two and a half laps on The Armory's oval. 

He came a little bit short, finishing in 1:00.85. Earlier, running in the college section of the 500 so that he had time to recover for Duke's distance medley relay, Beach ripped away from the the field over the final 200 and finished in 1:01.50. 

"I was trying to break one minute," Beach said, sheepishly, and well aware that no one has ever broken a minute indoors. 

In the women's 500, Kansas star Diamond Dixon showed that she has returned from an injury-affected 2013 and come back to her Olympic-year form of 2012. Dixon chased after Francena McCorory's national record of 1:09.16 -- and Regina George's 1:09.81 meet and college records. But she was just a bit short, finishing in 1:10.06.

-- The championship Distance Medley Relays are one of the annual features of the meet and they didn't disappoint. The Arkansas women posted a time of 10:57.15 -- third fastest in the NCAA this year. Then, the Wisconsin men (Austin Mudd, Babatunde Awosika, Carl Hirsch and Reed Connor) went from third to first on Connor's anchor leg -- past Alabama and Ole Miss -- and posted a winning time of 9:39.09. That time moves the Badgers to 10th on the NCAA list.

-- Rutgers standout Corey Crawford regained the national lead in the long jump and became the first man over 26 feet this season with his mark of 26-1.75. Crawford got off to a roaring start to the season in December when he uncorked 25-6.75 for an early No. 1 ranking but was subsequently passed by Marquis Dendy of Florida and Raymond Higgs of Arkansas, both of whom have gone 25-10. 

-- In a high-powered men's shot put competition, national leader Steven Mozia of Cornell overcame Wisconsin's Danny Block in the fifth round and won with 64 feet, 2.50 inches. Block threw 62-8.75 and moved to No. 13 on the NCAA's list.

-- Arizona freshman Nnenya Hailey won the 60-meter hurdles championship with a season-best 8.21 seconds. That moved Hailey up from 19 to 11 on the NCAA list. 

-- In a razor-close men's 60 meters final, Tevin Hester of Clemson edged Missouri's Markesh Woodson as both timed 6.60. Jalen Miller of Ole Miss was right behind them in 6.62. Hester and Woodson moved into a tie for No. 5 on the NCAA list and Miller is now tied for 10th. 

-- Two of the top women in the U.S. for shot put were part of a competition that saw Missouri's Kearsten Peoples throw 55-6.50 for a new indoor personal best and the victory. Peoples finished fourth in the 2012 Olympics Trials. Meanwhile, Arizona's Alyssa Hasslen, a U.S. World Championships team member last summer, had a shaky start when her shot went missing and she finished third at 52-11. 

-- Ashley Abraham of Ohio State ran 7.29 in the championship finals of the 60 meters to win a competition that was dominated by Buckeyes. Abraham and teammate Chesna Sykes posted the top two times in both the prelim and semifinal rounds. In the final, Sykes pulled up and finished ninth. Abraham's time is good for a tie at No. 7 in the country this season.

-- Ole Miss pole vaulter Sam Kendrick did not make the trip with his team this week despite being one of the marquee athletes entered at this year's invitational. The school cited concerns about the timely shipment of his poles to New York City as the reason to leave Kendrick at home. He is the NCAA outdoor champion and has a 19-foot clearance on his resume.

Full results from Saturday's Armory Collegiate Invitational can be found here.

Photo galleries can be found at the following links: Collegiate Events & Junior Races, while video interviews can be found here.

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