10 best collegiate track & field records
There have been some career-defining and groundbreaking moments in collegiate athletics over the years. What’s most exciting is while we did lose some indoor and outdoor competition in 2020-21, it’s fair to say that college athletes used this time to fine-tune their event performance as we’ve seen many records fall over the past 6 months. So, in no particular order, here are our top 10 best collegiate records from past and present!
Sha’Carri Richardson | Louisiana State University
She needs no introduction. Richardson spent just one year in collegiate athletics with LSU before going pro with Nike, and for good reason. On the same day (June 8, 2019), she broke some long-standing women’s collegiate, American junior and world junior records at the D-I Championships in Austin, TX.
- 100m - 10.75. A new collegiate, American junior and world junior record. This was a 42-year-old collegiate record.
- 200m - 22.18. A new American junior and world junior record, previously set in 2004 by none other than Allyson Felix. The collegiate record of 22.02 is still held by Kyra Jefferson, Richardson didn’t stay on the collegiate track long enough to claim that one.
Want to know more about Sha’Carri’s decision to go pro, training, her lead up to the Olympics and more? She’s one of our Streamline Athletes Ambassadors, so watch this space for more content from her!
KC Lightfoot | Baylor University
This former Baylor junior turned professional Puma athlete is most definitely one to watch. His third year in collegiate athletics was incredible with progression and performances that understandably brought about many comparisons to world record holder, Mondo Duplantis (6.18m).
Over January and February of 2021 Lightfoot set a new indoor collegiate record three times and won Baylor their first ever pole vault title:
- 5.94m (19’5.75”) 1/16/21
- 5.95m (19’6.25”) 1/30/21
- 6.00m (19’8.25”) 2/13/21
As he built on the momentum of his indoor season, it turned out he would only complete twice outdoors before turning pro, but before he was done he did set a new PR of 5.80m (19’0.25”). The outdoor collegiate record of 6.00m was set by freshman Duplantis in his first and only collegiate season in 2019.
Lightfoot is currently ranked 19th in the world and 5th in the US leading into the Olympic trials. Watch this space!
Tara Davis | University of Texas
Tara Davis claimed a long-standing collegiate record that stood untouched since 1985 by none other than Jackie Joyner-Kersee, of UCLA at the time and later US Olympian. Davis has had an impressive career at the collegiate level and her form and momentum in 2021 has been unmatched, there’s no doubt she’ll go on to challenge Joyner’s American record of 7.49m/24’7” that’s stood since 1994.
This year she set both indoor and outdoor records:
- 6.93m(i) (March 12, 2021). Collegiate record at the NCAA D-I indoor champs
- 7.14m (March 26, 2021). Collegiate record at Texas Relays
Athing Mu | Texas A&M
Freshman Athing Mu is without a doubt the reigning queen of both the indoor and outdoor seasons this year. In her inaugural collegiate year, she’s claimed several NCAA D-I, American junior records and world junior records. She continues to excel under pressure both indoors and outdoors and effortlessly switches gears from 400m up to 1500m distances.
Take a peek below, the numbers really do speak for themselves:
- 600m(i) - 1:25.80 (Jan 23, 2021). Athing lit up the indoor season with this performance that would give her the collegiate, American junior and world junior records.
- 800m(i) - 1:58.40 (Jan 27, 2021). At the SEC indoor championships, she went for the trio again, setting a new collegiate, American junior and world junior record.
- 49.68 - 400m. Athing broke the women’s American junior outdoor record early in 2021 (49.84), which had been left standing since July 17, 2004 (Sanya Richards-Ross, Texas). In May 2021 she hit a mark of 49.68 improving upon the American U20 record and claiming the collegiate record.
- 1:57.73 - 800m (April 17, 2021). This is both a collegiate and American junior record, Mu needs to run 1:54.01 to claim the world junior record.
Cooper Teare | University of Oregon
The men of Oregon are hyped up for good reason, Cooper Teare is one of the most exciting and promising athletes in collegiate athletics. The 2020/21 season has proven to be golden for Teare who has finished first in almost every race he’s toed the line at, closely followed in a 1-2 by teammate Cole Hocker.
February 12, 2021, was a big day for the Oregon senior who ran a 3:50.39 mile(i) and 3:35.46 1500m(i) setting two new collegiate records on the same day.
Just a couple of weeks prior, Teare (3:54.61) and teammates Cole Hocker (2:49.89), Luis Peralta (47.29) and Charlie Hunter (1:47.65) also set a new men’s collegiate distance medley record of 9:19.42.
Surprisingly, he’s not yet claimed a 1500m outdoor record at the collegiate level. Yared Nuguse (Notre Dame) recently smashed this collegiate record at the ACC championships on May 13 in 3:34.68. How long will this stand with Cooper and teammate Hocker running as they have during this season? We’ll soon find out!
Keturah Orji | University of Georgia
Keturah Orji is the first woman to win 8 NCAA field event titles, Bowerman finalist in 2017, Bowerman winner in 2018, Olympian and is both collegiate and American indoor record holder in the triple jump.
Orji, now focused on Tokyo 2021, left a legacy behind her at the University of Georgia and in the NCAA with these impressive collegiate records:
- 14.53m(i) (January 20, 2018). Collegiate record at the Clemson Invitational
- 14.62m (May 13, 2018). Collegiate record at the SEC outdoor championships
Tyra Gittens | Texas A&M
Tyra is undoubtedly one of the best athletes the NCAA has ever seen. A well-rounded multi-event competitor, Gittens is a collegiate record holder, two-time NCAA champion (in pursuit of her third), four-time SEC champion and the Trinidad national record holder.
In March 2021 she set a new collegiate pentathlon(i) record of 4746 at the NCAA indoor championships in Fayetteville, AK. What’s on her radar as we approach the outdoor champs in June?
The current collegiate heptathlon record of 6527, set back by Jamaican Diane Guthrie (George Mason University) at the 1995 NCAA D-I Championships. There’s no doubt we’ll see a close race for the championship title between Gittens and Anna Hall of Georgia.
Grant Holloway | University of Florida
One of the most likeable men in professional athletics today, Grant Holloway breezes over the hurdles. The former Gator left collegiate sports with his name in the record books running a 12.98 in the 110m hurdles back in 2019 as a junior. The former collegiate record holder in this event is Renaldo Nehamiah, a man who broke the world record twice as a sophomore (13.16 and 13.00) and then went on to become the first man to break 13 seconds, setting another world record of 12.93.
Holloway and his Florida teammates also set a new collegiate record in the 4 x 100m, blazing across the line in 37.97. He also holds the 60m(i) hurdles collegiate record (7.35), but most recently claimed the world record in the same event (7.29).
Sydney McLaughlin | University of Kentucky
This University of Kentucky alum left her mark on collegiate athletics. In her primary event, the 400m hurdles she still holds the collegiate title set in 2018 of 52.75 from the SEC Outdoor Championships in Knoxville, TN. This is also the American and world junior record.
McLaughlin has a bit of depth on the track and also holds the 300m indoor record of 36.12 set back in December 2017.
She had a disappointing Olympic debut in 2016, placing 16th overall in the 400m hurdles, but she set a new PR in the 100m hurdles earlier this month (12.65) and is looking strong in the lead up to the US Olympic trials.
We couldn’t leave throwing events out of this list but surprisingly, in both men’s and women’s throws, we see some incredibly long-standing records. The ’90s were apparently a great time for collegiate throws for men and women!
Most notable is the men’s collegiate hammer throw record from May 1995, when USC’s Balázs Kiss hit a mark of 81.94m. The Hungarian went on to become the 1996 Olympic champion and the 1998 European Championships silver medalist, his career PR was 83.00m.
Unlike a lot of records on the track and in jump events, throws from collegiate to pro seem to have struggled to maintain the same level of progression. On the world stage men’s shot put, discus, hammer and javelin world records were all set between 1986-1990. For women, with the exception of Anita Włodarczyk’s 82.98m hammer throw in 2016, world records in the shot put, discus and javelin were all set between 1987-2008.
This list of records is short and excludes all of the incredible athletes and records outside of NCAA D-I! Is there an athlete or record not on our list that’s in your top picks right now? Let us know by joining the conversation on Instagram!
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