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Dave Hunter

Dave HunterDave Hunter is a track & field journalist, announcer, and broadcaster.  Dave reports on the premier track & field gatherings around the globe, frequently serves as an arena or stadium announcer for championship events, and has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments in the sport.

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2016 NCAA Div. I Outdoor Track & Field Championships / Day Four


Stunning Collegiate Progression Fuels Steepler For More

The thrill of witnessing a collegiate athlete win a first outdoor track & field championship never gets old. The initial exhilaration exhibited after the title is secured and the flow of emotion that often follows is always a unique moment to behold. For most, earning that coveted collegiate victory is far from surprising. The 1st place trophy is normally captured by an athlete who has shown promise from the beginning and has matched it with savvy training and discipline to achieve a goal that very few ever even approach. But when a track & field athlete who initially shows little promise, trudges through an unremarkable high school career, and then - suddenly blessed with the right combination of good coaching, top flight facilities, and personal determination - blossoms into an elite track & field performer, well then you have something special indeed.

Courtney Frerichs is that very special athlete. On the final day of the 2016 NCAA outdoor track & field championships, the Missouri native - who came late to the sport and assembled a brief and undistinguished high school career - went right to the front after the crack of the starter's pistol for the women's 3000 meter steeplechase final.

Murphy_ClaytonQ-World15.jpgClayton Murphy, photo by PhotoRun.net

NCAA Champion has Decision to Make

Eugene, Oregon

Just over 50 years ago, The Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian posed the musical question:

"Did you ever have to make up your mind?

You pick up on one and leave the other behind.

It's not often easy and not often kind.

Did you ever have to make up your mind?"

Suddenly, University of Akron middle distance star Clayton Murphy will have to make up his mind. For more than a month, the New Paris, Ohio native - the reigning 800m champion at Drake, the Pan-Am Games, and the NCAA indoor championships - had affirmed he would be competing in the 1500 meters at the NCAA outdoor championships and dropping down to the 800 meters at next month's Olympic Trials. But all that has changed now in light of Day Three developments here at the 2016 NCAA outdoor track & field championships. Murphy's oft-repeated proclamation to run the 800 meters at the Trials will now be subject to further review in light of Murphy's electrifying 3:36.38 win in the NCAA 1500 meter final - a seemingly-effortless performance by the Akron junior whose winning margin was a whopping 1.68 seconds over Washington's Izaic Yorks.


NCAA Championships Athletics.jpgDominque Scott wins 10,000m, photo courtesy of Ryan Kang/AP photo

 

On the 25th and final lap of the women's NCAA 10,000 meter final, Dominique Scott rounded the Bowerman Curve - just 100 meters away from finishing off her dominating championship performance. Suddenly she glanced into the West Grandstand and a radiant smile bloomed on her face as blew a kiss into the stands. "I saw my husband was standing right there. So I blew a kiss to him," laughed the new champion after the race in the mixed zone. "I felt really good. My coach had just shouted that I had a hundred meters on the next girl. I'm not sure if that was true. But it definitely made me feel good. It made me feel like I could just soak up those last hundred meters."


Ed Cheserek.jpgThe King, NCAA 2015 (his second 10k, now he has a third!), photo by Cheryl Treworgy/Pretty Sporty

Edward Cheserek Wins 10,000, Captures 14th NCAA Crown

In an NCAA final, it is rare sight indeed to witness a legion of athletes toe the line - each with the apparent goal of finishing second. But that was the case for 23 anxious, tentative competitors in the men's 10,000 meter final as each one realistically assessed his chances against the 24th competitor: Oregon junior Edward Cheserek, the two-time defending 10,000 meter champion and 13 time NCAA titliest.


PoleVault-Doha16.jpgPole Vault, photo by PhotoRun.net

Our Sport At Its Best?

Most diehard track & field fans enjoy all forms of championship gatherings. To ask them which one is the best is a little like asking those same fans which IPA beer is the best at Eugene's iconic Wild Duck Cafe. Hey, they're all great!

But more recently, a growing legion of track & field aficionados is singing the praises of the collegiate championships, citing any number of facets to their conclusion that the college-level brand of championship athletics is their favorite. Here are some of the reasons they offer:



 

 

Jeter_CarmelitaLook-OlyTr12.jpgCarmelita Jeter, photo by PhotoRun.net

 


Decorated Sprinter Aspires To Be "People's Champ"

Unless they've been living in a cave for the past four years, most American track & field fans can visualize in their mind's eye the London Olympic Games and the enduring image of a driven Carmelita Jeter storming across the finish line in the women's 4x100m relay final to capture the gold for the USA. Just past the line and still in full throttle, a wide-eyed Jeter instinctively points her baton to the infield clock - 40.82, a new world record.

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Murphy_ClaytonQ-World15.jpgClayton Murphy, photo by PhotoRun.net


Zip Middle Distance Star Attends To "The Little Things"

Many believe that when the United States Olympic Trials roll around, the men's 800 meters may well be the most difficult event in which to gain an Olympic berth on The Hardest Team To Make. With established stars such as Nick Symmonds, Duane Solomon, Eric Sowinski, Tyler Mulder, and Casimir Loxsom clashing with younger, emerging upstarts such as Donovan Brazier, Boris Berian, Brian Kidder, and Clayton Murphy, the quality of the athletes who survive the multiple-round war of attrition to make the men's 800 meter Trials' final may well approach the stature of the Olympic Games' finalists. Projecting the 3 who will emerge as U.S Olympians in the men's 800 meters will be a difficult task at best. But when you are poised to select your three favorites as you assemble your own form chart, don't skip the Zip.

Hoffa_Reese-Brussels15.jpgReese Hoffa, photo by PhotoRun.net


Revered Veteran Reese Hoffa Solves Life's Puzzles

During his college days at the University of Georgia, young shot putter Reese Hoffa was introduced to Rubik's Cube - that maddening, multi-colored, rotating block. Like virtually everyone who has ever tackled the puzzle, he was immediately stumped. But soon Hoffa transformed his initial frustration into a challenge to conquer the Cube. "In college, it took me about 3 months to learn how to do it," explains the reigning Olympic shot put bronze medalist who patiently learned how to align all of the colors - and could do so in 39 seconds. "Once you begin to do something consistently, you start learning something new every time you do it. As your knowledge base increases, you just see the task in a more insightful way. I guess that's what happened. I began to see where the patterns were and where you needed to put the pieces to make it go together pretty quickly."

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RichardsRoss_Sanya-Doha15.jpgSanya Richards-Ross, photo by PhotoRun.net

 

SRR Bids Adieu To Penn


Franklin Field
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

After two days of wet and unseasonably cold weather which challenged the commitment of even the heartiest of track & field fans, the meteorological gods smiled on the City of Brotherly Love with dry conditions and warmer temperatures for the third and final day of the 122nd Penn Relay Carnival.

Fans from all nations - including the customary large and boisterous contingent from Jamaica - poured into Franklin Field to enjoy - indeed celebrate - the oldest and largest annual track & field gathering in the world. Saturday's full agenda included the 17th edition of USA vs. The World - a competition of nations embedded within the meet showcasing a battle of professionals from around the globe seeking to capture several important victories, earn some bragging rights, and perhaps even gain a psychological edge early in this Olympic year.

The robust and raucous crowd of 44,469 was joined by one other uninvited attendee: the unwelcomed specter of yet another potential relay exchange disaster which could once again spoil Team USA's relay efforts. In this Olympic year, could the USA actually execute crisp, clean exchanges, leaving the baton unbruised?

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Rodgers_MichaelQ1-USout15.jpgMike Rodgers, photo by PhotoRun.net

 

Franklin Field

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

It's an Olympic year. And it's also Penn Relays weekend - with unseasonably chilly weather and occasional showers in the City of Brotherly Love, and still over three months until the commencement of the Summer Games. For some world class athletes, the Penn Relays is not a component in their hand-crafted build-up to the August Olympiad in Rio. But for others, the allure of Penn is strong. Their scheduled late-April participation at Franklin Field is not just another meet. It is a rite of spring and - in this year - Penn's "USA vs. The World" is viewed by them to be an important building block in their global championship preparations.

At Friday's USATF press conference, six of Team USA's most accomplished track athletes explained why they are here to compete, what they hope to take away from their experience here, and why racing in the 122nd Penn Relay Carnival is important to them in this Olympic year.

RunBlogRun Some photographs on this site have been reproduced with permission from runblogrun.com.