The outdoor T&F season hit starting blocks
OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD
🏃 Born to run
The GIST: The outdoor T&F season and its 965 women’s and 875 men’s teams hit starting blocks mere days after indoor’s national champs hoist their hardware, and its late-May finish line means it’s one of the last ’ships to close out the NCAA season.
How it works: Because outdoor tracks are so much bigger, there’s room for longer sprints and more field events. There are 21 outdoor T&F events, including 11 exclusive to the outdoor season, like the 3K steeplechase and javelin. In the spring, women level up to the seven-event heptathlon, while the men leap up to the decathlon’s 10 contests.
The women: Even after one was vacated, LSU has the most nattys by far, with 14 since the first was hoisted in 1982. The runners-up in that race are reigning champs Texas, whose finally-the-bride 2023 moment came after placing second at the 2022 indoor, 2022 outdoor, and 2023 indoor championships. Sheesh.
- Like Arkansas and the aforementioned Wilson, Texas was led by a phenomenal sprinting corps that included previously mentioned superstar (and now pro) Julien Alfred. One of the most recognizable names in the college game, she’s already kicking ass in the big time.
The men: As one of the NCAA’s oldest sports, the first fellas’ T&F championship was held in 1921. USC ran up the score in the first 55 years, racking up 25 nattys before 1977 — a number that keeps them on top to this day, despite failing to win a title since. Arkansas’ 10 trophies puts them in second, two vacated championships aside.
- But Florida’s the powerhouse these days, placing either first or second in 11 of the last 13 ’ships. They squeaked past Arkansas to hoist this year’s trophy, relying on their 4x400m team to win the meet’s last event and bring home the Razorback bacon.