ON HIS HEELS: When defending national champion javelin thrower Justin Ryncavage attempts to capture his second consecutive title at the Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, Calif., this week the senior’s top competition will be his North Carolina teammate, sophomore Adam Montague.
Ryncavage, a two-time javelin at the Penn Relays, won the 2006 national championship with a school-record 243-4 throw, but Montague’s career-best heave of 242-4 to win the NCAA East Regional was the nation’s best this season.
The pair are ranked one-two on the Division I performance list this year as Ryncavage has the nation’s second best mark at 240-6. Montague and Ryncavage are coached by Tar Heel assistant Brian Blutreich, who was honored as the top Division I throwing coach in the East Region by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
In his 11th season at UNC, Blutreich also mentors Nick Owens, who won the East Regional title in the hammer and has the nation’s second-best toss at 231-5.
THE FASTEST FAVORITE: Florida State junior Walter Dix has three chances to add to his quartet of NCAA titles as he looks to lead the Seminoles to their second straight men’s national championship. Dix is the nation’s top qualifier 100 meter dash (10.05) and 200 meter dash (19.69), and he is a member of the 4x100 meter relay team that owns the best time in Division I this season.
Dix set the 200 meter collegiate record (19.69) at the NCAA East Region Championship. The native of Coral Springs, Fla., is a two-time champion in the indoor 200m, as well as the 2006 outdoor champion in the event. He also claimed the outdoor 100 meter title in 2005.
"[Walt] is that featured guy," head coach Bob Braman said. "But that doesn't put any extra pressure on him. Walt knows how to block it all out. He gets into his world and that's the way he's always been. He won't be intimidated."
ON THE RECORD: Weber State’s Lindsey Anderson enters the women’s 3,000 meter steeplechase as the NCAA all-time record-holder in the event after posting a 9:39.95 in a meet on April 29. The mark also qualified Anderson for the Olympic Trials, and is the third-best time in the world this season.
The senior from Morgan, Utah, won the NCAA West Regional championship in the steeplechase, the first-ever regional title by a Wildcat track and field athlete. Anderson’s stellar season has also put her in position to become Weber State’s first NCAA track & field champion.
Anderson, who became the first athlete to win the steeplechase, 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter at the Big Sky Championships, received Women’s Mountain District Co-Athlete of the Year by the USTFCCCA for her outstanding achievements.
HISTORY MAKER: Texas Tech sophomore Sally Kipyego has a shot to become the first woman in Division I history to claim five NCAA titles during the same school year, including the cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field seasons.
The native of Marakwet, Kenya, won the 2006 cross country national championship, and followed it up with the 3,000 and 5,000 meter titles at the 2007 indoor championships. In this week’s outdoor championships, Kipyego is the top-ranked female in the 5,000 meter (15:19.72) and 10,000 meter (31:56.72) events.
Six women have won four individual titles in NCAA history during a single track season: sprinter Carlette Guidy of Texas in 1991, sprinter Dawn Sowell of LSU in 1989, distance runner Suzy Favor of Wisconsin in 1990, jumper Sheila Hudson of California in 1990, sprinter Holli Hyche of Indiana State in 1993 and distance runner Amy Skieresz of Arizona (1996-97).