Rojo's Roundup: No "Off-Year" in Collegiate Track and Field

Red Shannon@@rojosportsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2010


While many casual fans of Track and Field may view 2010 as an off-year (no Olympics and no Outdoor World Championships), that notion lies far from reality.

This misconception is exposed quite clearly at the Division I collegiate level. Several of the world's best indoor marks have already sprung from early NCAA competition. And while the indoor season might be viewed as simply a prelude to the outdoor season, the impetus to enter the NCAA Indoor Championships next month at full stride is very real.

The weekend of March 12-14 will be huge in the world of indoor Track and Field.

Fayetteville, Arkansas will host the Division I Indoor Championships while Doha, Qatar will simultaneously host the IAAF World Indoor Championships.

Most athletes at both the amateur and professional level view 2010 as a year to press beyond personal barriers and test themselves against the best—without having to save themselves for a climactic season-ending championship.

At the collegiate level in men's competition, the powerful Texas A&M squad will try to unseat defending champion Oregon with their deep well of sprinters and quarter-milers. The Ducks will answer, as usual, with strong resistance in the mid-distance races.

Florida State, Florida and LSU will also be in the hunt. Arkansas will be a darkhorse contender, based on its status as host.

The Texas A&M women will be favored to knock off defending champion Tennessee -  again with a strong cadre of sprinters. BYU, LSU and Oregon will challenge.
(Update: see latest rankings here.)

All this to then launch into a promising outdoor season. There, the athletes will be able to loosen themselves from the tight banked turns and abbreviated runways of indoor arenas to really maximize their potential.

Outdoors, collegiate amateurs and professionals like Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay, Yelena Isinbayeva, Kenenesa Bekele and Christian Cantwell will keep us busy until Fall.

For an "off-year", expectations for 2010 are very high!

Other interesting items in this roundup:

A thoughtful take on the primal nature of sport .

Rojo is a contemporary of the famous high jumper, Dick Fosbury. As a rival track athlete from Grants Pass High School, he (Rojo) was one of the first to witness the birth of Fosbury's legendary Flop. Here's an excellent read, which follows the evolution of the Fosbury Flop through the 1968 Olympics.

Sixteen-year-old kid launches javelin over 278 feet.
Update: the kid goes one better.

Famous 1932 Olympic steeplechase error taken to the grave.

Trivia: Who ran the first 4:00 mile ? Ryun? Bannister? Elliot? Other?

Rojo sez: see you in the next Roundup. Meanwhile, get out there and watch a track meet coming to your area soon!