#1 – Hammer throw
Maggie Ewen of Arizona State is projected to score in three throwing events at the NCAA Championships, but the hammer ring is where she seems most comfortable. Her PR of 238-10 is #2 on the all-time collegiate list and is 11 feet better than her closest NCAA competitor. Princeton’s Julia Ratcliffe was the 2014 champion before taking last season off in a bid to make the New Zealand Olympic team.
#2 – Pole vault
Fans can be forgiven if they think they’re seeing double on the pole vault runway today. Sophomore twin sisters Lexi and Tori Weeks of Arkansas are two of four vaulters in the field who have cleared 15 feet this year. Lexi Weeks is the reigning NCAA outdoor champion and was a surprise qualifier for Team USA at the Rio Olympics. Keep an eye on South Dakota’s Emily Grove and Baylor’s Annie Rhodes, the other two members of the 15-foot club.
#3 – 10,000 meters
Notre Dame freshman Anna Rohrer is the NCAA leader this year at 31:58.99. She’s hoping to follow in the footsteps of the Irish’s Molly Seidel, who captured the NCAA 10,000m crown two years ago. San Francisco’s Charlotte Taylor and New Mexico’s Alice Wright, a member of the Lobos’ 2015 NCAA championship cross country team, have the next two fastest times of the season. Don’t forget about South Eugene grad Erin Clark of Colorado.
#4 – Heptathlon
Georgia senior Kendell Williams will be seeking her seventh NCAA title in her final collegiate meet. Williams, who competed for Team USA at the Rio Olympics last summer, has won four NCAA Indoor pentathlon titles and two NCAA heptathlon crowns (2014, ’16). She currently stands fifth on the all-time collegiate list with a personal best of 6,354 points. Arkansas could have four scorers in this event, and Canadian freshman Nina Schultz is a rising star at Kansas State.
#5 – Shot put
Mississippi’s Raven Saunders is the collegiate record-holder, 2017 NCAA indoor champion, and 2016 NCAA outdoor champion, but she has only competed twice outdoors this season, which adds a bit of intrigue to this event. Saunders’ season-best mark of 60-8 3/4 is well off her PR of 64-2 1/4. There are four other shot putters in the field within striking distance of Saunders’ season-best.