NCAA Outdoors splits days for men's and women's eventsBy Kelly Ward | 06/10/2015 12:16am
05-15-15 MWTR SEC Outdoor Championships Steven Gayle Men's 400 Meter Dash. Photo courtesy of Kelly Price
In recent years, the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships hasn’t had designated days for men’s and women’s events. That changes this year.
With the exception of the decathlon for men and heptathlon for women, the men and women will not compete on the same day.
“It does tell two stories,” head coach Dan Waters said. “We get to have two championships kind of. We get to conclude one championships before we get to the next one instead of concluding them both on the same day. I think that it can really add to the storylines. It makes it a little more challenging coaching-wise being able to work with doublers and advancing and rest days and what not, but I think we’ll have a great handle on that.
“But I am in favor of it just because I think we can tell two great stories of two national championship type-teams or individual national champions for men and women.”
While an athlete ran the preliminary of a race on a Wednesday or Friday and the final on a Saturday in years past, this changes the dynamic of racing. It could add a day of rest or take it away.
“This way it drastically decreased the amount of people that could do two events because the schedule is so fast and short now because there’s not women or men involved, you don’t double the time,” Waters said. “So like for instance you’re a 100-meter or 200-meter guy and run the 4x100, it’s really hard to do that double because you’ve got the 4x100 like 35 minutes, the 100 then another 30 minutes, the 200 so it’s almost impossible to get all that done in a certain period of time especially at a high level.”
This allows more people to compete overall so different champions will emerge, Waters said.
Alabama starts off with the men Wednesday in the 4x100 relay at 6 p.m. The Crimson Tide men’s team is competing in five individual events and two relays and the women’s team in four individual events and one relay.
Junior Steven Gayle starts his championship bid Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the semifinal of the men’s 400-meter. He is seeded No. 8. Two hours later, he and the other members of the men’s 4x400 relay team compete in the semifinal.
All season, the team has worked toward this moment.
“We’ve basically been working to fix everything, perfect everything coming up to this moment so it’s always just being patient with everything and getting it right and trying to get it right at the NCAA Championship,” Gayle said.
Gayle said he doesn’t know how close to perfect the team is.
“I think we’re in a good place right now,” Gayle said. “We’re confident about what we’re doing.”