How thoroughly did Cal’s Camryn Rogers dominate the women’s hammer throw competition at the NCAA Track and Field Championships on Thursday?
On the way to defending the national title she won in 2019, the junior from Canada twice broke the collegiate record and had five throws longer than second place in the competition at Oregon’s Hayward Field.
Having already clinched victory, Rogers put an exclamation mark on her performance by throwing 75.52 meters or 247 feet, 9 inches on her final attempt.
“It just felt different, like a different kind of throw to any one I’ve ever had. I never really cheer, never celebrate during the competition," she said. "I released and I just got happy instantly. I knew it was going to be a big throw and once I saw what the number was, it was everything we’ve worked up to.”
Her final record-breaking throw lifts her to No. 4 on the 2021 world leaders list.
“It just makes me all the more excited, knowing that the next competition I have will be in Tokyo,” she said.
Rogers already had the Olympic qualifying standard to represent Canada at the Tokyo Games this summer. She arrived at the NCAAs with a personal best of 239-9 or 73.09 meters.
By the time the afternoon was complete, Rogers had eclipsed that standard four times. Here’s her impressive series of throws, which included eclipsing the collegiate record on her first attempt:
Round 1: 245 feet, 11 inches or 74.97 meters
Round 2: Foul
Round 3: 240-7 or 73.33
Round 4: 237-0 or 72.27
Round 5: 241-2 or 73.52
Round 6: 247-9 or 75.52
Maggie Ewen of Arizona State set the previous collegiate record of 244-8 in 2017. Rogers also broke Ewen’s NCAA meet record of 73.32 or 240-7.
Rogers also talks in the video about about how the work she and coach Mo Saatara have put in paid off Thursday, about her plans between now and the Olympics, plus what it meant having her mother watch her throw in person for the first time this season.
Rogers’ winning throw was 14 feet beyond the second-place mark of 233-10 (71.72) by Ole Miss junior Shey Taiwo. North Carolina freshman Jillian Sippee was third at 227-9 (62.42). Both Taiwo and Shippee threw personal bests.
Rogers, who turned 22 years old on Monday, remains No. 2 on the all-time Canadian list, but she’s getting closer. Sultana Frizell set the record of 248-5 (75.73) in 2014. Rogers now trails that mark by just 8 inches.
She also now can realistically dream of finding a place on the podium in Tokyo. Gwen Berry, third among three Americans holding down the top spots on the world list, has a season best of 251-11 (76.79) — less than four feet beyond Rogers’ best effort on Thursday.
Considering Rogers tacked eight feet onto her PR on Thursday, improving four more feet does not seem overly ambitious.
Rogers remained unbeaten for more than two years against collegiate opponents, extending her streak to 11 consecutive victories.
She became the first Cal athlete to repeat as an NCAA champion in outdoor track and field since Sheila Hudson, who won the triple jump at the collegiate nationals in 1987, ’88 and ’90.
And she joined Southern Illinois’ DeAnna Price (2015-16), Georgia Jenny Dahlgren (2006-07), Florida’s Candice Scott (2003-04), South Carolina’s Dawn Ellerbe (1996-97) and three-time champ Florence Ezeh (1999-2000-01) of SMU as the NCAA’s only multiple winners in the event.
Iffy Joyner, the only other Cal athlete who qualified for the NCAAs, competes in the men’s discus event on Friday.
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo