World-leading marks by sprinter Trayvon Bromell, long jumper Marquis Dendy and hurdler Omar McLeod, as well as a 5.91m vault by Shawn Barber, provided the highlight of the two days of competition at the NCAA Indoor Championships, which finished in Fayetteville on Saturday night (14).
Bromell gave notice that he was in great form at the US collegiate championships when he clocked a personal best of 20.23 in his 200m heat on Friday and then improved further to a stunning 20.19 in his final on Saturday.
Although the 200m is no longer contested at major international indoor championships, there was no doubting the quality of his run.
The teenager, the world junior 100m record-holder, is now the third-fastest sprinter ever in the event, after only Frankie Fredericks and Wallace Spearmon, and his final time equalled the fifth fastest performance ever.
His time was also a world age-19 best and his 200m win gave him sizeable compensation after being disqualified in the 60m heats on Friday, another event for which he was the favourite.
Behind Bromell, Canada's Andre de Grasse set a national indoor record of 20.26, moving up to equal fifth on the world all-time list.
Kyra Jefferson won the women’s 200m 22.63, upsetting the formbook and favourite Jenna Prandini, who had run a world-leading 22.52 in her heat on Friday, the latter finishing second in the final in 22.74.
However, Prandini did leave Arkansas with one title as she had already won the long jump with a personal best of 6.65m on Friday.
McLeod hinted that he was the man to watch in the 60m hurdles when he clocked 7.55 in his heat and then he sizzled over the barriers in the final to win in 7.45, which equalled the best time in the world held by Cuba’s Orlando Ortega.
He also set a NCAA record and Jamaican record.
Dendy had a busy couple of days, winning the triple jump on Saturday in a world-leading 17.37m to add to the long jump title he won the day before.
The University of Florida student won the triple jump with relative ease by more than halfa metre with Donald Scott taking second with 16.84m. But the long jump, regaining the title he won in 2013, was a much closer affair.
Dendy leapt to 8.28m in the second round to equal his personal best but just held off Jarrion Lawson who jumped 8.27m in the final round.
However, Florida head coach Mike Holloway afterwards called Dendy “possibly the best jumper we have had at Florida”, which is high praise indeed as recent alumni include Christian Taylor and Will Claye.
The women’s triple jump was also won by a Florida jumper, Ciarra Brewer bounding out to 14.01m while the women’s pole vault went to Sandi Morris with 4.60m.
In the penultimate track event of the two days, University of Texas’ all-US 4x400m quartet of Morolake Akinosun, Ashley Spencer, Courtney Okolo and Kendall Baisden combined to clock a world-leading 3:28.48.
Croatian shot putter Stipe Zunic showed no signs of jet lag after competing at the European Indoor Championships in Prague last weekend and set his third and fourth national indoor records of the winter en route to winning an entertaining and intense competition in Fayetteville.
Zunic launched the shot out to 20.85m with his third effort but was still behind the former world youth champion Ryan Crouser at the halfway point, the US thrower having reached 20.90m in the third round.
However, Zunic put a huge 21.11m in the fifth round to move up to fourth on the 2015 world indoor list. Crouser still had plenty left in the tank and improved to 20.93m in the final round but had to settle for second place.
In the women's shot, Raven Saunders smashed her own US junior shot put record with 18.62m, moving up to third on the world junior indoor all-time list.
World junior hurdles record for Hall
The 60m sprints saw some flying performances with Ronnie Baker taking the men’s honours in 6.52 and Remona Burchell winning the women’s final in 7.12
Kendra Harrison took the 60m hurdles in 7.87, just ahead of Bridgette Owens in 7.88, both women setting personal bests.
Dior Hall, the world junior 100m hurdles silver medallist, set a world junior record (subject to ratification) of 8.01 in her heat but got almost everything wrong in the final, the teenage talent finishing eighth and last.
Kendell Williams, who beat Hall to the world junior title over the barriers last summer, again showed off her versatility and won the pentathlon in a US collegiate record of 4678 points, a tally which included a personal best of 8.10 in the 60m hurdles and in the 800m.
Vernon Norwood won the men’s 400m in 45.31, the second-fastest time in the world this year, while Courtney Okolo won the women's event over two laps of the track in a world-leading personal best of 51.12, with Taylor Ellis-Watson second in 51.52.
The highlight of the first day's finals saw pole vaulter Shawn Barber improve his own Canadian and collegiate record to 5.91m, going over that height on his third attempt before unsuccessfully trying to become the 19th man in history to clear six metres.
Barber’s performance places him only behind Renaud Lavillenie in the 2015 world indoor lists. He won from Jake Blankenship, who cleared a personal best of 5.80m.
Michael Lihrman won the weight throw with 24.64m and Leontia Kallenou set a Cypriot high jump record of 1.93m when winning her specialist event.
Oregon’s men won its second consecutive NCAA team crown after winning four distance races, including a memorable 3000m and 5000m double by Eric Jenkins, with Arkansas taking its first women’s title.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF