ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Ryan Crouser, a volunteer assistant coach with the Arkansas men’s track and field program, won the shot put title at the USATF Indoor Championships in impressive style Saturday as he broke the meet record with the second best indoor throw ever, a mark of 74-1 ¾ (22.60) which came within less than three inches of the 31-year-old world record.
Razorback alum Sandi Morris claimed the pole vault title over Jenn Suhr while fellow alum Payton Chadwick finished as runner-up in the 60m hurdles.
Finishing among the top two places at this year’s U.S. Indoor Championships normally would have secured a position on the United States team competing the 2020 World Indoor Championships, but the recent coronavirus outbreak in China postponed the event, which was scheduled to be held in Nanjing from March 13-15, until 2021.
Crouser entered the meet as the world leader from his winning effort of 72-9 ¾ (22.19) at the recent Millrose Games. Producing four marks that surpassed 70 feet in his series, Crouser dominated the field of 19 throwers. Runner-up to Crouser was a mark of 68-5 (20.85).
In the fourth round, Crouser unleashed his top distance of 74-1 ¾, which challenged the world record of 74-4 ¼ (22.66) set in 1989 by Randy Barnes. Crouser’s previous best indoor mark of 73-3 ¼ (22.33), set at the 2019 Millrose Games, ranked fourth on the all-time world list.
“I was real happy with it and even surprised myself a little bit,” said Crouser, who bettered the meet record of 72-11 ¼ (22.23) set in 2014 by Ryan Whiting. “It’s just my second time throwing hard all year. I’ve been working on what I need to fix, and I felt like I did a good job of it. I still have stuff to work on.”
Morris, who claimed her first indoor U.S. title since 2017, topped the field of 15 vaulters with a winning height of 16-0 ¼ (4.90), while Suhr, a 17-time national winner, finished as runner-up with a 15-11 clearance.
“It’s always exciting to compete against Jenn,” noted Morris. “We really do push one another. We put the pressure on one another. Who knows, I don’t think either one of us would have jumped that high if the other person wasn’t here.”
Morris and Megan Clark, who trains at the University of Arkansas, were among the four vaulters remaining when the height reached 15-1 and eliminated five other vaulters. Clark went out at 15-5, placing fourth with her 15-1 make. Tori Hoggard (14-9) finished eighth while Lexi Jacobus (13-9 ¼) tied for 14th.
Chadwick ran 7.94 as runner-up in the 60m hurdles, just edged out by a 7.92 from Gabriele Cunningham and just ahead of a 7.96 for Tiffani McReynolds in third place.