Keeping Tidy Records


The NCAA does not keep “college” track & field records. The don’t bother with distinctions. They don’t have rulings. They are like the Honey Badger, they just don’t give a $%&#.

But there are others who care… a lot. And among them are the members of FAST — the Federation of American Statisticians of Track (seriously) — who produce the FAST Annual, which is now part of the USA Track & Field’s media guide.

They parse everything. And a relatively recent debate has been, “What constitutes a college record?”

Garry Hill of Track & Field News decided that his magazine would cut off the college season with the NCAA Championship, which seems like a reasonable timeframe, but FAST has permitted college records well beyond — into the Olympic Games.

The makings of a brouhaha? Not really. Even those at FAST are turning the corner and realizing that Matthew Centrowitz finishing 11th in a race in Paris in July has little to do with his college career. Expect uniformity in the future. And for right now, appreciate T&FN’s all-time top five college performances in the 1,500:

All-Time Collegiate Men’s 1,500m List
Source: Track & Field News (Click here for more)
1. 3:35.30, Sydney Maree (Villanova, June 6, 1981)
2. 3:35.59, Kyle Merber (Columbia, May 14, 2012)
3. 3:35.79, Abdi Bile (George Mason, June 6, 1987)
4. 3:35.84, Joe Falcon (Arkansas, April 16, 1988)
4. 3:35.84, Brian Hyde (William & Mary, May 13, 1995)

And after Merber’s story broke, we also received confirmation that Denis Fikes’ 1974 record wasn’t actually the record. That was simply a converted time from the mile, which isn’t permitted. After all, there is a 109-meter difference between the two. An ‘en route’ time in the mile is permitted, but that requires a timing system set up at both locations. That did not happen during Fikes’ 3:55 mile. Time for Penn to clean up its record book!

All-Time Ivy League Men’s 1,500m List
Click here for more

1. 3:35.59, Kyle Merber (Columbia, 2012)

2. 3:39.42, Joe Stilin (Princeton, 2012)

3. 3:39.90, Trevor Van Ackeren (Princeton, 2012)

4. 3:40.06, Greg Whiteley (Brown, 1989)

5. 3:40.17, Ben True (Dartmouth, 2007)

One Response to “Keeping Tidy Records”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Let’s really give Kyle Merber and the Ivy League proper credit for what has been accomplished . . . as an American born athlete, Merber has the run the fastest collegiate 1500 meter race ever . . . and the second fastest collegiate 1500 meter race of all time. 

    Merber chose the Ivy League as a High School senior . . . and he didn’t let us down.

    This past year, Ivy League Track, with the performances of Merber, Cabral, D’Agostino . . . and many others, has produced dominating national results. 

    Wow.  Non-scholarship athletes at the most academic challenging institutions in the country are not just competing, they are winning.

    HepsTrack sing their praises . . . the Ivy League Track & Field flag has never flown higher.