by Heather Walker The Tiger Student Newspaper
With all of the championships, broken records, All-Americans and numerous other awards accumulated by the Clemson Men’s Indoor Track and Field team year-in and year-out, it would seem next to impossible for there to ever be any room for improvement. But nevertheless, it was yet another pivotal season for the Tigers this year.
Men’s Head Track and Field Coach Bob Pollock put it mildly in his own summary of the season.
“It was an exciting season filled with a lot of accomplishments and achievements,” said Pollock.
From the start of the season in early December, the Tigers continued to show the nation that they are an elite group of athletes among the collegiate, and world’s, best.
One of the highlights of the season was trying to keep up with Shawn Crawford as he continued to set and break the fastest times in the world this year again, and again, in the 200 meter dash. Crawford first set the record in early February at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.–ironically, a place he would later return to break the record again. Within a time of 20.62 the record was set for the world this year in the 200m by Clemson’s own Shawn Crawford.
But records are set to be broken, and Crawford and his coaches knew he was capable of doing so. He took no time to prove himself and his coaches right as the very next weekend he set a new record in the 200m for the fastest time in the world at 20.43 to help his team win its fourth consecutive ACC Indoor Championship.
It was only fitting that at the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. earlier this month, Crawford won the NCAA title for the 200m by breaking the record again in a head spinning time of 20.26.
“It is exciting to have him in our program,” said Pollock.
The indoor season certainly ended positively for Crawford, but from the beginning of the season the entire team showed promise.
The Tigers took seven of 11 events at the Clemson Opener and followed up with a win at the Clemson Invitational where the team defeated such national powerhouses as then second ranked Auburn and third ranked Georgia.
“Our expectations, as every year, are to keep the team in the top five in the nation,” said Pollock.
Pollock’s team lived up to his expectations as they all witnessed their national ranking rise to number three in the nation after the Tigers solidly took down the rest of the ACC at this year’s ACC Indoor Championship. For the fourth year in a row, the Tigers reclaimed the ACC crown. With 168 total points, the Tigers set a Clemson record for points scored in an ACC meet, and left the rest of the ACC in its dust.
“Winning the ACC Championship is obviously always a thrill,” said Pollock.
Spoken like a coach who is truly experienced in winning championships. In Pollock’s 11 years at Clemson, his indoor teams have already accumulated five ACC titles and have never finished lower than third.
“It is a good sign that our athletes are moving forward and headed in the right direction,” Pollock said.
Along with accumulating new records and championships, the Tigers also spent the season accumulating national qualifiers for the culmination of the season at the NCAA Indoor Championships earlier this month.
According to Pollock, the Tigers achieved 19 provisional and automatic qualifiers alone at the ACC Championships.
Clemson ended up taking six athletes and a number three national ranking to the National Championships for competition in five events.
Crawford won the National Championship in the 200m at 20.26, a new American record. He also placed fourth in the 60m dash at 6.67 and won two All-American honors.
Another Clemson All-American was Sultan Tucker in the 60m hurdles. Tucker placed eighth in the event with a time of 7.97 to earn the honor.
At the conclusion of the indoor season, the Tigers finished 10th in the nation with the Southeast Region Athlete of the Year in Shawn Crawford, and the Southeast Region Coach of the Year in Bob Pollock.
“As a whole I am very pleased with what we accomplished this season. We can continue to improve and be a stronger team,” said Pollock.
The outdoor season appears to be shaping up to be just as exciting as the indoor season was for the Tigers. The team won four events last weekend at the Florida Relays. In the ACC, the Tigers are just as dominant during outdoor season as it is indoors. Clemson has won four ACC Outdoor titles under Pollock and will be looking for revenge this year after finishing second on the final day of competition last year to North Carolina.
“Only good things are going to take place,” Pollock promises.
For the past decade only good things have been taking place with the Clemson Track and Field teams, so this is one promise that the Tigers are sure to help Pollock keep.
July 12, 2021
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