Christian Coleman wins the 100m at the NCAA Championships (Kirby Lee) © Copyright
Report Eugene, USA

Coleman captures sprint double at NCAA Championships

After speeding to a world-leading collegiate record of 9.82 in the 100m semifinals on Wednesday, Christian Coleman won the 100m and 200m finals at the NCAA Championships in Eugene on Friday (10).

With rain, strong headwinds and a temperature of 10C at Hayward Field, the conditions weren’t as conducive to fast times as they were two days ago. But the main aim for the University of Tennessee student was to simply take the titles.

Luckily for Coleman, he was one of just two 100m finalists who hadn’t contested the 4x100m final just 50 minutes earlier. The 21-year-old, who had won the NCAA indoor sprint double earlier this year, exploded from the blocks and had a clear lead after just a few seconds. Houston’s Cameron Burrell managed to close slightly in the final stages, but Coleman still won by a comfortable margin, clocking 10.04 into a -2.1m/s breeze.

Burrell, who earlier had anchored his team to victory in the 4x100m, ran 10.12 for second place, while Christopher Belcher clocked 10.19 to take third.

Coleman was back out on the track again just 45 minutes later for the 200m final. Once again, he blasted out of the blocks and had a clear advantage going into the home straight. Seeking redemption after finishing sixth in the 100m and failing to get the baton safely around in the 4x100m, LSU’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake finished strongly but couldn’t quite catch Coleman before the line.

Coleman, who earlier this year ran a world-leading 19.85, won in 20.25 (-3.1m/s) with Mitchell-Blake taking second place in 20.29. Coleman’s victory in the longer event meant he became the second man in history to win the indoor and outdoor NCAA sprint doubles in the same year.

“This means a lot to me,” said Coleman, who will now turn his attention to the upcoming US Championships where he hopes to qualify for the IAAF World Championships London 2017. “They were equally hard to win because there were some great guys in both fields and negative winds in both of them.”

Doubles for Kerley and Mihaljevic

Coleman wasn’t the only athlete to leave Hayward Field with two titles.

As expected, world leader Fred Kerley dominated the 400m, winning in 44.10. The unhelpful conditions made it difficult for the 22-year-old to match the 43.70 PB he clocked two weeks ago, but he won comfortably by more than half a second as Auburn’s Nathon Allen took the runner-up spot in 44.69.

Later that evening, Kerley returned with his Texas A&M teammates to take the 4x400m title. Texas A&M trailed Texas Tech going into the final leg, but a 43.99 anchor from Kerley gave Texas A&M the victory in 2:59.98, winning by almost two seconds from Arkansas.

More significantly, though, a 43.89 anchor from teenager Grant Holloway meant Florida finished fourth in the 4x400m, securing just enough points to win the overall team title ahead of Texas A&M.

Holloway had earlier won the 110m hurdles in 13.49, having clocked a PB of 13.41 in the semifinals, and finished second in the long jump with 8.00m.

After winning the shot put for Virginia on Wednesday, Croatia’s world indoor bronze medallist Filip Mihaljevic took the title in his secondary event, the discus, on Friday.

He was down in third place for most of the competition but steadily improved with each throw before unleashing a PB of 63.76m in the final round, overtaking Reginald Jagers and Jordan Young.

Elsewhere, Eric Futch, the 2012 world U20 champion, set PBs of 48.66 and 48.32 on his way to winning the 400m hurdles.

The middle-distance events went much to the form book as Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir, representing UTEP, won the 800m in 1:45.03 and Britain’s Josh Kerr, representing New Mexico, took the 1500m in 3:43.03.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF