Fred Kerley in action in the 400m (© Shawn Price / Texas A&M University)
Competing in just his second outdoor 400m of the season, NCAA indoor champion Fred Kerley smashed his PB and rocketed up the world all-time list when running 44.09 at the SEC (Southeastern Conference) Championships in Columbia, South Carolina.
The Texas A&M student recorded that time in the heats, running a strong but controlled race before easing off slightly before the finish line. On Saturday (13), the final day of the three-day championships, Kerley won the final in 44.30. Jamaican duo Nathon Allen and Akeem Bloomfield, both representing Auburn University, set PBs of 44.52 and 44.81 in second and third respectively.
Kerley’s 44.09 clocking elevates him to equal 17th on the world all-time list, equal 11th on the US all-time list, and second on the collegiate all-time list.
“Winning is always fun, but at the end of the day you’re still learning from every win,” said Kerley. “Every win is not necessarily a perfect race. In the final I didn’t adjust anything for the weather, but I was racing instead of just running my race today.
Kerley later teamed up with his younger brother Mylik to win the 4x400m for Texas A&M in a world-leading 3:00.72. Auburn University finished second, thanks to a 43.48 anchor from 400m runner-up Allen.
On a good weekend for Texas A&M, Grenada’s Lindon Victor broke his own collegiate record in the decathlon with a world-leading 8539.
He was close to his lifetime bests in the opening two events, clocking 10.64 in the 100m and leaping 7.35m in the long jump. He managed 15.18m in the shot put and cleared 2.05m in the high jump before rounding out his opening day with 48.74 in the 400m.
Victor opened the second day with a PB of 14.45 (1.8m/s) in the 110m hurdles and followed it with a discus PB of 55.22m, the best ever throw by a collegiate decathlete. He then set a Grenadian record of 4.70m with a third-time clearance in the pole vault and hurled a season’s best of 68.97m in the javelin.
The 24-year-old rounded out his SEC Championships title defence by clocking 4:55.91 in the 1500m, bringing his tally to a Grenadian record of 8539.
Victor was the lone decathlete to surpass 8000 points in the competition. Estonia’s Karl Saluri, representing the University of Georgia, placed second with 7948.
“It’s always a good thing when you win and break a collegiate record,” said Victor. “I still think there is a lot to improve upon in the decathlon. I’m still disappointed in some of my events and really happy in others. It’s typical of the decathlon, though, to up and down. It’s all about having a level head and refocusing every time.”
During his Texas Relays victory in March, when Victor set a collegiate record of 8472, he established the best collegiate first-day score with 4516 points. This weekend he produced the best collegiate second-day score with 4174 points.
“It shows my versatility,” said Victor. “If I have a bad first day, I know I can come back and have a good second day. Now it’s a matter of putting both of them together. If you add together my best two days, then I have a score of 8690.
“Nationals (NCAA Championships) is going to be a lot harder than this. There are some really good guys in the NCAA and I’m not going to take my competition lightly. I think there are three or four guys who could break this collegiate record, so it’s going to be really fun competing against these guys.”
Coleman achieves historic double
Double NCAA indoor champion Christian Coleman once again showed his versatility across sprint disciplines, becoming the first collegiate sprinter to achieve a one-day sub-10-second and sub-20-second double in the 100m and 200m.
The Tennessee student won the 100m in 9.97 (0.6m/s) from British LSU student Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake. Exactly one hour later, he won the 200m in a PB of 19.98 (0.6m/s), once again finishing ahead of Mitchell-Blake (20.09).
The 21-year-old becomes just the eighth man in history to go sub-10 and sub-20 on the same day.
Ja'Mari Ward smashed his lifetime best in the long jump, coming from behind to take the victory with a sixth-round leap of 8.13m (0.0m/s). His jump is the best mark by an U20 US athlete since 2009.
The women's event was won by Quanesha Burks with a world-leading 6.82m (0.2m/s).
Elsewhere, Decathlon specialist Devon Williams smashed his personal best in the 110m hurdles, first with 13.52 (0.7m/s) in the heats and then 13.37 (0.2m/s) to win the final.
After an 11.02 clocking in the 100m heats, LSU's Aleia Hobbs won the final in 11.12. In between those rounds, she anchored her team to a convincing 42.56 victory in the 4x100m.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF