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This was it for the men at the NCAA Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, and as usual, the racing was hot despite overcast skies. And no one was hotter than Florida State’s world leader in the 110 m hurdles, Trey Cunningham.
Cunningham came into the NCAA meet as the favorite at 13.07, but he was trailing LSU’s Eric Edwards over the first hurdle, but he didn’t panic. Edwards stayed strong, but Cunningham drew even by hurdle four and had the lead by hurdle eight, then stormed to the finish to win in a sensational 13.00 (wind 0.0 m/s), not just the world lead, but equal-23rd all-time and no. 14 all-time U.S.
Edwards also ran a lifetime best of 13.15 for second and Michigan’s Josh Zeller claimed third at 13.26.
In the 100 m, Florida’s Joseph Fahnbulleh (LBR) always gets out poorly and he did so again, but his late-race surge carried him to the line first in 10.00 (+0.6), ahead of Tennessee’s Favour Ashe (NGR: 10.08) and Javonte Harding (North Carolina A&T: 10.08).
But Fahnbulleh was even better in the 200 m, only in third off the turn, but then he turned on the top-end speed that no one could match, winning by 5 m in 19.83 (+0.6), a national record and equal-third in the world for 2022. He will be a contender at the World Championships in Eugene in July; asked when he feels confident during a race that he can win, he said “If I’m even, I’m leavin’.”
Georgia’s Matt Boling was second in 2013, with Stanford frosh Udodi Onwuzurike (NGR) third (20.15).
North Carolina A&T’s Randolph Ross was the defending champion, but drew lane eight. But he had a plan, pushed hard down the back straight and came off the final turn in the lead, with Florida’s Champion Allison trailing. Ross was smooth to the finish and won decisively in 44.13, no. 3 in the world for 2022. Allison was strong in the final 30 m to get second over Elija Godwin (Georgia), 44.41-44.50. Asked afterwards about the time – he won in 43.85 last season – Ross just said, “awful.” Wow.
Texas Tech’s Mouad Zahafi (MAR) came into the 800 m final as the world leader, but only took the lead with 220 m to go. But he was strong to the finish and won comfortably in 1:44.49. Brandon Miller (Texas A&M) had the lead for most of the race and then came back on Zahafi on the final straight, but could not catch him and was passed in the final 5 m by Navasky Anderson (Mississippi State), 1:45.02 (lifetime best)-1:45.09.
In the 400m hurdles, defending champ Sean “Squirrel” Burrell was trailing around the final curve, but accelerated over hurdles eight and nine to take the lead and won in 48.70. Malik Metivier (Texas Tech/CAN) held on for second in 49.13.
In the triple jump, TCU senior Chengetayi Mapaya (ZIM) took control of the event in the third round at 17.26 m (56-7 1/2), a lifetime best and now no. 4 in the world for 2022. He knew it and added a wild celebration once he was out of the pit.
Florida won the men’s team title before the 4×400 m relay, but the quartet of Jacory Patterson, Ryan Willie, Jacob Miley and Allison ran a meet record of 2:58.88 to put the finishing touch on the meet. Florida finished with 54 points, to 38 for Texas and 34 for Tennessee.
Thursday’s women’s semifinals – and a few finals – were exciting, starting with another collegiate record in the hammer, as Canada’s Cam Rogers (California) got out to 77.67 m (254-10) to improve her grip on no. 4 in the world this season and set another Canadian record. That was just enough to beat Alyssa Wilson (USA) of Texas State, with a lifetime best of 74.78 m (245-4), now no. 7 on the year list.
That wasn’t the only collegiate record on the day, as Ohio State’s Adelaide Aquilla, a Tokyo Olympian and the defending champ, got out to 19.64 m (64-5 1/4) to smash the 19.46 m (63-10 1/4) throw by Maggie Ewen (Arizona State) from 2018. Aquilla moved to no. 4 on the world list.
In the sprint semis, Texas soph Julia Allred (LCA) ran 10.90 (+0.6) to win semi one, as did Kentucky junior Abby Steiner in semi two (+1.0), with six women in all under 11 seconds! Steiner was on the gas in the 200 m, winning in 22.02 (+0.5) for a lifetime best, but keeping her at no. 6 in the world. LSU’s Favour Ofili (NGR) ran 22.13 (-0.2) to win semi two.
Florida’s Talitha Diggs won the first semi in 50.08, no. 5 in 2022 and a lifetime best, ahead of Stacey Ann Williams (Texas: 50.18, also a personal record).
LSU’s Alia Armstrong posted the fastest 100 m hurdles time at 12.55 (+0.2), a lifetime best and now no. 7 in the world for 2022. Florida’s Anna Hall, already the U.S. national champ in the Heptathlon this season, had the fastest time in the 400 m hurdles at 54.48, no. 9 in the world for 2022! Arkansas star Britton Wilson won her semi in 54.72.
The women’s finals will be on Saturday.
For our updated, 620-event International Sports Calendar for 2022 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!