ATHLETICS Panorama: It’s only April, but how about 19.76, 43.45 and 74-7 1/4! Wow!

U.S. 400 m star Michael Norman

It was a wild day around the track and on the infield across the country, with world-leading marks set in eight events so far this weekend:

● 100 m: 9.94, Divine Oduduru (NGR)
● 200 m: 19.76, Divine Oduduru (NGR)
● 400 m: 43.45, Michael Norman (USA)
● Pole Vault: 5.82 m (19-1), Chris Nilsen (USA)
● Triple Jump: 17.68 m (58-0 1/4), Omar Craddock (USA)
● Shot Put: 22.74 m (74-7 1/4), Ryan Crouser (USA)

● 100 m Hurdles: 12.63, Keni Harrison (USA)
● High Jump: 1.97 m (6-5 1/2), Vashti Cunningham (USA)

Oduduru, running for Texas Tech at the Michael Johnson Invitational, destroyed two good fields and won his races with identical +0.8 m/s wind readings, well within the limit for record purposes. His 100 m clocking was a lifetime best, improving from 10.10 last season. His 200 m mark was not just a PR (old: 20.13), but moved to equal-18th on the all-time list, tied with 2017 World Champion Ramil Guliyev (TUR), a Nigerian national record and no. 2 in African history!

Norman broke through last year running 43.61 to win the NCAA Championships in June, but his 43.45 was his opener (!) for 2019, at the Mt. SAC Relays in Torrance, California. He’s now equal-fourth fastest of all time (and equal-third U.S.), with 2004 Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner and the equal-sixth-fastest 400 m ever. His former USC teammate, Rai Benjamin – now an American for record purposes – was second in 44.31, making him no. 27 in U.S. history.

Mt. SAC was a sensational meet, also the site of the 12.63 season opener – and world-leader – for Harrison, and the outdoor world leader in the high jump of 1.97 m (6-5 1/2) by Cunningham.

But just as good was the Beach Invitational in Long Beach, California, just 19 miles south, which had three world leaders. Pre-eminent among them was the stunning 22.74 m shot put by 2016 Olympic champ Crouser, making him the no. 6 putter in history, with the longest throw since Randy Barnes’s world record of 23.12 m (75-10 1/4) way back in 1990.

As if to underline that the distance was no fluke, Crouser threw 22.73 m (74-7) on his fifth throw and then 22.74 m (74-7 1/4) on his sixth and final throw.

While Crouser was historic, Craddock was a stunner, with a mark that no one saw coming. Now 27, his best was 17.53 m (57-6 1/4) from 2015, but at Long Beach, his third jump was a fabulous 17.68 m (58-0 1/4), making him just the ninth American in history to reach the 58-foot mark. In the process, he defeated two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time Olympic champ Christian Taylor, who reached 17.18 m (56-4 1/2).

There were other marks of note, including 5.77 m (18-11) for Kansas freshman (!) Zach Bradford and 67.13 m (220-3) for Mason Finley to win the discus, and a wind-aided (+2.8 m/s) 100 m in 10.83 for Aleia Hobbs of the U.S. in the LSU Alumni Gold meet.

Remember, this is still April! Next up are the Drake Relays and Penn Relays next week.