Fred Kerley won the 400 meters on Friday night with the number 4 timer ever run by an athlete competing in NCAA competitions. Here is the story on that fantastic run by Kim Holm. Kim Holm is a junior at the University of Oregon, studying journalism and communication. She is a native Oregonian and loves to hike and explore all the wonders that Oregon wildlife has to offer.
By Kim Holm
It didn’t look like Texas A&M senior Fred Kerley was going to win the 400-meter dash on Friday at the NCAA Championships. Until he came off the Bowerman curve–where he outkicked the field and won with a time of 44.10.
“My goal coming in this season is to win every race I was in,” said Kerley. “At the end of the day it’s track and field–you never know what’s going to happen.”
Back in May at the NCAA West Regional meet, Kerley ran a time of 43.70, breaking the collegiate record that was set 25 years ago by Olympian Quincy Watts with a time of 44.00. Kerley had met him just before the race.
After the regionals, Kerley was sixth on the all-time U.S. best performer list, and seventh on the all-time world best performer list.
From Auburn, finishing second was freshman Nathon Allen with a time of 44.69. Allen competed last summer in the 2016 Olympic Games, representing his home country, Jamaica.
Allen left Rio with a silver medal in the 4×400 meter relay, running on the second leg of the race. He also competed on Friday in the 4×400 at the 2017 NCAA at Hayward Field, but his team finished last.
Also running in the 400-meter was Michael Norman from USC, who took fourth place with a time of 44.88. Norman was the winner of the 400-meter dash at the Pac-12 Championships earlier this season with a time of 45.19.
“The last 50 meters really got me good,” said Norman. “I have a lot to still work on.”
Norman is also a fifth-place finisher at the 2016 Olympic Trials at Hayward Field. He finished first in the World Junior Championships in the 200 and 4×100 relay.
“Just to come out and compete with these guys–it gives me motivation,” said Norman. “But I had a successful first collegiate season.”
Norman had struggled with some injuries this season, so for him to come out and set personal records was an accomplishment for him. Next season, Norman wants to focus more on the 200 meters, which is something he and his coach Caryl Smith Gilbert will work on.
After winning the 4×400, Kerley wants to come back in December and focus more on his basics, going back to the 200 next season from the 400.
Asked what was what next for him, Kerley answered simply, “Just wait on it.”