Julien Alfred takes W100m, 2022 NCAA Champs, June 11, 2022, photo by Kevin Neri
Izzy LaRue wrote this piece on the Julien Alfred, who won the 100 meters and anchored the Texas 4 x 100m relay. It’s all about the guts in these races.
By Izzy LaRue
SOJC Track Bureau
Julien Alfred had 40 minutes between her performance in Texas’ victory in the 4×100-meter relay and the start of the 100 meters. In between those races, she was listening to “I am Legend” by Chronixx.
“I was listening to Chronixx, a song named ‘I am Legend,’ cause ‘I am a legend that you probably never heard of before,'” Alfred said. “I think that really resonates with me because it’s my first outdoors [championship], not a lot of people know my name right now.”
The lyrics fit Alfred perfectly as she came onto the national scene by beating Oregon’s Kemba Nelson in a 100-meter photo finish to win her first individual NCAA title.
She started off the day as the leadoff leg on the 4×100 relay, giving Texas a good start, as the Longhorns took the victory in 42.42 seconds.
Alfred said winning the 4×1 gave her confidence going into the 100-meter race, but she didn’t want to put too many expectations on herself for the race. Instead, she wanted to focus on having fun.
Alfred’s start put her in front of the pack, with Nelson right next to her. The two ran one and two down the whole runway until the very end, when Nelson gave a final push, but it wasn’t enough to beat Alfred.
“I saw Kemba to the side of me, so I really had to dig for that [win],” Alfred said.
Alfred and Nelson had the same official time of 11.02, so the time was extended to thousandths of a second. Alfred finished first by .005.
“I went into the race believing [the title] was already mine,” Alfred said.
Abby Steiner from Kentucky had a bad start coming out of the blocks but had an amazing burst of speed at the 40-meter mark and looked like she could overtake Nelson or Alfred, but ultimately she finished third with a time of 11.08. She went on to set the collegiate record in the 200 meters with a time of 21.80.
Alfred said her performance in the 60 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships fueled her for her victories on Saturday.
“I had to change my mindset coming into outdoors,” Alfred said. “Indoors, I was just too serious. Outdoors, I just wanted to have fun with everything that I do.”
Alfred’s time of 7.04 set the indoor record for the 60-meter dash in her prelims heat at Birmingham, Alabama, and after setting that record, she finished fifth in the final heat with a time of 7.15.
Alfred said the biggest difference between the indoor and outdoor championships was her letting her emotions take control of her.
The St. Lucian says that track and field isn’t a big sport back home, but she hopes her performance encourages more young kids to go into the sport.