World U20 200m champion Michael Norman clocked a world indoor record* of 44.52 to win the 400m at the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas, which concluded on Saturday (10).
On a day of unparalleled indoor 400m running, the 20-year-old student from the University of Southern California, with laps of 21.33 and 23.19, eclipsed Kerron Clement’s 44.57, set 13 years ago.
The field was so deep that five men ran faster than the gold medal-winning time of 45.47 from last weekend’s IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018.
Akeem Bloomfield set a Jamaican record of 44.86 in second, becoming the No. 6 performer ever indoors. Mylik Kerley was third in 45.16.
Men’s 4x400m relay world indoor record falls
Nor was that the end of it.
The top three teams in the men’s 4x400m relay were all under the world record of 3:01.77* set by Poland a week ago. The University of Southern California’s Zach Shinnick (46.24), Rai Benjamin (44.35), Ricky Morgan Jr. (45.67) and Norman (44.52) combined for a 3:00.77, the fastest performance ever run. The time however, is not eligible for a world record because Benjamin is from Antigua & Barbuda, and the others are USA citizens.
Second-place Texas A&M, anchored by Kerley’s 44.52, thus has the pending world record of 3:01.39*. The University of Florida was third in 3:01.43.
The women’s 400m was also won by a University of Southern California sprinter, Kendall Ellis, who took the first of two sections in 50.34 for a North American Area record. Sydney McLaughlin won the second section in 50.36, an U20 world record*, and finished second overall. Both were under the gold-winning time from Birmingham.
McLaughlin, 18, revealed afterward she would resume outdoors in the 400m hurdles, in which she holds the U20 world record. Her original plan was to skip the 400m hurdles in her first college season.
The 200m races were only slightly less momentous than the 400s.
Elijah Hall became the fourth man to win a 60m/200m double in the indoor NCAAs. He is the University of Houston’s first champion in the short sprint since Carl Lewis in 1981. Hall edged Jamaica’s Raheem Chambers, 6.52 to 6.53.
Then Hall ran history’s second-fastest indoor 200m in 20.02, a North American and collegiate record. The world record of 19.92 by Namibia’s Frankie Fredericks has stood since 1996. Nigeria’s Divine Oduduru was second in 20.21, making him the No. 5 performer ever, and Rai Benjamin third in 20.34.
A Harvard student, Gabby Thomas, set a collegiate record of 22.38 in the women’s 200m. It is the fastest time in the world since 2005. Ashley Henderson was second in 22.41, 19-year-old Lynna Irby third in 22.55 and McLaughlin fourth in 22.80.
Besides Norman and Hall, the male star was Grant Holloway, who helped Florida to a team championship.
He became the first ever in the indoor NCAAs to finish in the top two of both the long jump and 60-meter hurdles, jumping 8.13 Friday and running 7.47 Saturday. He also ran a 44.91 leg in the 4×400.
More men’s highlights
Kenya’s Michael Saruni ran the second-fastest collegiate indoor 800m ever, 1:45.15, with unconventional splits of 53.11/52.04. The only collegian faster is his coach, Paul Ereng, whose 1:44.84 in 1989 was then a world record.
Great Britain’s Josh Kerr, after being beset by cramps in Friday’s distance medley relay, repeated as mile champion in 3:57.02. His closing 400m was 54.23.
Tim Duckworth set a British record of 6,188 points in the heptathlon. He is the first British athlete to win an NCAA combined events title, indoors or outdoors.
Andy Trouard prevented Canada’s Justyn Knight from winning a 3000m/5000m double, using a last 200m of 26.23 to win the 3000m in 8:04.94. Knight was second in 8:05.70.
Randall Cunningham prevented Trey Culver from becoming the first to win three in a row in the high jump. Both leaped 2.29m, as did third-place Shelby McEwen, with Cunningham, whose sister Vashti jumped to world indoor silver last week in Birmingham, taking the victory on countback.
Other women’s highlights
Aleia Hobbs tied the 60m collegiate record of 7.07, set last year by Hannah Cunliffe.
Triple jumper Keturah Orji set a championship record of 14.27m. She was second in Friday’s long jump and helped the University of Georgia to its first NCAA team title in athletics, men or women, indoors or outdoors.
Pole vaulter Lexi (Weeks) Jacobus broke her own championship record with a clearance of 4.66m. Twin sister Tori Hoggard was second at 4.61m.
Payton Chadwick won the 60m hurdles by a scant .004 over Anna Cockrell, 7.922 to 7.926.
Karissa Schweizer added a 3000m victory in 8:53.36 to Friday’s win in the 5000m.
Roy Jordan for the IAAF