Darvis Patton (left) and Mike Rodgers (centre) at the 2013 Texas Relays (© Kirby Lee)
Texas has played host to many fast – and windy – sprint performances in the past, but at this weekend’s staging of the Texas Relays in Austin (27-30 March), USA’s Darvis Patton produced one of the fastest ever 100m runs in any conditions.
At 35, Patton appears to have found the form of his life. Earlier this year in his only indoor race of 2013 he set a World M35 masters record of 6.50 in the 60m. In Austin Patton was making his outdoor season debut – and what an opener it was.
His winning time of 9.75 in the invitational 100m was aided by a not-insignificant tailwind of 4.3m/s, but in still conditions it would have still been equivalent to a time comfortably under 10 seconds. He also easily defeated multiple World medallist Wallace Spearmon (9.92), former US champion Mike Rodgers (9.93) and 2010 World junior silver medallist Charles Silmon (9.94).
Under any conditions, only five men in history – Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Obadele Thompson – have ever run faster than 9.75 in the 100m.
But Patton’s performance was not the only notable 100m run of the competition. In one of the few wind-legal finals of the weekend, NCAA indoor 200m champion Ameer Webb won the university 100m final with a world-leading 10.14, breaking his PB. Meanwhile, in the boys’ high school 100m, 18-year-old Cameron Burrell – son of former World record-holder Leroy Burrell – clocked a wind-assisted 10.07 (3.2m/s).
Former World champion Lauryn Williams was the fastest woman of the day, stopping the clock in 11.02 to win the Invitational 100m with the wind just slightly over the allowable limit at 2.3m/s. Kimberlyn Duncan won the university race in a windy 11.06 (2.8m/s).
Rollins continues where she left off indoors
Patton was not the only athlete to be denied a personal best by the wind. NCAA indoor champion Briana Rollins – who posted the fastest 60m Hurdles time of 2013 with 7.78 – sped to a 12.54 victory in the 100m Hurdles. The time would have been a big PB and a US under-23 best, had it not been for the wind, which was agonisingly registered at 2.1m/s. Vashti Thomas in second place (12.70) would have similarly smashed her PB were it not for the wind, but her wind-legal 12.94 in the heats is a world-leading performance.
It was one of nine world-leading performances set at the Texas Relays, four of which came in the men’s and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m relays. Texas A&M won the women’s university 4x100m relay by more than one second, clocking 42.56. The invitational race was won by Elite Speed, anchored by Muna Lee, in 42.97, while the On Track Management team which featured World 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown, failed to finish.
Before his individual victory in the 100m, Patton anchored the Stratton Sprint team to 4x100m glory in a world-leading 38.36, joined by Wallace Spearmon, Maurice Mitchell and Jared Connaughton. The invitational 4x400 was won by San Antonio Elite in 3:01.93 as Green & Gold Elite finished a close second in 3:02.21, helped by a 44.72 anchor leg from Jeremy Wariner.
The fastest relay split of the day though belonged to indoor world leader Deon Lendore, who produced an inspired 44.46 anchor for Texas A&M in the university race, although their team finished just a stride behind Florida, 3:02.65 to 3:02.76.
The women’s university 4x400m saw a close duel between Florida and Texas. Despite a 51.39 anchor by Courtney Okolo, Texas finished just 0.04 behind Florida (3:27.61), whose anchor leg runner Ebony Eutsey posted a 51.51 split.
The first two days of competition at the Texas Relays saw Curtis Beach break 8000 points in the Decathlon, the first man to do so this year. Helped by PBs in the Pole Vault (5.10m) and Shot (12.57m), the 22-year-old produced the second-best score of his career with 8011.
Big improver Kendricks tops quality Pole Vault competition
Sam Kendricks may not be a name familiar to even the keenest observers of the sport, but that will surely not be the case for much longer. The 20-year-old added a staggering 21 centimetres to his PB to win one of the highest-quality Pole Vault competitions in US collegiate history where five men cleared 5.61m and nine went over 5.51m.
With a previous PB of 5.60m set at this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships, Kendricks cleared all heights through to 5.61m on his first attempt. He then negotiated 5.71m on his second try before going clear at 5.81m at the first time of asking.
Canada’s Shawn Barber, the World junior bronze medallist, was also in the form of his life. He added 11cm to his PB to finish second with 5.71m – not only breaking his own national junior record, but also adding 10cm to the Canadian senior record. The performance, which is also a North American age-18 best, takes him to equal fifth on the world junior all-time list.
The men’s High Jump saw a repeat of the podium finish at this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships. Olympic bronze medallist Derek Drouin jumped a world-leading 2.30m to take the win ahead of Marcus Johnson and Olympic silver medallist Erik Kynard, both jumping 2.27m.
All five of Julian Wruck’s valid throws in the Discus would have been easily enough to win. After opening with 64.59m, he followed it with a foul, then went out to 65.16m before unleashing his best mark of the competition – 66.01m, breaking his own Oceania under-23 best and setting a world-leading mark. The 2010 World junior bronze medallist rounded out his series with 65.80m and 64.55m.
Elsewhere, Marquis Dendy, one of the breakthrough performers of the 2013 indoor season, won the Long Jump with a wind-assisted 8.17m, but Mike Hartfield finished close behind with a wind-legal 8.15m. Ryan Crouser, the 2009 World youth champion, set a PB of 20.43m in the Shot, while London 2012 Olympian Amanda Bingson was also in PB form, winning the women’s Hammer with 72.16m to move to fifth on the US all-time list.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF