Athing Mu on her way to 400m victory at the SEC Championships (© Errol Anderson)
In her first outdoor 400m since 2019, and following her 1:57.73 800m in April, USA’s Athing Mu ran a PB of 50.04 in the heats of the one-lap event at the SEC Championships on Friday (14) to move to second on the US U20 all-time list.
The 18-year-old wasn't done there, though, and the following day she improved again to break Sanya Richards-Ross' North American U20 record of 49.89, clocking 49.84 to win the final by more than a second.
She becomes the eighth woman to go sub-50 for 400m and sub-2:00 for 800m.
About two-and-a-half hour laters, Mu ran a 49.96 anchor leg in the 4x400m to deliver a comfortable victory for Texas A&M in 3:26.17.
Noah Williams won the men's event in 44.37, holding off a strong challenge from Bryce Deadmon (44.50) and overtaking a fast-starting Elija Godwin (44.61).
Deadmon went on to run a 43.82 anchor split for Texas A&M in the 4x400m, but it wasn't quite enough to catch the University of Kentucky, who won by 0.02 in 3:01.71.
A tailwind helped the 100m sprinters to some fast times in the finals, with Terrance Laird running 9.80 and Matthew Boling 9.97 aided by a 3.2m/s tailwind before Tamara Clark ran 10.87 assisted by a 2.7m/s tailwind.
The wind dropped slightly for the men's 200m final, which Laird won in 19.82 (1.7m/s), just 0.01 shy of his world-leading mark. He finished comfortably ahead of Joseph Fahnbulleh (20.05) and Boling (20.06).
Clark also completed a sprint double, winning the women's 200m in a wind-assisted 21.89 (4.1m/s) from Nigerian U20 sprinter Favour Ofili (22.16) and Symone Mason (22.37).
Tonea Marshall also went quicker in her heat, improving her 100m hurdles PB to 12.52 (1.6m/s) and then winning the final in a wind-assisted 12.62 (3.6m/s).
Strong jumps doubles from Harrison and Gittens
JuVaughn Harrison achieved another impressive jumps combo in Texas, clearing a world-leading PB of 2.36m to win the high jump before leaping 8.24m for second place in the long jump.
Competing for Louisiana State University, the 22-year-old added six centimetres to the high jump PB he set when winning the NCAA indoor title in March, a height he had matched outdoors at the start of May.
He achieved it with a perfect record, too. Entering the competition at 2.17m, he cleared each height first time before retiring after managing his winning 2.36m.
Harrison had some strong competition from Darryl Sullivan who matched his indoor PB with an outdoor best of 2.33m for second place.
Harrison then contested the long jump and leapt 8.24m (1.5m/s) in the first round, following that up with a leap of 8.22m (1.4m/s). After a foul, two passes and a final foul, he was unable to get any closer to his world lead of 8.44m set in Baton Rouge on 24 April and finished second after Jamaica’s Carey McLeod soared out to a PB of 8.34m (1.5m/s) for the University of Tennessee in the final round.
The heptathlon at the SEC Championships also saw some superb jumps results, with Trinidad & Tobago's Tyra Gittens recording 1.95m in the high jump and 6.96m (2.0m/s) in the long jump for the highest scoring jumps combination in women's combined events history.
Those results, worth 2330 points, helped the Texas A&M student athlete on her way to a world-leading PB of 6418 to win the competition.
Her impressive tally of national records now includes the outdoor high jump (1.95m), indoor high jump (1.93m), outdoor long jump (6.96m), indoor long jump (6.68m), pentathlon (4746) and heptathlon (6418).
She also contested the individual long jump on the same day and finished fourth with a wind-aided 6.56m (2.8m/s) in a competition won by Deborah Acquah with a wind-assisted 6.80m (4.7m/s). One day later, she finished second on countback in the high jump with 1.89m.
Georgia's Kyle Garland won the decathlon with a PB of 8196, while Tennessee’s Latavia Maines threw a PB of 18.71m to win the shot put.
Alabama's Vincent Kiprop completed a 10,000m and 3000m steeplechase double, winning the steeplechase in 8:47.18 after his 10,000m win the day before in 28:55.56.
After running 3:36.60 to win his 1500m heat by more than six seconds, Eliud Kipsang won the final in 3:37.99 and then finished second in the 800m, running 1:47.16 behind Brandon Miller with 1:45.95.
Davis leaps 6.97m
World long jump leader Tara Davis, who soared out to 7.14m in Texas in March, again came close to the seven-metre mark with a leap of 6.97m to win at the Big 12 Championships in Kansas on Saturday (15).
That was her only jump of the competition as she went on to contest the 100m hurdles heats, clocking 12.90 (1.2m/s) as second quickest behind Chanel Brissett with 12.81 (0.2m/s) in another heat.
Women's LJ | Just a casual 6.97m/22-10.5 (+1.3) for Tara Davis on her first attempt - it's the T-3rd longest in collegiate history, along with a meet and facility record.— Texas T&F/XC (@TexasTFXC) May 15, 2021
Davis now owns four of the six longest jumps in collegiate history! 🤘 pic.twitter.com/UCdn5yXgHL
Nuguse runs 3:34.68
Yared Nuguse secured an Olympic qualifying time after a solo run in the ACC Outdoor Championships 1500m heats on Thursday (13) saw him break the collegiate outdoor record with a 3:34.68 PB.
The 2019 NCAA champion had won at Hayward Field the week before, clocking 3:35.96, but he was yet to achieve the 3:35.00 qualifying time for Tokyo, so that had been his target in Raleigh. He returned on Saturday (15) to win the final in 3:40.86.
Trey Cunningham won the 110m hurdles in 13.43 (0.1m/s), while Cole Beck ran 10.11 (1.6m/s) and Jayla Kirkland 11.19 (1.1m/s) to win the 100m finals.
Leotlela goes sub-10
Gift Leotlela ran his first wind legal sub-10 100m at the South African University Championships in Johannesburg on Friday (14), with the 2016 world U20 200m silver medallist clocking 9.94 (1.3m/s).
Karlstrom and Palmisano deliver in Podebrady
World bronze medallist Perseus Karlstrom and European bronze medallist Antonella Palmisano took the 20km titles at the European Race Walking Team Championships in Podebrady on Sunday (16).
Karlstrom bided his time for the first half, allowing Turkey’s Salih Korkmaz to build up a big lead. Korkmaz led by 21 seconds at nine kilometres with Karlstrom fronting a chase pack that also included Spanish trio Diego Garcia, Miguel Angel Lopez and Alvaro Martin.
Over the next few kilometres, however, Korkmaz’s lead started to dwindle. Karlstrom finally caught the Turk just after 13km, which was reached in 51:41. Karlstrom, Garcia, Korkmaz and Martin stuck together for another few laps before Korkmaz began to lose ground.
Garcia was next to drift back, leaving Karlstrom and Martin out front. With two laps to go, Karlstrom put in a surge and broke away from his last opponent. With closing laps of 3:51 and 3:48, and having covered the final 5km in 19:20, Karlstrom crossed the line a comfortable winner in 1:18:54, the fastest time at this competition since 2000.
Martin finished 20 seconds adrift in second with Garcia placing third (1:19:19) and Lopez coming through to take fourth in 1:19:25. With three men in the top four, Spain won the team title from Italy and Germany.
“My tactic coming in was to try to control the race and then push at the end to win,” said Karlstrom, the Swedish record-holder. “Obviously Korkmaz put a lot of pressure on us at the beginning and I didn't feel comfortable, but I had one goal in mind and I came back strong.”
The women’s race played out in almost identical fashion with a Turk leading the early stages before the eventual winner made a break with two kilometres to go to finish ahead of a trio of Spaniards.
Turkey’s Meryem Bekmez led the 10-woman lead pack through 10km in 44:41. A few kilometres later, Palmisano emerged from the pack and opened up a five-second lead on the rest of the group. By 16km, the Italian had been reeled in by Spain’s Raquel Gonzalez, Laura Garcia-Caro and European champion Maria Perez.
Garcia-Caro attempted to dictate the pace for the next lap, and Gonzalez dropped behind, but it wasn’t enough to break Palmisano or Perez. Palmisano regained the lead with about two-and-a-half kilometres remaining and made a decisive move, looking composed and strong. Perez set off in pursuit but could not quite make up any ground on the leader.
Palmisano went on to win in 1:27:42 with Perez taking second place in 1:28:03. Garcia-Caro finished third (1:28:07) and Gonzalez fourth (1:28:37), securing the team title for Spain. Ukraine and Italy finished second and third respectively in the team standings.
“Podebrady is a magical city for me,” said Palmisano, who won in the Czech city in 2017 and 2020. “This is a good step towards Tokyo and I want to dedicate this victory to Alessandro Talotti, who sadly left us,” she added, in reference to the Italian high jumper and 2004 Olympic finalist who died this week from stomach cancer.
Spain’s Marc Tur was a surprise winner of the men’s 50km. After taking the lead with little more than six kilometres to go, he went on to win by a 45-second margin with a huge lifetime best of 3:47:40, comfortably inside the Olympic qualifying standard.
Finland’s Aleksi Ojala finished second (3:48:25) with Italy’s Andrea Agrusti placing third in 3:49:52.
In the women’s 35km, contested at this competition for the first time, Greek veteran Antigoni Drisbioti beat world 50km bronze medallist Eleonora Giorgi, 2:49:55 to 2:51:05.
Italy won both the men’s 50km and women’s 35km team contests.
Jess Whittington and Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics