JUCO Champs — Big Breakthrough For Kenny Bednarek

Frosh Kenny Bednarek became the only American ever to break 20 and 45 in the same day. (BRENT EWING)

HOBBS, NEW MEXICO, May 16-18—When the news of a 19.49 heat in the 200 at the JUCO Championships hit on Friday, the typical first response was, “What’s the catch?” Well, there was wind, triple the allowable at 6.1. And there was altitude, 1121m (3678ft) worth. Yet… 19.49w(A) is moving, without question. And instantly the track world focused on what Indian Hills frosh Kenny Bednarek would do in the next day’s finals.

He silenced his doubters by winning the 400 in 44.73, crushing his old best of 45.62, then following up less than two hours later with a 19.82 JC Record into an 0.8 wind. That day of work made him the first American—and only the second man ever—to break 20 and 45 in the same day. The 19.49, a mark that makes Bednarek the No. 4 man ever on the all-conditions world all-time list, did not happen in a vacuum. It came after he watched Terrance Laird of Hinds blast a 19.64w (5.6mps) in the first heat: “When I saw [that], I was kind of like, ‘Oh crap.’ But in my head it was like, ‘If he’s running that, then I should be able to run something crazy too.’ Because I feel like I’m a step ahead of everybody right now.” He added, “We just took advantage of the wind, and yeah, you could definitely feel it really made the difference.”

The night before the final, Bednarek conferred with his coach, Brent Ewing. “He said, ‘You’ve got the 4 in the bag, but you gotta prove you can run a 19, even with having the 4 in your legs. So just take the 400 easy.’ The plan was to kind of go in and just kinda chill on that. But then I guess I changed my mind. I didn’t feel I exerted myself that much. It came easy, but I ran it a little bit different because we had the wind in our faces at the corner. I just went off easy there, stayed with the pack, and then something in my head was just, you know, screw the plan and just go. And that’s what I did.”

The 44.73 won by more than a second over the 45.81 of Meridian’s Leander Forbes. “I didn’t even feel tired,” said Bednarek. “My legs were still fine. So I knew I was able to still do something good in the 200 too.” Bednarek had something to prove: “People were saying, ‘That 6.1 wind’ blah-blah-blah. I saw people saying I wasn’t capable of running 19-something. “The wind wasn’t too strong, so I knew it was going to be legal. I made sure I had a better start than the day before and it all clicked in. I ended up getting what I wanted.” (Continued below)

Bednarek’s time cut the JC Record from the 20.08 that Aaron Armstrong of Barton County set in ’99. He won by more than a half-second. Laird, after taking 2nd in the 100 an hour earlier, did not start the 200.

Bednarek didn’t come into the meet as a complete cipher, having been the fastest American on this year’s indoor 200 list, his 20.30 making him =No. 8 U.S. performer ever. And his 20.43 last year for Rice Lake, Wisconsin, made him the fastest high schooler in the land.


JUCO MEN’S RESULTS

Hobbs, New Mexico, May 16-18 (altitude 1121m)—

(5/16—10K, 4×8, PV, LJ, HT; 5/17—200h, St, HJ, DT)

Teams: 1. Cloud County 88; 2. Barton County 83; 3. South Plains 80½.

100(2.3): 1. **Tavarius Wright (But) 10.12w; 2. **Terrance Laird (Hinds) 10.14w; 3. ***Courtney Lindsey (IaC) 10.17w; 4. **Emmanuel Yeboah’ (WnTx) 10.19w; 5. **Khance Meyers (Hinds) 10.28w.

200(-0.8): 1. ***Kenny Bednarek (IndH) 19.82 JCR (old JCR 20.08 Aaron Armstrong [Bart] ’99) (AL);

2. Lindsey 20.37; 3. Meyers 20.58; 4. **Dartez Hamlin (Bart) 20.64; 5. **Jevony Murray (Pratt) 20.78.

Heats: I(5.6)–1. Laird 19.64w (a-c WL, AL) (a-c: 10, x W; 7, 8 A). IV(6.1)–1. Bednarek 19.49w (a-c WL, AL) (a-c: 4, 8 W; 2, 2 A);

400: 1. Bednarek 44.73; 2. **Leander Forbes (Merid) 45.81; 3. **Khamal Stewart-Baynes’ (WnTx) 45.98.

800: 1. **Rayon Buttler’ (WnTx) 1:54.42. 1500: 1. **Nehemiah Too’ (Colby) 3:54.47. St: 1. ***Dennis Kiptoo’ (CloudC) 9:20.99. 5000: 1. Too’ 15:12.79. 10,000: 1. Too’ 31:26.48. 110H(3.0): 1. **Stephon Torrence (Bart) 13.51w; 2. ***Denvaughn Whymns’ (SPl) 13.59w. 400H: 1. **Kenroy Williams’ (Bart) 49.96; 2. **Ned Azemia’ (WnTx) 50.18; 3. ***Moitalel Mpoke’ (SPl) 51.12.

4 x 100: 1. Butler 39.20 (Williams, Jackson, Woods, Spicer); 2. Hinds 39.24; 3. Iowa Central 39.41; 4. Coffeyville 39.69; 5. Monroe 39.99. 4 x 400: 1. Western Texas 3:08.57 (Stewart-Baynes, Azemia, Mouton, Buttler). 4 x 800: 1. Southern Idaho 7:40.62 (VanDyke, Johnson, Matan, Peck).

HJ: 1. ***Corvell Todd (Hinds) 7-1¾ (2.18). PV: 1. **Noah Lovato (Mesa) 15-7 (4.75). LJ: 1. **Dodley Thermitus (Coffey) 27-½w (8.24); 2. **Isaiah Griffith (SPl) 26-11¼w (8.21); 3. **Akeem Bradshaw (IaC) 25-6w (7.77). TJ: 1. Griffith 54-8¾ (16.68); 2. ***Lloyd McCurdy’ (Monroe) 52-8¼w (16.06); 3. Thermitus 52-¾w (15.87) (51-9¾/15.79). SP: 1. ***Silas Ristl (Vinc) 58-5¼ (17.81). DT: 1. **Kevin Nedrick’ (Bart) 186-11 (56.97). HT: 1. ***Alencar Pereira’ (Bart) 230-4 (70.21); 2. **Israel Oloyede (PVal) 207-1 (63.13). JT: 1. **David Enns (Gard) 206-9 (63.03). Dec(5/16-17): 1. **Asani Hylton’ (SPl) 7116.

JUCO WOMEN’S RESULTS

(5/16—10K, 4×8, PV, LJ, HT; 5/17—100h, 200h, St, HJ, DT)

Teams: 1. New Mexico 105¾; 2. Barton County 97; 3. tie, Iowa Central & South Plains 83.

100(1.9): 1. **Brittney Johnson (WnTx) 11.40. 200(1.6): 1. **Mariya Hudson (WnTx) 22.95; 2. ***T’Nia Riley (Bart) 23.32; 3. **Raheema Westfall (NM) 23.38. 400: 1. Hudson 53.29; 2. **Satanya Wright’ (WnTx) 53.32. 800: 1. ***Joanna Archer (Monroe) 2:14.01. 1500: 1. **Claudrice McKoy’ (Monroe) 4:49.83. St: 1. **Benadine Chelimo’ (TrinSt) 11:25.05. 5000: 1. **Winrose Chesang’ (IaC) 18:09.08. 10,000: 1. Chesang’ 37:41.39. 100H(1.0): 1. ***Demisha Roswell’ (NM) 13.20; 2. ***Yoveinny Mota’ (Bart) 13.25. 400H: 1. **Janiel Moore (SPl) 1:00.65.

4 x 100: 1. Western Texas 44.25 (Johnson, Hudson, Walcott, Wright); 2. Barton County CC 44.98. 4 x 400: 1. Western Texas 3:44.71 (Wright, Johnson, Cunningham, Hudson). 4 x 800: 1. Monroe 9:22.19 (Laribi, Seema, Archer, McKoy).

HJ: 1. **Regina Yeboah’ (CAz) 5-6 (1.68). PV: 1. ***Victoria Villanueva (NMJC) 12-9½ (3.90). LJ: 1. **Ruth Usoro’ (SPl) 21-8¼w (6.61); 2. **Kristal Liburd’ (NMJC) 21-2½w (6.46); 3. ***Jacqueline Pokuaah (CloudC) 20-7¾w (6.29) (20-¼/6.10). TJ: 1. *** Grace Chinonyelum’ (CloudC) 45-9¾ (13.96); 2. Usoro’ 42-9¾ (13.05).

SP: 1. **Devia Brown’ (CAz) 54-8¼ (16.67); 2. **Cherisse Murray’ (CAz) 53-3 (16.23). DT: 1. Brown’ 174-7 (53.22); 2. ***Fiona Richards (Bart) 174-4 (53.15). HT: 1. **Devia Brown’ (CAz) 196-6 (59.90). JT: 1. ***Akira Phillip’ (SPl) 152-0 (46.35). Hept(5/16-17): 1. Yeboah’ 4877.

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