ANTICIPATION RAN HIGH after semis that were as fast as the typical final. Florida topped Texas Tech in heat I, 38.35–38.57, the Gator time a yearly leader and=No. 10 on the all-time collegiate list. In the second Florida State dominated Oregon 38.43–38.81, the Seminoles becoming the No. 7 school ever. And in the third LSU romped to a 38.37 over Arkansas (38.90), the Tigers recording the second-fastest semi ever. It took a 39.00 for North Carolina A&T to grab the last qualifier.
For the final, Florida State drew lane 4, Florida 5, LSU 6 and Tech 7. Temps were in the low 90s when the crack of the starter’s pistol sounded. Gator leadoff Raymond Ekevwo got out well, but LSU’s Kary Vincent was faster. The Bengals led at the first exchange but created the biggest crowd gasp of the race when Vincent failed to connect with Akanni Hislop, LSU’s race ending with the baton bouncing off the track. Divine Oduduru lit up the backstretch for Texas Tech, making up half of the stagger with Arkansas in lane 8 and getting ahead of Florida’s Hakim Sani Brown. Florida State, after a lightning opener from Bryand Rincher, ran even with the Gators down the backstretch.
The third leg transformed the race. Florida do-it-all Grant Holloway took the baton from Brown and attacked the turn with everything he had, making up the stagger on Tech and bringing the Gators to the lead just in time for a perfect handoff to Ryan Clark. With a stride advantage over Florida State anchor Andre Ewers, Clark padded that lead ever-so-slightly as the cross-state rivals built a 5m margin over Texas Tech. Clark crossed the line with his arms thrown back, immediately looking at the clock. It read 37.98 initially, creating another audible gasp from the crowd. It was soon corrected to a stunning 37.97, fully two-tenths faster than the Collegiate Record, and a yearly world leader to boot.
Florida State also dipped under the old best with its 38.08, as Texas Tech finished in 38.45, the meet’s best 3rd-place time ever. Notably, 7th went to Purdue in 38.92, a time that would have won as recently as the ’10 edition.
Said Gator leadoff Ekevwo, “We’ve been working for this moment from the very start. We got the work done—the baton exchanges were smooth, everything was smooth. We got it done.” Clark chimed in, adding, “It means everything to me. I didn’t get to have the season I wanted to, but I ended it the way I wanted to. That’s what we talked about since August. We’ve trained for this moment and it happened. We knew it was going to be a close race, and we never slept on anybody during it. We just focused, got the exchanges right and that’s all we could pray on. We didn’t try to block out anybody. It was just to focus on our own lane and focus on our own sticks and that’s all we needed.”
NCAA MEN’S 4 x 100 RESULTS
1. Florida 37.97 CR (old CR 38.17 Houston ’18) (Raymond Ekevwo’, Hakim Sani Brown’, Grant Holloway, Ryan Clark);
2. Florida State 38.08 (2 C, NCAA; #2 school)
(Bryand Rincher, Jhevaughn Matherson’, Michael Timpson, Andre Ewers’);
3. Texas Tech 38.45 (=#8 school)
(Keion Sutton, Divine Oduduru’, Andrew Hudson, Jacolby Shelton);
4. Arkansas 38.58
(Josh Oglesby, Kristoffer Hari’, Tre’Bien Gilbert, Roy Ejiakuekwu’);
5. North Carolina A&T 38.59
(Malcolm Croom-McFadden, Akeem Sirleaf’, Michael Dickson, Rodney Rowe);
6. Oregon 38.76
(Spenser Schmidt, Cravon Gillespie, Julius Shellmire, Oraine Palmer’);
7. Purdue 38.92
(Tamar Greene’, Samson Colebrooke’, Justin Becker, Waseem Williams’);
(Kary Vincent, Akanni Hislop’, Correion Mosby, Dorian Camel).
(best-ever mark-for-NCAA place: 1–3, 5, 7)
I–1. Florida 38.35 (CL) (=10 C; =6 NCAA);
2. Texas Tech 38.57; 3. North Carolina A&T 39.00; 4. UT Arlington 39.23 (McBride, Haynes, Mitchell, Seastrunk); 5. Oklahoma 39.24 (Webb, Sheffield, Brown’, Ellis); 6. Memphis 39.44 (DeMoss, Persiado’, Austin, Bishop); 7. Chicago State 39.56 (Brown’, Sims, Cesalien, McKenzie); 8. Virginia Tech 40.70 (Tay, Beck, Tay, Davenport).
II–1. Florida State 38.43 (#7 school);
2. Oregon 38.81; 3. Iowa 39.17 (Hofacker, Woodard, Lawrence, Bartley’); 4. Coppin State 39.30 (Hodges, Amoah’, Westcarr, Manu’); 5. Kentucky 39.46 (Roberts, St. Hillaire’, Bann’, Smith); 6. Clemson 39.67 (Hewitt’, Parker, Sands, Tolbert); 7. UCLA 40.18 (Powell, Schrage, Higgins, Holloway);… dnf—Arizona (Volpe, Washington, Austin, Williams).
III–1. LSU 38.37 (7 NCAA);
2. Arkansas 38.90; 3. Purdue 38.94; 4. Illinois 39.01 (Shannon, Rustay, Haight, Quinn); 5. Western Kentucky 39.24 (Bush, Owusu-Antwi’, Kelly, Gates); 6. South Dakota State 40.17 (Phoulom-Smith, Hilton, Clarke, Zenner); 7. Sam Houston State 40.28 (Callaway, Martin, Tisdel, Henderson);… dnf—NC State (Dowdy, Charleston, Patterson, Cunningham).