NCAA Men’s 400 — A Collegiate Record For Norman

Michael Norman’s 43.61 was joined in a high position on the all-time list by Akeem Bloomfield & Nathon Allen. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

This was probably the most eagerly anticipated event of the meet, and for good reason. No fewer than 9 of the entrants had run sub-45 this year, which meant that at least one guy with 44-second credentials wasn’t going to make the final. As it turned out, that happened to two of them, but two others broke 45 for the first time in the semis, and overall, all 8 finalists-to-be broke 45, the first time that has ever happened.

The list leader coming in was Auburn soph Nathon Allen at 44.28. But the pre-meet favorite was USC soph Michael Norman, who had bettered the World Indoor Record in winning the NCAA Indoor title and who had run 45.00 or faster a half-dozen times this year. He was undefeated indoors and out and seemed invincible. So the premeet buzz centered around two questions: Can anyone beat Norman? And how fast will he run?

The answers turned out to be nobody, and very fast. Norman shared the early lead with Baylor’s Kahmari Montgomery. At the halfway point it was Montgomery and Auburn No. 2 Akeem Bloomfield at 20.9, followed by Norman (21.0) and Allen (21.1). The Auburn pair led on the second turn, but coming into the straight Norman sped past the Jamaican pair. He kept expanding his lead, and reached the finish line in 43.61, a remarkable time that was even more so coming on a cool day and on a somewhat wet track.

That mark broke the Collegiate Record of 43.70 set last year by Aggie Fred Kerley, who is now a pro. It made Norman the sixth-fastest 400 runner in history; the only 5 men who have ever run faster have all been Olympic champions, WR holders, or both! Bloomfield and Allen ran PRs of 43.94 and 44.13, to move to Nos. 3 and 6 on the all-time collegiate list. Bloomfield’s time was just 0.01 off the Jamaican Record.

Said Norman after an historic run which made him the 14th Trojan to win the NCAA 1-lapper, “Coming into the race I knew the field was so deep, so I knew that it was going to be a challenge coming in so they elevated me to this next level and we really worked off of each other.” Asked about the weather, he replied, “The rain wasn’t really an issue. If it was windy and raining, then that would’ve been an issue, but it was a really good day despite all the rain.”


NCAA MEN’S 400 RESULTS

FINAL (June 08)

1. **Michael Norman (USC) 43.61 CR (old CR 43.70 Fred Kerley [TxAM] ’17) (WL, AL) (6, x W; 5, 8 A) (MR)

(21.0, 10.9 [31.9], 11.7) (21.0,/22.6);

2. **Akeem Bloomfield’ (Aub) 43.94 PR (3, 3 C; 2, 2 NCAA)

(20.9, 10.9 [31.8], 12.1) (20.9/23.0);

3. **Nathon Allen’ (Aub) 44.13 PR (6, =8 C; =5, =5 NCAA)

(21.1, 10.8 [31.9], 12.2) (21.1/23.0);

4. *Mar’yea Harris (Ia) 45.00

(21.4, 11.0 [32.4], 12.6) (21.4/23.6);

5. *Tyrell Richard (SCSt) 45.10

Richard (22.1, 11.0 [33.1], 12.0) (22.1/23.0);

6. *Obi Igbokwe (Ar) 45.16

(21.9, 11.1 [33.0], 12.2) (21.9/23.3);

7. *Kahmari Montgomery (Hous) 45.75

(20.9, 11.4 [32.3], 13.5) (20.9/24.9);

8. *Wil London (Bay) 46.20

(22.1, 11.2 [33.3], 12.9) (22.1/24.1).

(best-ever mark-for-NCAA-place: 1–3, 5–6)

SEMIS (June 06)

I–1. Norman 44.66; 2. Richard 44.70 PR; 3. Harris 44.94 PR;

4. Steven Solomon’ (Duke) 45.30; 5. Nathan Strother (Tn) 45.72; 6. *Alex Wesley (NnCo) 45.91 PR; 7. *Carlos Salcido (NM) 46.39; 8. **Jordan Williams (BCook) 46.49.

II–1. Allen’ 44.83; 2. Montgomery 44.92; 3. London 44.98;

4. ***Trevor Stewart (NCAT) 45.35; 5. **Derrick Mokaleng’ (TCU) 45.79; 6. ***Alfred Shirley (Va) 46.06; 7. ***Taj Burgess (Rut) 46.16; 8. Warren Hazel’ (SnIl) 46.25.

III–1. Bloomfield’ 44.72 PR; 2. Igbokwe 44.94 PR;

3. ***Chantz Sawyers’ (Fl) 45.40 =PR; 4. Ricky Morgan (USC) 46.32; 5. *Orwin Emilien’ (Or) 46.36; 6. Anderson Devonish’ (IlSt) 46.45; 7. *Alejandro Zapata’ (Lib) 47.48. □

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