NCAA Men’s 400 — Montgomery Does The Job For Houston

Trevor Stewart forged a solid lead early in the race but couldn’t hold off Kahmari Montgomery in the stretch. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

THE 400 WAS one of the key races for Houston’s chances to win the team title. The Cougars had two serious senior contenders: Kahmari Montgomery, a transfer from Missouri rated No. 2 on our formchart, and Obi Igbokwe, a transfer from Arkansas rated No. 9. The field also included veteran Baylor senior Wil London and several frosh newcomers that included Jonathan Jones (Texas); Wayne Lawrence (Iowa), and Jacory Patterson, who made a splash indoors for Virginia Tech. Lawrence (45.33), Patterson (45.46) and Jones (45.02) had all PRed at Regionals, the last an NR for Barbados. London was a threat because of his experience, including the 2017 campaign when he finished 3rd at USATF, made the World Championships team and ran his PR of 44.47. Lawrence failed to qualify, while Patterson was a no-show.

As they lined up for the final, the favorite was in fact the junior from North Carolina A&T, Trevor Stewart. After winning the Florida Relays with a world-leading 45.18 in March, he had peeled off six straight races in the 44s, including a PR 44.38 to win the MEAC. He was in lane 6. To his inside in 5 was Montgomery, whose ’18 race had ended poorly as he faded badly to 7th—but had been followed weeks later by a surprise 44.58 PR win in the USATF Nationals. Igbokwe was in Lane 2, London in 7, Jones in 8.

Through 200 Stewart’s 21.4 had built a solid 0.3 lead over Montgomery, a gap which he maintained through the 300 (32.2 & 32.5), at which point Montgomery began a gradual, inexorable, desperate chase to run him down. Stewart tied up slightly in the closing strides, and that was enough, as Montgomery prevailed 44.23–44.25, PRs for both, moving them to Nos. 7 & 8 on the all-time collegiate list. London and Jones went 3–4 in 44.63 and 44.64, the latter bettering Jones’s NR. Also PRing were Bryce Deadmon of A&M (6th in 45.18) and Chantz Sawyers of Florida (7th in 45.24).

“I didn’t panic,” said Montgomery after picking up a couple of extra points for Houston in the team chase. “I knew Trevor Stewart has a lot of speed. I stayed composed, I stayed relaxed, I ran my race. It’s great to be able to end my college career with a bang. This is something I planned for my entire life. It was always a dream to win an NCAA title.” The other Cougar, Igbokwe, finished well back and later was a DQ.

A&T coach Duane Ross said of Stewart, “I’m proud of the way he competed. I thought he ran great. The young man from Houston ran a very smart race.”


NCAA MEN’S 400 RESULTS

FINAL

(June 07)

1. Kahmari Montgomery (Hous) 44.23 PR (CL) (7, 10 C; 5, 8 AmC; 7, 7 NCAA)

(21.7, 10.8 [32.5], 11.7) (21.7/22.5);

2. *Trevor Stewart (NCAT) 44.25 PR (8, 11 C; 6, 9 AmC; 8, 8 NCAA)

(21.4, 10.8 [32.2], 12.0) (21.4/22.9);

3. Wil London (Bay) 44.63

(21.8, 10.9 [32.7], 11.9) (21.8/22.8);

4. ***Jonathan Jones’ (Tx) 44.64 PR

(21.6, 10.8 [32.4], 12.2) (21.6/23.0);

5. Alejandro Zapata’ (Lib) 45.02

(21.6, 11.2 [32.8], 12.2) (21.6/23.4);

6. *Bryce Deadmon (TxAM) 45.18 PR

(21.6, 11.3 [32.9], 12.3) (21.6/23.6);

7. **Chantz Sawyers’ (Fl) 45.24 PR

(21.6, 11.2 [32.8], 12.4) (21.6/23.6);

… dq[lane]—[8]Obi Igbokwe (Hous) [46.05]

(21.9, 11.1 [33.0], 13.1) (21.9/24.2).

(best-ever mark-for-NCAA-place: 4–5, 7)

SEMIS

(June 05)

I–1. Zapata’ 45.12; 2. London 45.32; 3. Sawyers’ 45.54; 4. **Dwight St. Hillaire’ (Ky) 45.56; 5. Mar’yea Harris (Ia) 45.58; 6. **Howard Fields (Bay) 46.05; 7. Kymari Gates (WnKy) 46.33; 8. **Taj Burgess (Rut) 46.45.

II–1. Montgomery 44.80; 2. Igbokwe 45.35; 3. Deadmon 45.53 PR; 4. *Derrick Mokaleng’ (TCU) 45.55; 5. **Tyler Johnson (OhSt) 45.70 PR; 6. *Sean Bailey’ (UTEP) 45.78; 7. ***Ashton Hicks (OkSt) 46.53; 8. **Brian Faust (Pur) 46.62.

III–1. Stewart 44.84; 2. Jones’ 45.53; 3. ***Wayne Lawrence (Ia) 46.05; 4. *Akeem Sirleaf’ (NCAT) 46.43; 5. Orwin Emilien’ (Or) 46.94; 6. **Benjamin Lobo Vedel’ (Fl) 46.95;… dnc—***Jacory Patterson (VaT), *Tyler Terry (LSU). ◻︎

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