WITH 5 OF LAST YEAR’S finalists returning, and an additional 4 with sub-51-second times this year, a fast and tight result was expected.
The clear favorite was Charokee Young (Texas A&M), whose 49.87 in April placed her No. 4 on the all-time collegiate list. She had a comfortable margin over the next fastest entrant, another Jamaican, Tokyo relay competitor Stacey Ann Williams (Texas) at 50.21. Both women’s prospects were enhanced by the absence of Arkansas soph Britton Wilson, who defeated Young with a 50.05 at the SEC meet, but elected to focus on the 400H here.
The semis were fast. Florida’s Indoor winner Talitha Diggs appeared bewildered after recording a big 50.08 PR, the fastest prelim in meet history, just ahead of a Williams 50.18 PR.
Young took the second semi by more than a second in 50.46, and another Texan, Kennedy Simon, PRed in the third in 50.45. Two others — Alexis Holmes (Kentucky) and ’21 OT finalist Shae Anderson (UCLA) — bettered 51, while North Carolina A&T’s Delecia McDuffie and Coastal Carolina’s Jermaisha Arnold shared the dubious honor of fastest non-qualifiers at 51.24.
Two days later, in a light drizzle under leaden skies, a very strong field took their marks. Anderson, Holmes, Young, Diggs, Simon and Williams occupied lanes 3 through 8. They were off evenly, but Holmes and Simon were obvious leaders coming off the opening curve. Holmes caught and passed Young and drew abreast of Diggs at the 200 line, trailed closely by Anderson, while Simon passed her teammate a lane outside.
Around the bend and into the final straight, Holmes continued to lead, followed closely by Diggs, Anderson, Young and Arkansas’s Rosie Effiong, with Simon and Williams still trailing. Diggs caught Holmes with 85m to go and was never headed, finishing strongly in another PR, 49.99.
In the last 30m Young edged into 2nd, and Simon, finishing fastest of all, caught Holmes at the line for 3rd. The three were timed in 50.65, 50.69, and 50.71 (a PR for Holmes). Williams (51.13) was never in the hunt, while Anderson and Effiong faded in the stretch.
Diggs, the daughter of 2-time 800 winner Joetta Clark Diggs, was tabbed as only No. 6 on the premeet formchart, so provided Florida with a major boost en route to the team title. Her 49.99 moved her to =No. 5 on the all-time collegiate list.
On running from behind, she said,“No matter where I am in the race, I know that I have certain things about myself that I can execute and perform well. I was comfortable.”
WOMEN’S 400 RESULTS
FINAL (June 11)
1. **Talitha Diggs (Fl) 49.99 PR (AL, AmCL) (=5, =7 C; =4, =6 AmC; 3, 3 NCAA);
2. **Charokee Young’ (TxAM-Jam) 50.65;
3. *Kennedy Simon (Tx) 50.69;
4. *Alexis Holmes (Ky) 50.71 PR;
5. *Stacey Ann Williams’ (Tx-Jam) 51.13;
6. Shae Anderson (UCLA) 51.50;
7. ***Rosey Effiong (Ar) 51.55;
8. ***Kavia Francis’ (Bay-Jam) 52.16;
9. Makenzie Dunmore (SC) 54.73.
(best-ever mark-for-NCAA place: 4, =5)
SEMIS (June 09)
I–1. Diggs 50.08 PR (8, x C; 7, x AmC; 3, 3 NCAA); 2. Williams’ 50.18 PR (=6, =7 NCAA);
3. Anderson 50.94 PR; 4. Francis’ 51.17; 5. **Megan Moss’ (Ky-Bah) 51.73 PR (fastest non-Q ever); 6. **Ziyah Holman (Mi) 51.89; 7. **Shalysa Wray’ (KsSt-Cay) 52.94; 8. ***Mekenze Kelley (CCar) 54.25.
II–1. Young’ 50.46; 2. Dunmore 51.62 PR; 3. Taiya Shelby (Vand) 51.64 (fastest non-Q ever); 4. Taylor Manson (Fl) 51.65; 5. **Moriah Oliveira (Mia) 51.76 PR; 6. Bailey Lear (USC) 51.87; 7. Morgan Burks-Magee (Ar) 52.02 PR; 8. *Jan’Taijah Ford (USC) 52.26.
III–1. Simon 50.45 PR; 2. Holmes 50.75; 3. Effiong 51.06 PR; 4. Delecia McDuffie (NCAT) 51.24 PR (fastest non-Q ever); 5. **Jermaisha Arnold (CCar) 51.24 PR; 6. *Tierra Robinson-Jones (TxAM) 51.73; 7. ***Caitlyn Bobb’ (MdBC-Ber) 51.84 PR; 8. ***Imaobong Nse Uko’ (Bay-Ngr) 51.89. ◻︎