BY THE TINIEST OF MARGINS, Texas had gradually established itself as the team to beat. On April 30 in Baton Rouge, the Longhorns took the seasonal lead from Kentucky’s 42.46, running 42.37. Two weeks later, 0.02 faster, 42.35, to win the Big 12 and eclipse its own school record by a hundredth. In the semis here, fine-tuning itself with ever more precision, another hundredth to 42.34, another SR.
LSU, the 17-time winner of the event and always a threat, equaled its seasonal best (42.59) in the semis. SB’s also went to Oregon (42.64), Florida State (42.78), Central Florida (43.22), Coastal Carolina (43.23) and South Carolina (43.21). School records went to Coastal and to FSU, which broke its venerable 39-year-old SR of 42.94 set in winning the ’83 championship. USC ran 43.42, the meet’s fastest non-qualifier ever.
As the 9 teams took the line for the final on a cool, overcast afternoon, the Longhorns were in lane 6, inside the teams it feared the most, LSU in 7, and Kentucky in 8. The hometown Ducks were in 5.
Though many teams today use their strongest runner on the backstretch, running second, Texas leads off with its star, Julien Alfred, who quickly gave Rhasidat Adeleke a modest lead. That advantage vanished just as quickly as Kemba Nelson (Oregon), Favour Ofili (LSU) and Abby Steiner (Kentucky) — all finalists in the 100 — brought their teams back into contention. At the second exchange, it was anybody’s race.
The difference came around the turn, as Jamaican soph Kevona Davis pushed the ‘Horns back into a lead they would not relinquish, giving anchor Kynnedy Flannel a small but crucial advantage.
“We got it done,” Flannel said.
This victory, coupled with Alfred’s victory in the century a few minutes later, put the Longhorns in a commanding position in the early phase of Saturday’s finals. But Florida, which did not have a team in this event, would have an answer as the afternoon wore on.
WOMEN’S 4 x 1 RESULTS
FINAL (June 11)
1. Texas 42.42
(Julien Alfred’, Rhasidat Adeleke’, Kevona Davis’, Kynnedy Flannel);
2. Kentucky 42.55
(Shadajah Ballard, Abby Steiner, Masai Russell, Karimah Davis);
3. Oregon 42.59
(Jadyn Mays, Kemba Nelson’, Jasmin Reed, Jasmine Montgomery);
4. LSU 42.62
(Alia Armstrong, Favour Ofili’, Tionna Brown, Thelma Davies);
5. Florida State 43.18
(Edidiong Odiong’, SayvonToombs’, Ka’Tia Seymour, Ashley Seymour);
6. Ohio State 43.52
(Yanique Dayle, Anavia Battle, Nya Bussey, Leah Bertrand);
7. UCF 43.69
(Rayniah Jones, Ciara Holback, Beyonce Defreitas, I’Asia Wilson);
8. Coastal Carolina 43.78
(Kayla Sweeney, Shani’a Bellamy, Jermaisha Arnold, Melissa Jefferson);
… dq—South Carolina
(Jayla Jamison, Makenzie Dunmore, Angel Frank, Tierra Frasier).
(best-ever mark-for-NCAA-place: 3–4)
SEMIS (June 09)
I–1. LSU 42.59; 2. UCF 43.22; 3. Coastal Carolina 43.23; 4. USC 43.42 (fastest non-Q ever) (Jones, Barnes, Okonkwo, Moody); 5. UCLA 43.39 (Léger’, Pierre-Webster’, Doane, Anderson); 6. Iowa 43.79 (Hargrove, Love, Dowd); 7. Alabama 43.85 (Ballard, Brown, Stanisclaus’, Fields); 8. Minnesota 44.08 (Frye, Lewis’, Hansen, Young).
II–1. Texas 42.34 (CL) (#5 school, #3 NCAA school) (5 NCAA);
2. Kentucky 42.53; 3. Mississippi 43.75 (Womack, Augustine, Eckford, Rowe); 4. Baylor 43.78 (Ayers, Pettway, Washington, Bullard; 5. Duke 44.04 (Geiser, Simmons, Bieber, Turner); 6. UT Arlington 44.92 (Talabi’, Gray, Terrell, Ugorji);… dnf—Clemson (Clark, Grant’, Myrie’, Hemmings’), Texas A&M (Martin, Owens, Robinson, Hall).
III–1. Oregon 42.64; 2. Florida State 42.78; 3. Ohio State 43.11; 4. South Carolina 43.21; 5. Oklahoma 44.67 (Hayes, Giles, Austin, Atkinson); 6. San Diego State 44.71 (McDonald, Harris, Watt, Moore);… dq—Cal (Hicks, Grady, Stevens’, Shaheed), Purdue (Kouyeth, Roberts, Campbell’, Christopher). ◻︎