That’s what frequent tweeter Grant Holloway (@Flamingoo_) called Devon Allen (@DevonAllen13) after the latter’s stunning hurdle win.
In 4th place at hurdle 4, it seemed likely that Allen was on his way to an also-ran finish in the rain-delayed race in a race that the undefeated Holloway had dominated from the start. Holloway, with a smiley face drawn on his palm to remind him to get back to having fun after a too-serious NCAA meet, started best and hurdled cleanly in lane 5, his closest pursuer Jarret Eaton.
Running 3rd on the damp track was Aries Merritt, sandwiched in lane 4 between Holloway and Allen in lane 3. Allen pulled even with Merritt by hurdle 5 and edged past him after they cleared hurdle 6, despite hitting that hurdle. By hurdle 7, Holloway’s lead over Allen still looked convincing, with the Florida star touching down while Allen was still on the upward ascent. Any upset, if it were to happen, looked like it would come from Eaton, who had pulled to within a few inches of Holloway by the seventh barrier. Allen hit No. 8 while Holloway stayed clean with Eaton keeping the pressure up. At 9 it was all Holloway and Eaton.
Then hurdle 10 happened. Holloway didn’t hit, but he appeared to lose momentum while in the air. At touchdown, his margin over Eaton had shrunk noticeably and suddenly Allen was in the mix as well. Holloway still had a grip on the lead a foot or two from the finish. Allen, though, leaned best. In a dip that tricked the human eye, he put his left shoulder across the line just 0.002 ahead of Holloway’s right. Official times for both were 13.46s with Eaton (13.51) just barely holding off Merritt (13.52). Florida State frosh Trey Cunningham impressed with his 13.71 for 5th after battling the whole distance with Nebraska senior Antoine Lloyd, who PRed with his 13.46 semi but hit a half-dozen hurdles en route to his 13.72 final. Defending champ Aleec Harris ended up 7th.
Of the rain, the winner said, “It was a big delay, 3½ hours. Everybody did it, but it’s not ideal for a fast time.” He revealed that he and Holloway are also regular video game rivals, playing several times a week. The relationship goes back to Holloway’s recruiting visit to Oregon when Allen was his campus tour guide. “He’s a phenomenal athlete,” said Allen. “Maybe I’m lucky that he’s not coming out pro this year, so I can avoid him for a little bit.”
Looking ahead, the 23-year-old Allen, who also won in ’14 & ’16, said he will go back to experimenting with a 7-stride first-hurdle approach in Europe, as he had been at the start of the season: “Keep being aggressive, keep competing well and just keep doing my thing.” And with a new house to make payments on, he added, “I’ll just be having fun and making some money. I need to pay some bills.”
Said Holloway, for whom this was the final race of the season, “Sometimes God does things to humble you. For me to lose to my big brother, it doesn’t get better than that.”
USATF MEN’S 110H RESULTS
FINAL (June 24; wind –1.8)
1. Devon Allen (Nik) 13.46 (13.452);
2. Grant Holloway (Fl) 13.46 (13.454);
3. Jarret Eaton (unat) 13.51;
4. Aries Merritt (Nik) 13.52;
5. Trey Cunningham (FlSt) 13.71;
6. Antoine Lloyd (Nb) 13.72;
7. Aleec Harris (adi) 13.76;
… dnf—David Kendziera (Il).
HEATS (June 23)
I(-1.7)–1. Holloway 13.56; 2. Lloyd 13.72; 3. Harris 13.73; 4. Kendziera 13.81; 5. Marcus Maxey (USAr) 13.99;
6. Ro’Derick Spears (MsSt) 14.04; 7. Angelo Goss (Syr) 14.14.
II(-0.5)–1. Ryan Fontenot (unat) 13.51; 2. Eaton 13.56; 3. Merritt 13.62; 4. Tremayne Banks (unat) 13.73; 5. William Session (In) 13.92; 6. Braxton Canady (Or) 14.04;
… dnf—Maxmilian Hairston (unat).
III(-1.2)–1. Allen 13.45; 2. Freddie Crittenden (unat) 13.49; 3. Cunningham 13.82; 4. Nicholas Anderson (unat) 13.84; 5. Daniel Roberts (Ky) 13.95;
6. Larry Donald (Ar) 14.20; 7. Misana Viltz (Cal) 14.39.
SEMIS (June 24)
I(-0.1)–1. Holloway 13.34; 2. Merritt 13.43; 3. Lloyd 13.46 PR; 4. Kendziera 13.53;
5. Fontenot 13.55; 6. Banks 13.72; 7. Roberts 13.75; 8. Maxey 14.20.
II(-1.7)–1. Allen 13.38; 2. Harris 13.49; 3. Eaton 13.58; 4. Cunningham 13.62;
5. Anderson 13.81; 6. Session 13.96; 7. Canady 14.00; 8. Crittenden 18.07.