USATF Men’s 400 Hurdles — Looks Can Be Deceiving

An uninspired semi relegated eventual winner Kenny Selmon to the far outside lane. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

Kenny Selmon didn’t look like a long-hurdles favorite. The North Carolina senior had had a great collegiate season, topped off by a 48.12 PR runner-up finish at the NCAA. But when he finished 4th in his semi here at 49.30, he looked very much like another tired collegian running one meet too many. “My prelims did not go how I wanted them to,” he admitted.

Others fared well in the heats. TJ Holmes led the first round at 49.10, with Khallifa Rosser (49.55) the only other under 50. In the semis, Holmes (49.00) again led. Olympian Byron Robinson looked strong at 49.04, Taylor McLaughlin, who had PRed at 49.26 in the heats, lowered his lifetime best again with a 49.10 and Khallifah Rosser got close to PR territory with his 49.12. Selmon, however, barely made it through, with his 49.30 getting him the last qualifying spot by 0.11 and landing him lane 8.

In the final, with McLaughlin MIA, unretired Bershawn Jackson got out fastest in lane 2, followed by Holmes and Robinson. Selmon trailed in last at the first hurdle. Holmes blitzed the backstretch, moving into the lead ahead of NCAA 3rd-placer David Kendziera and Rosser, as Selmon improved to 4th. Coming off the turn, Holmes still owned a solid lead, though Selmon had pulled even with Kendziera and Rosser at the ninth hurdle.

The run-in would prove crucial. Selmon maintained his form and flew over the tenth hurdle ahead of Holmes, as Kendziera lost ground dramatically. At the finish, Selmon crossed in his second-fastest time ever, 48.21, some 2m clear of Holmes (48.51) with Rosser claiming 3rd in a PR 48.65. The veteran Jackson, now 35, came back to tag Kendziera for 4th, 49.14–49.58.

“I knew I had the option today, I could either continue to have bad races or be a national champion,” said the 21-year-old victor. “I knew that all I needed to do was execute my race plan, and I’m very proud of my race.” Selmon, who missed last year’s meet to do an internship, concluded, “I’ve been waiting 4 years for this. I’m just excited to end my Tar Heel career as a national champion.”


USATF MEN’S 400H RESULTS

FINAL (June 23)

1. Kenny Selmon (NC) 48.21;

2. TJ Holmes (Nik) 48.51;

3. Khallifah Rosser (unat) 48.65 PR;

4. Bershawn Jackson (Nik) 49.14;

5. David Kendziera (Il) 49.22;

6. CJ Allen (unat) 49.58;

7. Byron Robinson (adi) 49.79

… dnc—Taylor McLaughlin (Mi).

HEATS (June 21)

I–1. Jackson 50.07; 2. Kendziera 50.09; 3. Eric Futch (adi) 50.21;

4. Amere Lattin (Hous) 51.85; 5. Eric Fogltanz (IaSt) 52.33; 6. Caleb Corprew (Belm) 52.45.

II–1. Rosser 49.55; 2. Allen 50.24; 3. Michael Stigler (adi) 50.33; 4. Infinite Tucker (TxAM) 50.85;

5. Jacob Smith (NnIa) 51.49; 6. Larry Donald (Ar) 51.93.

III–1. Holmes 49.10; 2. McLaughlin 49.26 PR; 3. Quincy Downing (unat) 50.19; 4. Peter Girardi (StJF) 50.39 PR; 5. Kalmon Stokes (unat) 50.51;

6. Landon Huslig (OkCh) 51.17.

IV–1. Selmon 50.23; 2. Robinson 50.66; 3. Norman Grimes (TxT) 50.81; 4. William Wynne (unat) 51.09;

5. Gregory Chiles (VaT) 51.17; 6. Max Tuttle (unat) 51.74; 7. Nate Bruno (unat) 55.76.

SEMIS (June 22)

I–1. Rosser 49.12; 2. Kendziera 49.15; 3. Jackson 49.47; 4. Allen 49.71;

5. Stokes 50.91; 6. Futch 50.96; 7. Tucker 51.34.

II–1. Holmes 49.00; 2. Robinson 49.04; 3. McLaughlin 49.10 PR; 4. Selmon 49.30;

5. Downing 49.41; 6. Grimes 50.11; 7. Girardi 51.18; 8. Wynne 51.76.

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