NCAA Men’s 110 Hurdles — 13-Flat For Cunningham

Trey Cunningham’s brilliant 13.00 left him just 0.02 shy of the Collegiate Record. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

BACK IN 2018 Florida State frosh Trey Cunningham finished 4th, and three years of medals and glory surely lay ahead.

Instead, it was the last outdoor NCAA he would participate in until this one. A combination of injuries, a stumble at Regionals in ’19 and of course, a global pandemic collaborated to write a very different story than the one he must have envisioned.

All that was rectified Friday in precisely 13 seconds.

When Cunningham crossed the line in 13.00, he suddenly found himself in exalted company, tied with Renaldo Nehemiah and Daniel Roberts for the second-fastest collegiate time ever, only 0.02 behind Grant Holloway’s CR from ’19. Glory indeed.

LSU’s Eric Edwards held a brief lead early, but Cunningham fixed that by the second obstacle. Nonetheless, it was still a race — Edwards dogged Cunningham almost every step of the way, and one hit hurdle could have made the difference.

Indeed, Cunningham did knock over the fifth barrier, but so did Edwards, who then also knocked over hurdles 8, 9 & 10. That gave Cunningham the edge he needed, defeating Edwards’ PR 13.15. A late push by Michigan’s Joshua Zeller claimed bronze in 13.26.

It was Cunningham’s second crown of the year, following his indoor 60H title in 7.38.

“It has been 5 years now since I’ve been on the stage,” he said. “It is just a blessing.”

He felt the pressure from Edwards, but he was ready for it: “I mean, I knew I had to focus on me because it is my lane, and no one else can really get in my lane unless they knock a hurdle in it. I knew Eric was going to get out fast, like he does every time. So, I knew the race was going to be there to do something pretty fast.”

Of course, every hurdler dreams of seeing “12” at the beginning of his time, and Cunningham called his 13-flat “bittersweet.”

“This race, the final, is just about getting the win. Because, I know what we have been doing in training. If I didn’t hit two or three hurdles, like I did out there, it would have been 12.85 probably.”

Cunningham said the conclusion to his long journey was “magical,” clarifying, “I am just happy to be here. At the Olympic Trials last year, I would not even know if I would make it down the track. So, I am just happy to be here, and happy to do what I love to do and put on a show for everybody.”


FINAL (June 10; wind 0.0)

1. Trey Cunningham (FlSt) 13.00 PR (WL, AL, CL) (=14, x A; =2, =2 C; 3, 3 NCAA);

2. Eric Edwards (LSU) 13.15 PR (5, x C; 4, 5 NCAA);

3. *Joshua Zeller’ (Mi-GB) 13.26 (11, x NCAA);

4. *Giano Roberts (Clem) 13.45;

5. Lafranz Campbell’ (Clem-Jam) 13.45 PR;

6. Kentre Patterson (OhSt) 13.46;

7. **Justin Leaston (UNCC) 13.50;

8. Omotade Ojora’ (USC-GB) 13.58;

9. **Jaheem Hayles’ (Syr-Jam) 13.73.

(best-ever time-for-NCAA-place: 1–3, =4, 5–7, 9)

SEMIS (June 08)

I(-0.2)–1. Hayles’ 13.44; 2. Zeller’ 13.45; 3. Ojora’ 13.48; 4. Roberts 13.54; 5. Rasheem Brown’ (NCAT-Cay) 13.58 (=fastest non-qualifier ever); 6. ***Johnny Brackins (Bay) 13.76; 7. ***Elijah Morris (Bay) 13.77; 8. *Gratt Reed (Ia) 14.02.

II(0.4)–1. Edwards 13.33; 2. Leaston 13.46; 3. Patterson 13.51; 4. *Tre’Bien Gilbert (Ar) 13.55 (fastest non-qualifier ever); 5. *Josh Brockman (NCSt) 13.61; 6. **Darius Luff (Nb) 13.74; 7. Quivell Jordan-Bacot (Hous) 13.75; 8. **De’Vion Wilson (Hous) 14.53.

III(0.4)–1. Cunningham 13.21 (=5, =7 NCAA);

2. Campbell’ 13.48; 3. *Joel Bengtsson’ (UTA-Swe) 13.65; 4. *Devon Brooks (Clem) 13.68; 5. *Bashiru Abdullahi’ (UTSA-Ngr) 13.69; 6. Josh Braverman (Ia) 13.72; 7. *Cameron Murray (NCSt) 13.85; 8. *Matthew Lewis-Banks (Ar) 14.09.