OVER THE COURSE of the month leading into the NCAA, the men’s 110 hurdles went from a presumed coronation for Grant Holloway in his likely last individual race in a Gators uniform to one of the marquee showdowns of the meet. That summit meeting was set up at the SEC when Kentucky’s Daniel Roberts handed Holloway his first hurdles loss to a collegian since the ’17 Conference final. The plot heated up some more after Roberts’ 13.06 semi: 0.01 faster than Holloway has ever run and 0.10 faster than Holloway ran in his prelim. So the final would be between the second- and third-fastest in collegiate history, calling to mind the epic Renaldo Nehemiah/Greg Foster clash at the ’79 NCAA when they were the top 2 Americans (let alone collegians) of all time.
Just 13 seconds later, there were two big storylines. The race lived up to—and perhaps exceeded—all hype, and Holloway wasn’t about to allow his crown to be wrestled away. The Gator junior finally chased down Nehemiah’s 40-year-old CR of 13.00, turning in a 12.98 that just did edge out hard-closing Roberts’ 13.00 that obviously rated as the best non-winning race ever.
After spending the leadup to the race and the immediate aftermath playing himself up as an underdog, and exploding in celebration at the tape, Holloway was nonchalant an hour later. “It was pretty good, I just executed start to finish,” he said. “I haven’t even watched the film. Just go back through it, watch it, see what happened.”
What he’ll see is he got the margin he needed when Roberts hit the second hurdle with his trail leg, turning an even start into a Holloway lead that grew to almost half a stride through hurdle No. 6. Roberts, though, steadily narrowed the gap over the final three barriers and was in position to lunge at the line. His head poked past Holloway—Florida coach Mike Holloway said Grant got too excited and didn’t run through the line—but Holloway’s shoulders were still 0.02 ahead. Holloway didn’t need a photo to parse that and immediately transitioned into his celebration.
“I knew I had it, Daniel usually makes his move around hurdle 9 or 10,” said Holloway, who pegged all of that. “Once I got over 10 I knew I had it. “It was really good. It was a good day just to have everybody here, have my parents here, but most of all, I finally broke the Collegiate Record, so it was really good.”
To no one’s surprise, the pair of juniors won’t be back for their senior years. “I’ll be going pro,” Roberts said after the race. “[My contract isn’t finalized] yet; still in the works… [With] the collegiate season over with now, I ain’t got nothing to hide.” Coach Mike Holloway cut short questions along that line to Grant Holloway, but later said, “I think everyone knows Grant is not going to be back next year.”
NCAA MEN’S 110 HURDLES RESULTS
(June 07; wind +0.8)
1. *Grant Holloway (Fl) 12.98 CR (old CR 13.00 Renaldo Nehemiah [Md] ’79) (WL, AL) (=18, x W; =9, x A) (MR);
2. *Daniel Roberts (Ky) 13.00 PR (13, x A; =2, =2 C; 2, 2 NCAA);
3. Isaiah Moore (SC) 13.37 PR;
4. Dashaun Jackson (StF) 13.38;
5. *Caleb Parker (SnMs) 13.55;
6. Michael Dickson (NCAT) 13.71;
7. Amere Lattin (Hous) 13.77;
… dq[around hurdle]—***Eric Edwards (Or) [13.90].
(best-ever mark-for-NCAA-place: 1–4)
I(0.9)–1. Roberts 13.06 PR (WL, AL, CL) (2, 2 C; 1, 1 NCAA) (MR);
2. Jackson 13.37; 3. Dickson 13.54 =PR; 4. Michael Nicholls’ (Ga) 13.61; 5. *Jaylan McConico (Ia) 13.69; 6. *Joseph Daniels’ (Prin) 13.70 PR; 7. Marquis Morris (USC) 13.76; 8. Kyle Clancy (UCD) 14.00.
II(1.8)–1. Holloway 13.16 (x, =9 C; =2, =2 NCAA);
2. Parker 13.50; 3. ***Tai Brown (Ky) 13.71; 4. ***Bashiru Abdullahi’ (CSN) 13.90; 5. *Nick Johnson (WaSt) 14.01; 6. **Joseph Anderson (Or) 14.29;… dnf—Arthur Price (LSU);… dnc—***Cordell Tinch (Ks).
III(2.0)–1. Moore 13.44; 2. Lattin 13.44 PR;
3. Edwards 13.49 PR (=3, x AJ);
4. *Robert Dunning (Al) 13.60; 5. *Luke Siedhoff (Nb) 13.86; 6. Misana Viltz (Cal) 13.87;… dnf—*Raleigh Adams (LBSt);… dnc—**Damion Thomas (LSU). ◻︎