NCAA Men’s 200 — Traore Ends Penn State Drought

Cheickna Traore sped from Div. III champ in ’23 to the first Nittany Lion sprint title in 83 years. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

IT HAD BEEN QUITE a dry spell for Penn State. Not since Barney Ewell won both the 100 and 220 in ’41 had the Nittany Lions had a sprint champion, but a Div. III transfer with soaring self-assurance would change that in 19.95 seconds.

Cheickna Traore may have hailed from Ramapo College, where he won last year’s D3 half-lap title in a national record 20.25, but the Côte d’Ivoire native knew a move to Penn State could yield benefits and running against a field that included six other sub-20 performers (all conditions) wasn’t going to be a walk in the park.

Traore, No. 1 on the formchart, was timed in 20.02 to win heat 1 with Florida’s Robert Gregory (No. 9) edging Auburn’s Makanakaishe Charamba (No. 6) 20.15–20.16.

Heat 2 saw Alabama’s list leader Tarsis Orogot (chart No. 3) take down Florida’s Wanya McCoy (No. 2) 20.09–20.22, and Houston’s Shaun Maswanganyi (No. 4) clocked 20.25.

Alabama State’s Jamarion Stubbs (No. 5) led South Florida’s Abdul-Rasheed Saminu across the line in the third heat, 20.15–20.30, with Arkansas’s Lance Lang grabbing the final qualifying spot at 20.31.

Lane assignments for the final saw Lang in 1, Maswanganyi 2, Charamba 3, McCoy 4, Stubbs 5, Traore 6, Orogot 7, Gregory 8 and Saminu 9.

At the gun, Traore started best and after 80m had made up the stagger on Orogot and was even with Saminu as they came off the turn. Traore used his momentum tearing off the curve to start his charge down the straight. Saminu, Gregory, Orogot and Charamba gave chase.

No one would come close to Traore, as the battleground shifted toward 2nd. Traore’s 19.95 was followed by Gregory in a season best 20.08 and Saminu’s 20.12 PR was good enough for 3rd, just ahead of Orogot (20.14), Charamba (20.20) and Maswanganyi (2025).

Afterwards, Traore, brimming with confidence, professed, “The biggest thing was I knew as soon as I ate up lane 7 that whoever was behind me weren’t gonna be able to catch me. So, biggest thing was making up the stagger as soon as I can. I knew after that once I got to the last 100, those guys aren’t catching me.”


(June 07; wind –0.1)

1. Cheickna Traore’ (PennSt-CI) 19.95;

2. Robert Gregory (Fl) 20.08;

3. **Abdul-Rasheed Saminu’ (SFl-Gha) 20.12 PR;

4. *Tarsis Orogot’ (Al-Uga) 20.14;

5. *Makanakaishe Charamba’ (Aub-Zim) 20.20;

6. Shaun Maswanganyi’ (Hous-SA) 20.25;

7. **Jamarion Stubbs (AlSt) 20.59;

8. Lance Lang (Ar) 20.67;

9. *Wanya McCoy’ (Fl-Bah) 20.98.


(June 05)

I(0.7)–1. Traore’ 20.02; 2. Gregory 20.15; 3. Charamba’ 20.16; 4. Shevioe Reid’ (SFl-Jam) 20.36; 5. **John Rutledge (Tx) 20.50; 6. *Devin Augustine’ (Mn-Tri) 20.54; 7. Trayvion White-Austin (Az) 20.59; 8. *Chase Mars (CSN) 20.59.

II(0.5)–1. Orogot’ 20.09; 2. McCoy’ 20.22; 3. Maswanganyi’ 20.25; 4. ***Nyck Harbor (SC) 20.32; 5. *De’montray Callis (Bay) 20.51; 6. *Laurenz Colbert (Bay) 20.59; 7. Nolton Shelvin (Tx) 20.60; 8. *Kashie Crockett (TCU) 20.98.

III(0.0)–1. Stubbs 20.15; 2. Saminu’ 20.30 PR; 3. Lang 20.31; 4. **Cameron Miller (Pur) 20.36; 5. **Garrett Kaalund (Nb) 20.38; 6. Kennedy Lightner (Ky) 20.39; 7. **Max Thomas (USC) 20.88; 8. **Jaleel Croal’ (SFl-BVI) 20.99.