NCAA Women’s 100/200 — A Birthday Double By Alfred

Julien Alfred wrapped up a triple crown night of sprinting on her 22nd birthday with the 200. (ERROL ANDERSON)

WHILE TEXAS had no shortage of scoring sources in its march to the national title, the two richest and most indispensable were the 100 and 200. Three entries in each final, including defending 100 champ Julien Alfred, made those two dashes the foundational building blocks of the trophy.

Both races briefly offered the possibility of drama — at the halfway point of each, Alfred had company. But ultimately, it was clear why she is a heavy favorite for the Bowerman Award.

Points-wise, it was the century that propelled the Longhorns into the lead and the 200 that clinched it.

Alfred was fastest in the 100 semis, clocking 10.99 in the first when the stadium flags hung straight down in the still air. Texas Tech’s Rosemary Chukwuma took the second in 11.01, and Tennessee’s Jacious Sears the third in 11.06. Alfred’s teammates Kevona Davis and Ezinne Abba advanced with her, Davis as the other auto-qualifier in heat I and Abba squeezing in as a time qualifier.

In the final, an apparent flinch — possibly by Alfred — brought a false-start alarm and a collective gasp from the Austin crowd. However, officials quickly showed a green card.

On the second try, Oklahoma’s Kennedy Blackmon and Sears actually hung with Alfred for 50m, but couldn’t sustain their challenge. Alfred stayed consistently powerful and pulled well clear. Her 10.72w tied her own mark for the fastest collegian all-time under all conditions, but unlike the prelims, a 2.3 breeze nullified an actual record.

Blackmon eased ahead of Sears in the closing strides, the former running 10.87w to the latter’s 10.94w. Davis (5th in 10.98w) and Abba (7th in 11.07w) brought the Horns’ point haul to 16.

The 200 played out similarly to the 100.

Alfred again had the fastest qualifier, winning heat II in 22.33. In heat 1, teammate Davis matched her time. In heat III, USC’s Caisja Chandler won in 22.37, followed by Texas’s Lanae Thomas (22.42).

In the final, Alfred got a good start, making up the stagger on Davis. But Sears actually ran the best turn, reaching the straight a full body length ahead of Alfred and Mississippi’s McKenzie Long.

It didn’t last. Again, Alfred was relentless and powered to another all-conditions record, 21.73w (2.5 wind). Long trailed her in 21.88w. Sears faded, and Davis’s 22.02w edged her for bronze by 0.02. Thomas placed 5th in 22.36w. The three Longhorns combined for 20 points.

Alfred was loose and relaxed as she clowned around with ESPN’s John Anderson in the post-200 interview.

“I didn’t want to put pressure on myself for some time, and I tried to focus on my birthday, because I was focusing on today,” said the just-turned 22-year-old. “But now I can enjoy it.”

Asked about how it felt to earn glory not only for herself but for her team as well, she said, “It means a lot. On our own track, defending it, leaving it with a team title, one more accolade to my name, man, thank God, I’m grateful.

“It felt great,” she said of her 200 effort. “All I had to do was take it out from the beginning, trust my training, trust my coach, trust God, trust myself. McKenzie Long was right next to me, and I just had to go to my arms and use it and fight through the line. I’m happy.”


FINAL (June 10; wind +2.3)

1. *Julien Alfred’ (Tx-StL) 10.72w =wPR (a-c: 7, x W; 1, 1 C);

2. Kennedy Blackmon (Ok) 10.87w;

3. Jacious Sears (Tn) 10.94w;

4. ***Kaila Jackson (Ga) 10.96w;

5. *Kevona Davis’ (Tx-Jam) 10.98w;

6. *Rosemary Chukwuma’ (TxT-Ngr) 11.03w;

7. Ezinne Abba (Tx) 11.07w;

8. ***Dajaz Defrand (FlSt) 11.08w;

9. McKenzie Long (Ms) 11.13w.

(best-ever mark-for-NCAA-place:1, 5–9w)

SEMIS (June 08)

I(-0.1)–1. Alfred’ 10.99; 2. Davis’ 11.04; 3. Abba 11.11; 4. Lanae Thomas (Tx) 11.19; 5. Amira Young (Mn) 11.21; 6. Caisja Chandler (USC) 11.23; 7. ***Camryn Dickson (TxAM) 11.27; 8. *Rayniah Jones (UCF) 11.52.

II(0.1)–1. Chukwuma’ 11.01; 2. Jackson 11.08; 3. Long 11.13; 4. Defrand 11.17 (11.165); 5. **Semira Killebrew (TxAM) 11.17 (11.166); 6. Yanique Dayle’ (OhSt-Jam) 11.19; 7. Brandee Presley (Ga) 11.25; 8. **Alyssa Colbert (NnAz) 11.39.

III(-0.1)–1. Sears 11.06; 2. Blackmon 11.07; 3. ***Anthaya Charlton’ (Ky-Bah) 11.18; 4. *Nya Bussey (OhSt) 11.32; 5. **Samirah Moody (USC) 11.33; 6. **Leah Bertrand’ (OhSt-Tri) 11.37; 7. Kamaya Debose-Epps (MsSt) 11.43; 8. Kynnedy Flannel (Fl) 11.46.


FINAL (June 10; wind +2.5)

1. *Julien Alfred’ (Tx-StL) 21.73w (a-c WL, CL) (a-c: 1, 1 C);

2. McKenzie Long (Ms) 21.88w (a-c: 3, 3 C);

3. *Kevona Davis’ (Tx-Jam) 22.02w (a-c: =7, =10 C);

4. Jacious Sears (Tn) 22.04w (a-c: =9, x C);

5. Lanae Thomas (Tx) 22.36w;

6. Caisja Chandler (USC) 22.37w;

7. *Talitha Diggs (Fl) 22.45w;

8. Karimah Davis (Ky) 22.48w;

9. Kennedy Blackmon (Ok) 22.53w.

(best-ever mark-for-place: 9w; best-ever mark-for-NCAA-place: 1–9w)

SEMIS (June 08)

I(0.5)–1. Davis’ 22.33; 2. Sears 22.49; 3. Yanique Dayle’ (OhSt-Jam) 22.79; 4. Amira Young (Mn) 23.05; 5. **Samirah Moody (USC) 23.07; 6. **Jayla Jamison (SC) 23.16; 7. Kynnedy Flannel (Fl) 23.23; 8. *Nya Bussey (OhSt) 23.39.

II(0.9)–1. Alfred’ 22.33; 2. Long 22.38; 3. Blackmon 22.69; 4. ***Kaila Jackson (Ga) 22.78; 5. *Favour Ofili’ (LSU-Ngr) 22.93; 6. Ezinne Abba (Tx) 22.98; 7. Kamaya Debose-Epps (MsSt) 23.24; 8. ***Camryn Dickson (TxAM) 23.28.

III(0.8)–1. Chandler 22.37; 2. Thomas 22.42; 3. Diggs 22.45; 4. Davis 22.62; 5. *Jadyn Mays (Or) 22.73 (fastest-ever non-Q); 6. ***Jassani Carter (USC) 22.77; 7. *Mariah Ayers (Bay) 22.81; 8. ***Brianna Lyston’ (LSU-Jam) 23.43.