NCAA Women’s 100 — Alfred’s Winning Mindset

After her disappointment at the Indoor, Julien Alfred changed her mental approach. (MIKE SCOTT)

FOR JULIEN ALFRED this trip to Eugene was about redemption. The Texas soph could have experienced gold medal glory indoors. In the prelims of the 60, she had exploded to a Collegiate Record 7.04 and looked invincible. She wasn’t. The wheels came off in the final and a 7.15 left her a distant 5th and wondering what went wrong.

In the 3 months since Birmingham, she clearly fixed it.

The favorite, she took the lead in the 100 right out of the blocks and never surrendered it, but not without a fight — Oregon senior Kemba Nelson, in the adjacent lane, was only an eyelash behind her. With about 30m remaining, the crowd favorite started to press in a desperate attempt to edge ahead, while Alfred stayed relaxed.

At the line, Alfred had clearly won, but Nelson was close enough that they both clocked 11.02. Separation into the 1000ths put the Longhorn at 11.015 and the Duck at 11.020.

Kentucky’s Abby Steiner closed hard but couldn’t recover from a poor start, taking 3rd in 11.08. With more favorable conditions for the semis, Alfred and Steiner both ripped off 10.90s, the fastest prelims in meet history. Steiner’s time was a PR.

Alfred said the adjustments she made between March and June were mental, not physical. Undercover, she explained, “I think I allowed my emotions to get a hold of me and I had to change my mindset. I mean indoors, I was just too serious, so I just wanted to just have fun with everything that I do. I was chasing something that was already there. Because I mean, I’d already worked so hard for it, and just allow it to come to me, you know? I was chasing something that was already done. I was trying too hard.”

So in Eugene — both before the race and during — she just relaxed. A solid leadoff leg for the Longhorns’ winning relay 50 minutes also helped her mindset:

“After my team won the 4 x 100, it gave me some momentum and some good energy. I think I deserved it. I worked hard for it, and after the 60-meter indoor disappointment, you have to come back and work on the little things, and I did just that.

“I will say, I won before the race, to be honest. Because I was already so confident I was going to win and they were saying to me, ‘It’s already yours.’ I went into the race believing it was already mine.”


FINAL (June 11; wind +0.2)

1. **Julien Alfred’ (Tx-StL) 11.02;

2. Kemba Nelson’ (Or-Jam) 11.02;

3. *Abby Steiner (Ky) 11.08;

4. **Rosemary Chukwuma’ (TxT-Ngr) 11.14;

5. **Favour Ofili’ (LSU-Ngr) 11.17;

6. ***Grace Nwokocha’ (NCAT-Ngr) 11.21;

7. **Kevona Davis’ (Tx-Jam) 11.22;

8. **Melissa Jefferson (CCar) 11.24;

9. **Joella Lloyd’ (Tn-Ant) 11.29.

(best-ever mark-for-NCAA-place: 8–9)

SEMIS (June 09)

I(0.6)–1. Alfred’ 10.90 (x, =7 C; 3, 3 NCAA) (fastest NCAA semi ever); 2. Jefferson 10.96 (=6, =6 NCAA); 3. Nwokocha’ 10.97 PR (=9, =9 NCAA); (best-ever mark-for-NCAA-place: 3)

4. **Lasarah Hargrove (Ia) 11.20 PR; 5. Ezinne Abba (Cal) 11.22; 6. **Nya Bussey (OhSt) 11.23 PR; 7. ***Jasmine Montgomery (Or) 11.37; 8. Anavia Battle (OhSt) 11.43.

II(1.0)–1. Steiner 10.90 PR (7, =7 C; 6, =6 AmC; =3, =3 NCAA) (=fastest NCAA semi ever);

2. Chukwuma’ 10.99 PR; 3. Davis’ 11.11; 4. Edidiong Odiong’ (FlSt-Ngr) 11.16; 5. Caira Pettway (Bay) 11.18; 6. Jada Baylark (Ar) 11.21; 7. *Yanique Dayle’ (OhSt-Jam) 11.24; 8. **Tionna Brown (LSU) 11.29.

III(0.4)–1. Nelson’ 10.97 PR; 2. Ofili’ 11.07; 3. Lloyd’ 11.08 PR; 4. Celera Barnes (USC) 11.13 (fastest non-qualifier ever); 5. *Kynnedy Flannel (Tx) 11.24; 6. **Jadyn Mays (Or) 11.28; 7. Symone Mason (LSU) 11.51; 8. Alfreda Steele (Mia) 11.52.