NCAA Women’s 200 — Long Makes It A Triple!

As the first 3 scored bigtime PRs, McKenzie Long’s triple crown afternoon brought her the world 200 lead. (MIKE SCOTT)

JUST 45 MINUTES after winning the 100 title, Mississippi’s McKenzie Long, the formchart favorite, came onto the track to attack the 200, the event she considers her strongest. What had happened in Thursday’s heats had only bolstered that confidence.

Oregon’s Jadyn Mays, the Pac-12 champ, won the first heat in a PR 22.27, ahead of South Carolina’s Jayla Jamison (22.35) and Georgia’s Kaila Jackson (22.37). JaMeesia Ford of South Carolina took the second in 22.14, just missing her 22.11 American Junior Record, as Tennessee’s Dennisha Page scored the second auto spot in 22.44. In the third, with the wind at a nearly-still 0.3, Long burned a 21.95 PR and world leader ahead of USC’s Jassani Carter (22.46).

“I’ve been waiting for that for so long,” she said. “Honestly, it gives me a lot of confidence.”

For the final, Long, the NCAA Indoor runner-up to Ford, started in lane 6. Mays would be in 5, Ford in 7, Jackson in 2. A light tailwind blew — it would measure 1.0.

Ford, the SEC runner-up to Long, jumped out to the best start, eating into the stagger of teammate Jamison in 8. Long, typically strong on the turn, did not make a dent on Ford’s stagger through most of it, and Mays was another who got slightly ahead of the favorite. Yet Long started shifting gears coming off the turn, catching Mays and running even with Ford at the 100 mark.

Some 20m down the straight it became apparent that Long had gone into overdrive, her rapid turnover helping her pull away from her rivals and dominate the second half of the race. She finished in 21.83, another world leader and the No. 2 collegiate time ever, after only Abby Steiner’s 21.80 for Kentucky at the ’22 NCAA.

Behind her, Ford improved her AJR to 22.08 while becoming the No. 7 collegiate performer and No. 2 world Junior ever, Mays hit a PR 22.19, and Jamison closed well for a PR 22.26.

In succeeding in her triple, Long put Mississippi into the team conversation for a time. And while she repeated the victories that Julien Alfred accomplished for Texas last year, it’s worth noting that the triple had only been won by four athletes previously: Randy Givens of Florida State (’84), Dawn Sowell of LSU (’89), Esther Jones of LSU (’90), and Carlette Guidry of Texas (’91).

Emotionally overwhelmed after her victory, Long saw her time and knelt on the track, weeping: “This isn’t real. I’m still trying to cope with what I did today. All of this, I really put everything that I have. I put trust in my mom, trust in God, and allowed my abilities to come through.

“I still don’t have words for it right now. I don’t think it’s come into my head what I’ve done today. Once I have time to process, I’ll feel something. Right now, I’m just shocked.

“Honestly, I’m just so grateful. Today has been the most pivotal moment of my life. I’m really just grateful, blessed, that I am able to be here and showcase my abilities. I’m just looking forward to keep going and see what else I have in store.”


FINAL (June 08; wind +1.0)

1. McKenzie Long (Ms) 21.83 PR (WL) (=10, x A; 2, 2 C);

2. ***JaMeesia Ford (SC) 22.08 PR, AJR (old AJR 22.11 Ford ’24 and Allyson Felix [CaHS] ’03) (2, 8 WJ; 7, x C);

3. Jadyn Mays (Or) 22.19 PR;

4. *Jayla Jamison (SC) 22.26 PR;

5. **Jassani Carter (USC) 22.66;

6. **Kaila Jackson (Ga) 22.68;

7. **Dajaz Defrand (FlSt) 22.72;

8. ***Tima Godbless’ (LSU-Ngr) 22.87;

9. Dennisha Page (Tn) 23.28.

SEMIS (June 06)

I(1.1)–1. Mays 22.27 PR; 2. Jamison 22.35 PR; 3. Jackson 22.37; 4. *Iyana Gray (TCU) 22.74 PR; 5. Thelma Davies (LSU) 22.87; 6. *Kenondra Davis (Tx) 22.88; 7. *Adriana Tatum (AzSt) 22.91; 8. ***Aniyah Bigam (LSU) 23.29.

II(1.2)–1. Ford 22.14 (x, 4 AJ);

2. Page 22.44; 3. Godbless’ 22.56 PR; 4. Niesha Burgher’ (UTEP-Jam) 22.73; 5. **Brianna Lyston’ (LSU-Jam) 22.76; 6. **Dejanea Oakley’ (Tx-Jam) 22.82; 7. **Camryn Dickson (TxAM) 22.98; 8. *Brianna Howard (Lam) 23.10.

III(0.3)–1. Long 21.95 PR (WL) (3, 3 C);

2. Carter 22.46 PR; 3. Defrand 22.71; 4. ***Madison Whyte (USC) 22.75; 5. **Joyasia Smith (UNCC) 22.84; 6. ***Teanna Harlin (TCU) 23.27; 7. **Ariane Linton (Ar) 23.37; 8. ***Cynteria James (SC) 23.47.