NCAA Women’s 400H — Jones Fronts A Barnburner

USC junior Jasmine Jones (right) came from behind at hurdle 8 to the meet record. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

COMING OFF a sub-54 performance at the West Regional and then running 53.80 in the preliminaries, Arkansas’s Rachel Glenn came into the final as the undisputed favorite even though she had yet to face defending champion Savannah Sutherland of Michigan. But Glenn would also be coming off a very sub-par performance in the high jump, where she didn’t seem to have a bounce in her step and only cleared 5-11½ (1.82) for 13th.

In 2023, Sutherland (formchart No. 3 this year) won the title in 54.45 and she won her semi here in 54.04. The Canadian junior also captured the Big 10 title, finished 1st in the East Regional and had gone undefeated throughout the season.

Then there was Jasmine Jones (No. 2), who had kept her head in the game and did not get lost in the shuffle. The USC Trojan — who won the Pac-12 title in 53.87 — less than an hour before this final had placed 4th in the 100 hurdles, missing the podium by just 0.05. Jones, too, won her semi and now was ready to tackle the final, keeping in mind that patience would be key before showing her hand.

Jones had an ideal spot in 5 for tracking her main opponents. Glenn started in corridor 6, Sutherland in 7. Texas’s Akala Garrett and Ole Miss’s Gabrielle Matthews drew 8 and 9.

At the gun, no one had an advantage, but as they made their way down the backstretch, Sutherland and Glenn ran even, with Jones a step back.

After hurdle 5, though, Sutherland found another gear and by 8 had a step on Glenn and two on Jones.

It was then that Jones’ poise prevailed. She maintained her rhythm and by hurdle 9 had passed Glenn and had her sights on Sutherland.

While Sutherland and Glenn did not fade, they could not match Jones’ momentum and she won going away in 53.15.

The time was a meet record and only Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone ever ran faster as a collegian.

Sutherland would have to be satisfied with her 53.26 PR for 2nd, while Glenn took 3rd in 54.11.

“I thought a lot about how I felt in the first round,” Jones said. “I felt I had a lot left in the tank around like 150. So coming into it I wanted to just keep that energy with me and kind of really let it all out and go back home after this so I can just get my own development track.”

Knowing she needed to make up ground mid-race, Jones told ESPN afterwards she drew on “all the times I was on a similar situation in practice — very tired, but pushed through and I was able to find that in my legs and bring it back.”


FINAL (June 08)

1. *Jasmine Jones (USC) 53.15 PR (2, 2 C);

2. *Savannah Sutherland’ (Mi-Can) 53.26 NR (5, 5 C);

3. *Rachel Glenn (Ar) 54.11;

4. ***Akala Garrett (Tx) 54.84;

5. Sydni Townsend (Hous) 55.01;

6. *Shana Grebo’ (Or-Fra) 55.30 PR;

7. **Gabrielle Matthews’ (Ms-Jam) 55.33;

8. Abbey Glynn (Co) 55.75;

9. Shani’a Bellamy (LSU) 55.78.

HEATS (June 06)

I–1. Glenn 53.80 PR (7, x C);

2. Matthews’ 56.19; 3. Jacy Pulse (SD) 56.54; 4. Ken’naria Gadson (Clem) 57.32; 5. Zoe Pollock’ (Ga-GB) 57.44; 6. **Harley Daniel (Ut) 57.56; 7. *Tyra Wilson (FlSt) 57.57; 8. Simone Watkins (How) 1:00.03.

II–1. Jones 54.20 (9, x C);

2. Grebo’ 55.94 PR; 3. Bellamy 56.25; 4. Kyla Robinson-Hubbard (Tn) 56.45; 5. **Chelby Melvin (Murr) 57.45; 6. Nissi Kabongo (TxAM) 58.30; 7. Dominique Mustin (Ga) 58.83;… dnc—*Natalie Block (Milw).

III–1. Sutherland’ 54.04 PR (8, x C); 2. Garrett 54.44 PR (3, 10 WJ; 2, 9 AJ);

3. Townsend 55.52; 4. Glynn 56.07; 5. **Chloe Fair (Harv) 56.50; 6. Rae-Anne Serville’ (USC-Tri) 57.13; 7. Leah Phillips (LSU) 57.72; 8. ***Saira Prince (AzSt) 58.50.