USATF Men’s 400 — Hare Outlasts Tortoise

Bryce Deadmon owns two relay golds and will now represent Team USA individually. (ARELI PONCE OLGUIN/PHOTO RUN)

IN HEAT II 26-year-old Texas A&M grad Bryce Deadmon went out hard, 21.04 for the first 200. The formchart favorite, Vernon Norwood, the 31-year-old journeyman who is now a volunteer coach at his alma mater, LSU, passed the 200 a second-and-a-half slower (22.52), but finished ahead of Deadmon at the end as both moved on. Norwood had run 22.54 for his second 200, Deadmon 24.08.

In the semis the two ran head to head, to a similar pattern. Deadmon went out fast again, 21.12, and was easily run down by Norwood — with his distinctive bald pate and goatee — as the latter won decisively, 44.43–44.70.

In the final Norwood was in lane 5, Deadmon running almost blind in 7. Would he run more conservatively for the initial 200? No. He hit 21.25, 0.36 up on Norwood, and he did not come back as Norwood valiantly tried to chase him down from behind.

At the end Deadmon PRed in 44.22 for a clear margin over his rival (44.39, just 0.04 off his lifetime best), who was also now trying to hold off hard-charging Quincy Hall and Justin Robinson. Those three finished 0.19 apart as Hall (44.41), an erstwhile 400 hurdler, and Robinson (44.47), an Arizona State soph, both PRed.

Ryan Willie, the NCAA runner-up for Florida, was way back at 200 (21.99) and was not a factor, finishing 5th (44.87).

Did Deadmon think he would get run down in the home straight? “I was running for my life out there,” he said. Did he plan to run his race this way? “There was no plan,” he said.

Deadmon, a native of Missouri City, Texas, has now made the last three national teams, running on the winning 4x4s for the U.S. in the ’21 Games and last year’s Worlds.

For Norwood, it is his third time making the WC team in the individual 400 — he also did so in ’15 and ’19. Now he will have a shot at more hardware in the relays, where he has won gold 5 times — 4 WCs, 1 OG.

“This means a lot to me,” he said. “I continue to keep working hard.”

The long college season showed as the 5 collegians in the race took the last 5 spots. Robinson, who had finished just 3rd in his own conference final, then 4th at the NCAA, was a close 4th here, ahead of Willie, Matthew Boling (Georgia), Christopher Bailey (Arkansas) and Khaleb McRae (Alabama).

The pro runners, on the other hand, were fresh. Deadmon didn’t run a single race in March, April or May.

Boling in lane 8 and something of a novice at the distance — although YouTube views in the millions for his ’19 Texas State Meet 4×4 anchor might suggest otherwise — went out hard (21.49) but held on for a PR 45.17 after having scored a lifetime best 45.53 in the heats.


MEN’S 400 RESULTS

FINAL (July 08)

1. Bryce Deadmon (Nike) 44.22 PR

(11.06, 10.19 [21.25], 11.19 [32.44], 11.78) (21.25/22.97);

2. Vernon Norwood (NBal) 44.39

(11.26, 10.35 [21.61], 10.95 [32.56], 11.83) (21.61/22.78);

3. Quincy Hall (adidas) 44.41 PR

(11.45, 10.34 [21.79], 10.85 [32.64], 11.77) (21.79/22.62);

4. Justin Robinson (AzSt) 44.47 PR

(11.23, 10.40 [21.63], 11.10 [32.73], 11.74) (21.63/22.84);

5. Ryan Willie (Fl) 44.87

(11.43, 10.56 [21.99], 11.18 [33.17], 11.70) (21.99/22.88);

6. Matthew Boling (Ga) 45.17 PR

(11.00, 10.49 [21.49], 11.29 [32.78], 12.39) (21.49/23.68);

7. Chris Bailey (Ar) 45.25

(11.56, 10.58 [22.14], 11.01 [33.15], 12.10) (22.14/23.11);

8. Khaleb McRae (Al) 45.50

(11.32, 10.61 [21.93], 11.37 [33.30], 12.20) (21.93/23.57).

(lanes: 1. McRae; 2. Bailey; 3. Willie; 4. Hall; 5. Norwood; 6. Robinson; 7. Deadmon; 8. Boling)

(RT: 0.188 Deadmon; 0.195 Willie; 0.216 Boling; 0.224 Hall; 0.227 Bailey; 0.229 Norwood; 0.232 McRae; 0.244 Robinson)

HEATS (July 06)

I–1. Willie 45.48; 2. McRae 45.53; 3. Richard Johnson (Ok) 45.73; 4. Noah Williams (adi) 45.85; 5. Jovahn Williamson (NM) 47.55;… dnf—James Benson (Ar);… dq—Tavon Underwood (unat).

II–1. Bailey 45.04; 2. Norwood 45.06; 3. Deadmon 45.12; 4. Willington Wright (UCLA) 45.44; 5. Evan Miller (SC) 45.50; 6. James Milholen (Co) 46.68; 7. Auhmad Robinson (TxAM) 46.98.

III–1. Robinson 45.22; 2. Stewart 45.28; 3. Brian Faust (Ky) 45.41 PR; 4. William Jones (USC) 45.73; 5. Matthew Moorer (Bay) 46.35; 6. Paul Dedewo (TSPhxTC) 46.55; 7. Evan Mafilas (unat) 46.94; 8. Jake Ulrich (unat) 47.73.

IV–1. Hall 45.21; 2. Boling 45.53 PR; 3. Jacory Patterson (Fl) 45.98; 4. Brian Herron (Tx) 46.37; 5. Zarik Brown (Ok) 46.76; 6. Wil London (unat) 48.73.

SEMIS (July 07)

I–1. Norwood 44.43; 2. Deadmon 44.70; 3. Willie 44.85; 4. Bailey 45.02; 5. McRae 45.16; 6. Patterson 45.25; 7. Wright 46.34;… dnc—Williams.

II–1. Hall 44.86; 2. Robinson 45.22; 3. Boling 45.56; 4. Jones 45.92; 5. Miller 46.11; 6. Faust 46.42; 7. Stewart 47.08; 8. Johnson 49.88.