USATF Saturday — Mu Claims Trio Of 600 Records

We’re not even at the finals yet, but Athing Mu has already claimed the HS, World Junior & American Junior bests in the 600. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

DAY 2 OF THE USATF INDOOR provided a mixture of great competition sprinkled with some seriously thin fields in a year when there is no World Indoor meet to qualify for (and with the outdoor Worlds still being 7+ months away—thanks, IAAF). The PR wisdom of staging non-standard events on the oval did a good job of providing performances that rate highly on various all-time lists.

Moving all the way to the top of one list was prep sensation Athing Mu (Central, Trenton), who had come oh-so-close to the national HS Record in the 600 at Millrose, her 1:27.36 missing by just 0.23. Saturday was just the heats on Staten Island, but Mu—who led all qualifiers—nonetheless banged out a 1:26.23 that claimed not only the HSR, but also the World & American Junior (U20) standards. Mu led all the way as she banged out laps of 26.29, 29.19 & 30.80 in producing a time that only 5 other Americans of any age have ever beaten. It’s not over-reaching to suggest that we may see another record in the final, what with Mu up against pro Raevyn Rogers, who PRed at 1:26.53 in another heat.

The men’s 2M was a strange one, in that Drew Hunter didn’t have a qualifier, but meet management allowed him into the B section, run some 3 hours before the A section finished off the day’s action. The top-rated runners found themselves chasing Hunter’s list-heading 8:25.29, but did little to help themselves embarking on a pace that was far too slow, with section winner Eric Avila clocking only 8:32.41. In an interview after the second race, Hunter called watching it a “very stressful 8 ½ minutes. It was a very unique way to win a U.S. title but I couldn’t be happier.”

In the women’s 300, Iowa alum Brittany Brown not only took over the yearly world lead at 35.95, but also claimed the No. 7 position on the all-time list. Behind her, Gabby Thomas moved to No. 8 with her 35.98. In 3rd, the HS-leading 37.46 for frosh Kayla Davis (Providence, Charlotte) made her the No. 3 prep ever. The men’s title went to Dontavious Wright at 32.81.

As expected, the Bowerman TC provided the women’s mile winner, but it wasn’t favored Shelby Houlihan (4:29.92), the 2-time defending champ, who couldn’t run down teammate Colleen Quigley (4:29.47) on the last lap.

The best of the men’s field events was the shot, where Ryan Crouser won his first ever national indoor title, flipping all 5 of his legal puts beyond the 70-foot line. The best of them, his fourth-round 72-10¾ (22.22), was just 4½ inches off his world leader. Other men’s field winners: Jeron Robinson (7-4¼/2.24), Andrew Irwin (19-¼/5.80), Jordan Downs (25-4½/7.73 as only 2 men could break 25). The hept crown went to Tim Ehrhardt at 5868 points.

In women’s field events Vashti Cunningham raised her yearly national high jump leader to 6-5 (1.96) and Kate Hall took the long jump at 21-4¼ (6.51). □