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Britton Wilson Came To Win At The NCAA Indoor

Britton Wilson Came To Win At The NCAA Indoor

As Arkansas won the team title, Wilson collected records official and unofficial, including the fastest-ever indoor split. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

The last thing on Britton Wilson’s mind at the NCAA Championships was breaking records. Like the rest of the Arkansas team, she came to win, and to do that she needed to stick to the plan. For the 400, she says, “Honestly, I just wanted to execute a clean race. That was what me and my coach had talked about going into it, was just to run smart and run efficiently. I just wanted to stay clean and not get caught up in any traffic or get tripped up or anything like that. It was mainly just trying to run a clean and efficient race.”

Did she have any sense of how fast she was moving? “No,” she says with a laugh. “I was just trying to execute and run well. My coach told me if I’m gonna make a move to make my move all the way through the finish line. So that was kind of what was going through my head. Like, ‘If I’m gonna pass somebody now, then I need to run all the way to the finish.’”

Then she glanced at the clock and saw the number: 49.48. Not just a personal record or a school record, but an American Record and the fastest ever run by a collegian indoors or out. “I was just over-the-moon excited. I didn’t know I ran that fast and I just couldn’t believe it. I was really, really, really excited.”

Her coach, Chris Johnson, might have been happy too: “Someone told me they saw him jumping up and down.”

Her work wasn’t done. The Razorbacks, in a furious battle for the team crown, called on her to anchor the 4×4. As the collegiate list leaders, the squad was heavily favored in the race. Coming into the final hand-off, third leg Rosie Effiong had a 20-meter lead on Texas. Not that she was doing any math at that point, but in hindsight, Wilson could have coasted a 53.1 and delivered the victory.

Coasting was the last thing on her mind. “I was just thinking to go out with a bang for the team. We really wanted to send out coach [Lance] Harter with his last [indoor] nationals as a team title. I was just thinking to run my hardest and give my best effort so that we were guaranteed the team win. I didn’t know how fast I was going or how big the gap was or anything like that. I was just running my hardest, trying to finish strong. It was really exciting when I came to the line.”

She was floored when a reporter told her how fast she had gone: 49.19, the fastest indoor split…

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