BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA, May 11-13 — Britton Wilson was Britton Wilson, and that meant must-see racing at the SEC Women’s Championships.
The Arkansas junior started in the heats of the 400 on Friday with an eye-opening Collegiate Record 49.40 — winning comfortably by more 2 seconds — that took down her 49.51 from April’s Tom Jones Memorial.
A final-day double with the 400H in the span of some 80 minutes might seem daunting to most, but this was repeat territory for Wilson, who conquered both last year with then-PRs of 50.05 and 53.75.
Wilson started off her double this year in full force, lowering her 400 CR to 49.13 in winning by more than a second. She added a second-straight 400H title in 53.28, winning by almost 2 seconds.
The list of collegians who have run faster in the 400H is short: Kentucky’s Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone (52.75), Stanford’s Kori Carter (53.21) and Wilson herself (53.23 last year). Wilson is the only one who’s done so with a fast 400 already in her legs on the same day.
“I felt good,” said Wilson of her hurdles effort. “I mean, my steps were a little off. I think that’s what kind of threw off my rhythm. I think I could have gone faster if everything fell into place, but those are things we can work on at practice. I’m not upset about it at all. I’m looking forward to the rest of the NCAA season.”
Wilson got a smidgen of help in her big double from a half-hour weather delay on Saturday. “That was so good,” she said. “I was over there praying. I’m so glad we got a little 30 minutes. It was nice.”
Another hurdles race also had high expectations. A loaded field included CR holder Masai Russell of Kentucky and Ackera Nugent of Arkansas, the only woman who could best Russell indoors — and break her 60H CR.
Local favorite Alia Armstrong of LSU made sure not to be forgotten. The reigning NCAA champion, she’d been quiet all year until a narrow loss to Nugent two weeks ago on this very same track.
Armstrong roared in the prelims on Friday with a 12.31w aided by a 2.2 wind — bettering the fastest ever recorded by a collegian (Armstrong herself at 12.33w in last year’s Texas Relays). The mark matched her all-time best of 12.31w, achieved post-collegiately in finishing 4th in last year’s World Championships.
Saturday’s final delivered a classic, and thankfully with a legal wind…
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