Athletics News

SEC Men — Morales Williams WL, Tharp AJR

SEC Men — Morales Williams WL, Tharp AJR

Auburn hurdler Ja’Kobe Tharp felled a giant in the form of Renaldo Nehemiah’s American Junior Record that had stood for 46 years. (MATT STAMEY)

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA, May 09–11 — Fiercely competitive and insanely fast — that could describe the SEC Championships almost any year. However, the 88th edition, held at Florida’s Percy Beard track, delivered so many astounding times that few jaws didn’t drop.

Georgia’s Christopher Morales Williams played his part, assuring his fans that no, he is definitely not just an indoor star. The Canadian soph, who bettered the World Indoor Record in the 400 with his 44.49 at the SEC Indoor, here delivered a world-leading 44.05 in the final after a 44.88 heat. It’s the No. 6 all-time collegiate performance (and performer). He did it by going out faster than anyone else in the race, earning a clear lead by 200 that kept growing until the finish. Alabama’s Samuel Ogazi came home 2nd in 44.58 with teammate Khaleb McRae next in 44.68.

Said Morales Williams, “Going into this race I really just wanted to get out as fast as I could get out. That’s what we’ve been focusing on in practice, the first 100 is kind of the leadup to my race… Coming through the backstretch and I was like, ‘OK, I’ve got to catch lane 9.’ And that’s just what I did. From then on I just had so much momentum and by 300 I’m like, ‘I’m not even tired, I’ll just keep running and running.’ And towards like the last 2m, I was like, ‘Oh man, I’m dead. I’m so tired.’ But luckily the race was done.”

Alabama’s Tarsis Orogot delivered another big time, a 19.75 that moved him to No. 3 all-time along collegians over a half-lap. The junior, who ran a 19.60 last year with the help of a 2.9 wind, came here the owner of a legal 19.90, the Ugandan Record, run on the same track a month ago. Starting from lane 7, Orogot did not get out well. Arkansas’s Lance Lang, in 9, easily outsprinted him on the turn and it wasn’t until the straightaway that Orogot could build enough momentum to catch him. He continued to streak to the finish, his 19.75 taking the measure of Florida’s Wanya McCoy (19.93) and Auburn’s Makanakaishe Charamba (20.00) as Lang faded to 4th in 20.04.

Auburn frosh hurdler Ja’Kobe Tharp wrote some history of his own. Only a 13.72/13.32w prep hurdler last year in Rockvale, Tennessee, he came to Gainesville with a PR of 13.46. He destroyed that in the heats with a 13.24 that made him No. 3…

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