Wallace Spearmon, a second-year University of Arkansas student, set the local crowd on fire - and put himself squarely into the international picture - as he twice broke the American record for the indoor 200m at the NCAA Indoor Championships on Friday (10 March).
Coming into the meet, Spearmon was the fastest qualifier with a good 20.35. But thanks to the first-round random lane draw, he ended up in lane 3, the "inside" lane for the four-man heats on this six-lane indoor 200m track. Perhaps he felt challenged by the relatively slow lane, but if so, he rose to it. Halfway through the race Spearmon had made up the stagger on everyone in the heat, and he pulled away to win by four metres in 20.21, not only a national record, but also the fourth fastest indoor 200 ever, behind only Frank Fredericks (19.92 Wrec; 20.10 & 20.18).
And then 20.10 final
That was impressive, but 90 minutes later was close to awesome.
This time Spearmon was in lane 5, and despite a poor start and perhaps a stumble coming out of the blocks that saw him actually lose ground over the first 50m, Spearmon then proceeded to finish as if he had been born to run 150 metres. He whooshed around the turn and kept on going to hit the finish in 20.10, tying Fredricks' second-best-ever performance and of course setting another national record.
In the earlier section of the two-section final, Walter Dix of Florida State University set a world junior best with a time of 20.37.
The jumps showed some promising performances by young Americans. Tianna Madison of the University of Tennessee who won the women's Long Jump with a third-round mark of 6.78m, after which she passed her three final jumps. American Olympic high jumper Chaunte Howard of Georgia Tech University won here with a second-round clearance at 1.92m over France's (and Southern Methodist University's) Gaelle Niare, who needed three tries. And Aarik Wilson of Indiana University won the men's Long Jump as expected, although it took a final-round jump of 8.17m to do it.
The men's 35-pound weight throw was won by Greece's Spyridon Jullien (Virginia Tech), with a winning throw of 23.18m.That was just 7 cm off his season-best of 23.25, which vaulted him into 9th place on the all-time list.
Jim Dunaway for the IAAF
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