Burke misses out in sprint
Top Barbadian sprinter Mario Burke endured mixed fortunes in the finals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Outdoor Championships at the historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, on Friday night.
In the night’s first event, Burke not only became a NCAA champion but also created history with teammates Cameron Burrell, Elijah Hill and starter John Lewis III as the University of the Houston broke a 29-year-old record.
Burke ran a blistering third leg after receiving the baton from Hill, to help Houston win the men’s 4×100 metres relay in a new facility, meet and college record time of 38.17 seconds, which erased Texas Christian’s 1989 mark of 38.23 seconds.
But while he savoured the thrill of team victory, the triple All-American awardee, endured the agony of defeat in the 100 metres final.
The 21-year-old Burke had a poor start and was never a factor as he finished a disappointing eighth in 10.41 seconds.
Burrell, who had anchored the relay team, sped to victory in 10.13 seconds from Hill (10.17) as Houston swept the top two positions. Florida State’s Andre Ewers (10.19) was third.
The University of Southern California’s (USC) speedsters also had a record-breaking night as Michael Norman set a new collegiate record in the 400 metres with an amazing time of 43.61 seconds.
His teammate Rai Benjamin, who hails from Antigua, also established a collegiate record in the 400 metres hurdles with an impressive 47.02 seconds clocking.
Benjamin and Norman later linked up to set yet another facility, meet and college record, as USC convincingly won the 4x400m relay in a record time of 2:59:00 minutes. Houston, with Burke running the third leg and having a sub 46-second split, trailed home fifth in 3:04.53 minutes.
Georgia University, with Barbadian hurdler Michael Nicholls on their roster, won the national championship team honours with 52 points. Florida finished as runners-up with 42 points while Houston grabbed third with 35. (EZS)