Fred Kerley Leads US Group Trying To Get Back On 400m Indoor Podium

As good as the United States men have been in global championship 400s, their performance indoor has been lacking. The U.S. hasn’t won gold at the World Indoor Championships since 2003, and in the last eight editions of the meet, the United States has only three medals total. For a nation as rich in depth at the 400m as the U.S., that’s hard to believe. 

The United States has performed well in the 4x400m, setting a world record in 2014, but individually it has been just average. Compare that with the U.S.'s medal record outdoors — 12 medals in the last eight outdoor championships — and its indoor showings are even more striking. 

There are a couple reasons for the disparity between indoors and outdoors. The 400m indoors is a wildly different event than it is outdoors. It has less in common with its outdoor counterpart than perhaps any other event (60m and 60m hurdles excluded). Outdoors, it’s a race confined to lanes. Indoors, it's a mad dash to the pole as the runners break out of lanes after 200 meters. That fact alone can dissuade many of the top Americans from racing. 

Second, the overlapping schedule with the NCAA season means that collegians rarely compete at the U.S. and World Championships indoors. And collegians are a source of the country’s best 400m runners. This year is no different. Three of the top five Americans on the 2018 list won’t race in Albuquerque, New Mexico, because they are still competing for their NCAA teams. Despite that, this year looks like the United States might have the team to get back to the top of the podium at the World Indoor Championships. 

First though, it will have to qualify at the U.S. Championships this weekend in Albuquerque. 

The two non-collegians in the top five on the yearly list, Marqueze Washington and Dontavious Wright, enter the meet with season bests of 45.24 and 45.50. But the favorite to take home the title in Albuquerque, and perhaps end the U.S.’s gold medal drought is Fred Kerley. The former Texas A&M standout has only raced once this year indoors, a 46.25 clocking on January. He does come in with a strong record of success. 

Kerley ran 44.85 to win the NCAA indoor title last year. In the summer he won the NCAA and U.S. titles outdoors and went on to finish seventh in the World Championships outdoors. Now that he doesn’t have to manage a college season, expect his performances in the major championships to improve. His 46.25 season best is a bit deceiving, as he ran 44.50 in an outdoor time trial last week.

Washington and Wright will be chasing Kerley for one of the two spots to Birmingham, England, for the World Championships. Washington is in good form. Last weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas, he ran a lifetime best in the 400m of 45.24. Wright also looks to be in the prime of his career. He just ran 45.50 in Albuquerque on the same track that will host this weekend’s meet. 

Like Kerley, Michael Cherry is in his first year as a professional. He’s off to a great start, winning the Millrose Games 400m two weeks ago. Also entered is 4x400m Olympic gold medalist Gil Roberts, who was recently cleared in a high-profile doping case and has run 45.80 this year. Kyle Clemons and Vernon Norwood both have global championship experience and enter with indoor personal bests of 45.60 and 45.31, respectively.  

One other name to take note of is high schooler Brian Herron. Earlier this season, Herron broke the world junior record in the indoor 300m, beating fellow phenom Tyrese Cooper. Herron, who is skipping his high school season to run unattached, has an indoor 400m personal best of 46.43 and has a goal of becoming just the second high schooler to break 46 seconds in an indoor 400.


Holloway Debuts, Kenny B's Back, Another ASU Star Thrower Emerges

It’s still the early days of the outdoor season, with athletes regrouping from the indoors and slowly trickling into the spring season. This weekend’s action was light, especially compared to next weekend’s trifecta of big meets at Stanford, Florida and Texas, but there were some notable results.

Talented ADP Squad Likes World XC Medal Chances On Tough Aarhus Course


Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

When Shadrack Kipchirchir lines up for the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships on March 30 in Aarhus, Denmark, the 30-year-old American is hoping for the nastiest weather that the Danish city can provide.

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

Here's Why USATF Honoring World Rankings Would Be A Disaster

Earlier this week we published an opinion stating why it is a good thing for USATF to use time standards as the only means to guarantee a spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic team. Our main reason was based on the fact that the new world rankings are unfair, but more importantly, the world rankings make the selection process even worse.

CAS Delays Semenya Decision Until Late April

The Court of Arbitration for Sport announced on Thursday that they will push back a ruling in the case involving Caster Semenya until late April. 

House Of Run: Everything To Be Excited About In The Outdoor Season

Jason and Kevin discuss the 42 most interesting storylines heading into the outdoor season. How healthy is Wayde Van Niekerk? Who will be the top women's 1500m runner? Can the Jamaican men win a sprint medal? What will Eliud Kipchoge do for an encore? Will this be the year of the 400m hurdles?

The Best Track And Field Athlete From Every NCAA Tournament School

The 2019 NCAA DI Men’s Basketball Tournament begins this week, and in honor of March Madness we’ve selected the best track and field athlete— past or present— from each of the tournament’s 68 schools (minus Old Dominion, who does not have a track team; get a track team Old Dominion). Some of the names below are NCAA track and field legends from major programs. Others on this list never even qualified for the NCAA Championships. The 68 here ran the gamut, from Olympic heroes to mere school record holders.

Why LetsRun Is Wrong & USATF Is Right About Olympic Qualifying

Last week, the IAAF announced its new qualification process for the 2020 Olympic Games, which included tougher entry standards and new computerized world rankings. The reaction was intense as some media outlets painted an apocalyptic worldview for U.S. athletics. In reality, it’s not that dramatic.

Cal Coach Tony Sandoval To Retire

Tony Sandoval, the director of track and field and cross country at Cal, will retire at the conclusion of the outdoor season. Sandoval spent 37 years at the university, beginning as the head women’s coach in 1982. 

Six Reasons We're Looking Forward To The NCAA Outdoor Track Season

As exciting as 200-meter ovals and banked curves are, we’re ready for the unpredictable weather, sprint relays and 10K races of spring track season. Here’s a few reasons to get excited for NCAA outdoor track and field.

FloTrack To Stream 2019 Boston Marathon In Europe

AUSTIN, Texas — March 18, 2019 — Today, FloSports, the innovator in live digital sports and original content, and the Boston Athletic Association, announced a partnership to provide live and on-demand coverage of the 2019 Boston Marathon on exclusively in over 40 European countries.