After watching two records go down, the premiere event of day five at the AAU National Club Championships was the 400m, but the best is yet to come as finals haven't even kicked off yet.
To start off the quarter-mile mania, 8-year old Bella-Marie Black of Charlotte Heat (NC) earned the top qualifying spot heading into Saturday’s final running 1:08.9. She led the next competitor in her heat by more than 10 seconds. Black is chasing after reigning Junior Olympic champion Damira Allen’s record of 1:05.66.
After breaking the record in the 9-year old boys 800m on day four, Grant Reynolds (Mark Trail Flying Eagles, GA) followed up with a time 1:01.14 in the 400m. Reynolds leads the second qualifier by two seconds, but the right push Reynolds could possibly break Dorian Friend’s record of 1:00.51.
In the 12-year-old girls 400m, the first record of the day goes to Christin Facey of Alpha Elite Track Club (FL). Facey ran 55.76 to tie the current record by Ashton Linley set in 2014. Cruising to her time with an eight-second gap on the next place in her heat, Saturday looks to be a potential tie-breaker for Facey.
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Cha’Iel Johnson is going for a triple crown this week, with hopefully three records to match. In the prelims of the 13-year-old girls 800m on day four, Johnson broke Daesha Rogers’ record and on day five she did it again, but in the 1500m, where she ran 4:42.68. Johnson also has the No. 1 qualifying spot heading into Saturday’s 400m final with a time of 57.70.
Javen Hamilton of Peak Performance (FL) broke the second record of day in the 13-year-old boys 400m. Hamilton ran 50.66, breaking Texas A&M’s Jamal Walton’s record of 50.88. In the second qualifying spot was Mekhi Gammons of MGX (FL) with a time of 51.76. Both boys were in separate heats, and each won their heat comfortably. When Hamilton and Gammons meet in the final, the record might have a new time next to it, and possibly a new name.
In the 15-16-year old girls, Athing Mu asserted her dominance by running 53.70 in the prelim. In the final, she’ll run after the University of Miami’s Symone Mason’s record of 53.57. Mu is also chasing a triple crown this weekend—she was a part of the 15-16-year-old girls championship sprint medley relay on Tuesday. On Saturday, Mu will double in the 400m and 800m.
Jatana Folston of E.O.T.O. Elite (FL) is running for redemption this week, as she placed third in the 15-16-year-old girls 400m last year. This year, Folston holds the top spot in the 17-18-year old 400m—she ran 53.67 to finish 6 seconds ahead of the field. The record was set last year by Sterling Lester (53.14) of Marietta Track Club. There are a handful of 55’s and 56’s headed to the final with Folston, so that record of Lester’s is in danger!
To finish off the 400m prelims, Tyrese Cooper ran 47.15 to secure the top spot going into the finals. So far, Cooper has qualified for the semifinals in the 100m, 200m, and the finals in the 400m. But there's one more event that he hasn't competed in yet this weekend—Cooper seems to be making his 400 meter hurdles debut tomorrow, when he'll also contest the semifinals for both the 100m and 200m.
There are two days left of competition so, be prepared for some more record-setting performances!
Remember you can watch this event live from flotrack.org.
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