Weekend Recap: Holloway Impresses, Texas Frosh Tops Irby

From national record-breaking high school action in Virginia, to fast early-season collegiate marks across the country and a near American record at the Houston Half Marathon, this past weekend had a little bit of everything for track and field fans.

Here were the top five performances from Friday through Sunday:

1. Emily Sisson Runs U.S. #2 All-Time 67:30 At Freezing Houston Half

Sunday was one of the of the coldest Houston Marathon and Half Marathon race days in history as wind chills were in the 20s at the start, but that didn’t prevent 27-year-old Emily Sisson from putting a scare into the half marathon American record. The target was Molly Huddle’s 67:25 set a year ago in Houston, and Sisson-- who trains with Huddle-- was ahead of schedule through 15k as she split 47:48, 67:14 pace.

She slowed down from there-- her 5k split from 15k to 20k was 16:16, her slowest in the race-- and she ultimately fell just five seconds short in 67:30 to finish fifth. Still, the race was just Sisson’s third-ever half marathon and now she is positioned between Huddle and marathon U.S. record holder Deena Kastor (67:34) on the U.S. half all-time list.

Kenyan Brigid Kosgei-- who won the Chicago Marathon last October in 2:18:35, seventh all-time-- was victorious on Sunday in 1:05:50, the fastest time ever on U.S. soil.  

For Sisson, this race should set her up well for her marathon debut in London on April 28, where she will meet Kosgei, Huddle, and one of the strongest overall women’s fields ever.

2. Grant Holloway Casually Opens With A 7.49 #5 In NCAA History; Then He Crushes A Fast 200m And A 45.62 4x400m Split The Next Day 

If his performances at the Clemson Invitational on Friday and Saturday are any indication, Florida sensation Grant Holloway is in for a huge track season in 2019. Already the collegiate record holder in the 60m hurdles with his 7.42 from last season, Holloway’s times from the weekend (he ran 7.49 in the prelims and finals) put him right on schedule to lower that mark in the coming weeks; Holloway ran 7.49 at this very meet a year ago, then set the 60mH collegiate record three weeks later.

But he wasn’t close to done after the hurdles. The four-time NCAA champ doubled and tripled back in the 200m and 4x400m on Saturday, and he did so with eye-popping success. First came the 200m-- his first ever collegiate attempt at the distance-- which he knocked out of the park with a 20.69, #2 in the NCAA for 2019. Then it was the 4x400m later that day, where Holloway cracked off a 45.62 second-leg; the split was the lone sub-46 clocking in the race.

Many people were surprised when the Florida star decided to return to campus for his junior season instead of going pro, but Holloway has made it his mission to break the 110m hurdles collegiate record (13.00) come outdoors. His first results of the season have at least offered a warning shot to that record.

3. Jonathan Davis Is Back, Runs NCAA-Leading 3:58 in Iowa

Illinois mid-distance stud Jonathan Davis was forced to miss the entire cross country season in the fall due to mono, but he’s returned with a vengeance early in 2019. After recording a 800m PR last weekend, Davis dropped a NCAA-leading 3:58.06 mile PR on Saturday at the Larry Wieczorek Invitational at Iowa. 

4. Texas Freshman Kynnedy Flannel Beats Lynna Irby, Drops First Sub-23 In 2019

With her 22.88 200m performance at the Clemson Invitational, Texas frosh Kynnedy Flannel has introduced herself as a potential NCAA superstar this indoor season. The time, fifth-best in UT’s storied history, is perhaps less important than who Flannel beat in the race: the freshman easily defeated Georgia’s Lynna Irby-- who finished third in the NCAA 200m indoor and outdoor in 2018-- by 0.39 seconds.  

5. Bullis School Sets 4x400 And 4x200 U.S. High School Records At VA Showcase

It was a huge weekend for the Bullis School boys from Potomac, Maryland, at the VA Showcase and it all started on Friday evening in the 4x400m as they broke a 10-year-old U.S. high school indoor record with their 3:12.53. New Bern (N.C.) had previously held the record since 2009 with a 3:13.06.

The four-man performance was punctuated by an electric run from junior anchor Ashton Allen,  a fast-rising star who split a scintillating 46.5.

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Allen and Co. were back for more on Saturday, as the Bulldogs put together a 1:25.60 4x200m to set another U.S. prep record.

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