One day after riding a blustering tailwind to the fastest wind-aided 200m in history, Indian Hills freshman Kenny Bednarek decided to give wind legal a try on the final day of the 2019 NJCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The result? Still damn fast.
Bednarek’s 19.82 200m performance on Saturday was not only the third-fastest time ever by a collegiate athlete, but it was also run into a -0.8 headwind. For 2019 purposes, 19.82 is the second-fastest time in the world this year and the best by an American.
Last year, Noah Lyles— the top 200m runner in the world— was the only U.S. athlete to run under 19.82. Over the course of one weekend, the 20-year-old Bednarek has gone from a fascinating prospect to an athlete who is clearly talented enough to make the World Championship final this fall.
That’s not something you say about a junior college freshman very often.
That wasn’t it for Bednarek, either. He won the 400m earlier in the afternoon on Saturday in a 44.73 personal best. With his two remarkable times coming on the same day, Bednarek earned another spot of track history:
With his 19.82 and 44.73 today, Kenny Bednarek becomes just the second man in history to break 20 seconds for 200m and 45 seconds for 400m on the same day.— Jon Mulkeen (@Statman_Jon) May 18, 2019
He's also the youngest to do it and the first US sprinter.
This kid is going to be special, and with USAs likely being his next destination, the world will finally get to see Kenny B against legit competition. Who would’ve thought this sentence would be a thing in 2019 but here it goes: I can’t wait to see Bednarek vs. Lyles in Des Moines this summer.