University of Kentucky track and field volunteer assistant coach Kori Carter medaled, and future Wildcat Sydney McLaughlin broke her own under-20 record in the 400-meter hurdles at the U.S. track and field championships Sunday in Sacramento, Calif.
Olympic 400 hurdles gold medalist Dalilah Muhammad won the event in a fast race that saw the top three all go under 53 seconds.
Carter took bronze with a personal best while McLaughlin finished sixth to lower her world under-20 (formerly known as junior) record to 53.82. Carter qualified for IAAF World Championships.
“(This season) I went back to my college coach Edrick Floréal,” said Carter, who worked with Floréal when he was at Stanford. “He’s really been pushing me to be more technically sound, be more physically fit, be quicker. Just all around pushing me to work on the little details to make sure it pays off out here.
“I’m so excited. This is what we’ve been working for. I can’t wait to get back to work as soon as we get back to Lexington and get ready for London.”
Carter’s time was 52.96, the fastest she’s run since setting the collegiate record at 53.21 to win the 2013 NCAA championship.
Shamier Little was was second in 52.75.
“That was a fast race,” McLaughlin said. “It was great to see I’ve progressed this season coming into a pro race with these fast women. That was exactly where I wanted to be. I knew if I couldn’t make the team, because they’re out here running 52s, I at least wanted to try and break 54 to get that junior (under-20) record.”
▪ Also, Kentucky junior Kayelle Clarke earned the Trinidad and Tobago silver medal in the 200 meters, and a spot on her national team for the IAAF World Championships that goes along with it, by running a personal-best 22.94 in the semifinals and then 22.97 in the finals on Saturday.
Clarke ran the third leg on Kentucky’s NCAA champion 4x100-meter relay team earlier this month. She transferred to UK from New Mexico Junior College before this season.
Merritt moves on
Aries Merritt will be making a return to the world championships. This time, with a working kidney. The world-record holder Merritt finished second behind Aleec Harris in the 110-meter hurdles at the U.S. track and field championships Sunday. His place — as long as it was top three — didn’t really matter. He just wanted a spot.
Merritt won bronze at the 2015 world championships in Beijing with his kidneys barely functioning because of a genetic disorder. He received the transplant from his sister less than a week later.
“I always felt once I was healthy, all it would take is for me to put in the work,” Merritt explained. “That’s something I’ve been lacking. I haven’t been able to put in the work in two years.”
Harris proved uncatchable as he finished in 13.24 seconds. Merritt was 0.07 seconds behind, and former University of Oregon football player Devon Allen took third.