EUGENE, Ore. — Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone turned in a dominant performance in her newest event to win the women’s 400 meters at the U.S. track and field championships on Saturday night.
Known as the record-setting 400-meter hurdler, McLaughlin-Levrone is proving to be a quick study as she learns the race on the fly this season. McLaughlin-Levrone made it look easy by cruising across the line in a meet-record time of 48.74 seconds. She almost broke the American record of 48.70 set by Sanya Richards-Ross in 2006.
Britton Wilson couldn’t close the gap on McLaughlin-Levrone and took second. Talitha Diggs wound up third.
It’s possible McLaughlin-Levrone could compete in both the open 400 and the 400 hurdles next month at worlds in Budapest, Hungary. McLaughlin-Levrone has a bye into the 400 hurdles courtesy of her record-setting win at worlds last summer on the same Hayward Field track where she breezed Saturday.
To think, McLaughlin-Levrone is still learning the pacing in the open 400. She has the hurdles down to a science, lowering the world record four times over a 13-month period.
“The greats always push themselves,” McLaughlin-Levrone said on the CNBC broadcast. “I want to be one of them so I push myself and get out of my comfort zone.”
A day after winning the 100 meters, Sha’Carri Richardson showed no signs of slowing down by posting a blistering wind-assisted time of 21.61 seconds in the first round of the 200. Only four women have recorded that time or gone faster under any wind condition.
“I’m ready — mentally, physically and emotionally,” said Richardson, whose national title in the 100 two years ago was stripped after she tested positive for marijuana. “I’m here to stay. I’m not back. I’m better.”
Bryce Deadmon won the men’s 400 on Saturday, while Rudy Winkler took the hammer throw, Nikki Hiltz the women’s 1,500 meters and Yared Nuguse the men’s 1,500. Maria Michta-Coffey and Nick Christie earned titles in the 20-kilometer race walks.
Robert Gregory out of the University of Florida had the top time in the first round of the men’s 200. Noah Lyles has an automatic berth to worlds in the 200 as the event’s reigning champion.