Sports

Bloomfield happy with 44.86sec indoors 400m time

BY PAUL BURROWES
Observer Writer

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

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Auburn University head coach Ralph Spry has applauded the performances of his three Jamaican sprinters, who featured in a record-breaking NCAA Division One Indoor Championships at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium at College Station, Texas, on the weekend.

The trio, sophomores Akeem Bloomfield and Raheem Chambers and redshirt freshman Natalliah Whyte all ran personal bests to give the Tigers their only three individual medals. Another Jamaican, Nathon Allen, also ran a “huge” personal record.

“Akeem ran an incredible race, unfortunately the person in the other heat broke a world record,” Spry said. “Nathon had a huge PR in the 400 and Raheem ran a really good race and had a great meet. He had a PR in prelims and another great race in finals.”

Bloomfield ran a school and national indoor record of 44.86 seconds, lowering his national mark of 45.02 set early last month. American Michael Norman of University of South Carolina (USC) clocked a world record 44.52 seconds for the gold. He broke compatriot Kerron Clement 12-year-old mark of 44.57 seconds.

Allen was fifth in 45.27 seconds, bettering his previous best 46.03 seconds set earlier this year.

Bloomfield's time was also the seventh fastest time ever in the world and the fifth fastest collegiate time ever.

“It was a very good race,” Bloomfield said. “A time of 44.86 is a pretty fast time. I didn't get the win, but I'm happy with the time. I feel happy about the race and the entire indoor season.”

A great indoor season it was for the 20-year-old Bloomfield, who won the 400m at the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Indoor Championships clocking 45.22 seconds.

His outdoor season begins on March 16 with the Louisiana Classics.

Twenty-year-old Chambers, running a personal best for the fourth time this indoor season, claimed silver in the 60m posting 6.53 seconds.

Chambers stayed ahead for the majority of the race before Houston's Elijah Hall clipped him at the line.

The Jamaican now holds the second fastest time in Auburn's history behind Coby Miller's 6.50 seconds.

“I'm very grateful to finish second place and have a new PR,” Chambers said. “I'm a bit disappointed because I wanted the gold, unfortunately that didn't happen, so I just have to refocus and get better for outdoors.”

Whyte, meanwhile, broke the Auburn women's 60m indoor school record as she finished third in 7.12.

Also, 20, the St Jago past student broke countrywoman Kerron Stewart 11-year mark of 7.14 seconds.

Whyte became Auburn's highest freshman finisher at the NCAA Indoor meet since Marshay Ryan's silver in the triple jump in 2014.

“ … My only aim was to remain composed, execute and finish the race,” Whyte said. “At the line before the starter said 'on your mark' the only thing in my head was 'get to the line, get to the line, get to the line' and that's what I did. I'm very happy. It's my first indoor national meet. I ran a personal best, set a school record and finished third. I'm overwhelmed.”

Jonielle Smith was fourth in the women's 60m in a time of 7.19. It was the fourth time in the last five races that the senior from Kingston, Jamaica, broke 7.20.

“On the women's side, Natalliah and Jonielle had great races in the women's 60 and posted excellent times. Natalliah's school record breaking Kerron's mark is really impressive. Overall, I'm proud of the way our kids lined up and competed. It was a great weekend,” added Spry.

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