The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

Bryshon Nellum Leads Weekend Highlights

May 13th, 2013
7:27 am PST

Bryshon NellumDoha kick started the track season into high gear on Friday with a meet full of stellar performances and competition. It seems like the rest of the sport was inspired, especially the college kids, as they lit the track up the rest of the weekend.

This was conference weekend, and all across the country the chase for NCAA titles began. From the Pac12 on the west coast to the SEC on the east coast, young college stars went head to head for team titles before heading to the regional meets.

For my money the best of these, in a weekend full of outstanding performers was Bryshon Nellum of USC who turned in an outstanding 20.23 (1.5)/44.76 long sprint double before leading his teammates to victory in the 4×4 relay. Nellum’s marks make him #5/#3 respectively in the world, and both are PRs – his second 200 PR of the year. More impressive however, is that it marks a complete comeback for the former high school star, who after being shot in his legs as a college freshman suffered through surgeries & rehab before finding enough form late last year to run his way onto the Olympic team.

Now he’s just turned in a sprint double worthy of Danny Everett, LaShawn Merritt, or Michael Johnson – a trio of the sport’s all time best – and the season is still young! Nellum definitely bears watching. In part because he’s a great story, but largely because he’s a fantastic talent. A talent who’s already shown the perseverance necessary to achieve great things. I think we may see the beginning of those things this year!

Nellum’s marks made the Pac12 look like the formidable sprint conference that it once was "back in the day". Mike Berry’s (OR) runner-up 45.14 in the quarter certainly helped the cause. So did the 10.07 (1.6) 100 win for Nellum’s USC teammate Beejay Lee. The pair brings back memories of the days of Clancy Edwards and James Sanford when SC was a major national power in the sprints.

Given good health all around, the sprinters of the Pac12 will get a shot at the current collegiate sprint capitol, the SEC. The SEC sprint winners this weekend – Diondre Batson (10.12), Isaiah Young (20.20), Deon Lendore (45.02), Kimberlyn Duncan (11.32/22.35), and Regina George (51.74) match up very well with their west coast counter parts. I enjoy the distances, and there will be done hot distance traces at not the regional and NCAA championship meets, but great speed match ups have a way of spicing up a meet at any level – and this year’s collegiate championship meets are shaping up to be a real speed fest!

Speaking of speed, Tyson Gay took a serious spin over half lap – something we haven’t seen since July 2010, and yes I know he ran a lone deuce last year in 20.21 – and came away with a swift 19.79 (2.5). I hate to sound excited, but it’s nice to see a real threat to Jamaican dominance in the sprints. No event is fun when you know the outcome beforehand – especially the sprints. I dare say that part of the excitement of the sprints is the unpredictability of the events. The sport benefits greatly from a healthy Tyson Gay and the prospect of a true international sprint rivalry.

And on the topic of international competition, next up, Shanghai!

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