10 Men’s Pro & College Storylines to Follow at Mt. SAC Relays 2023
Michael Norman vs. defending Mt. SAC Relays champ Micah Williams in 100m showdown; 4x400m relay teams ready to fly sub-3 minutes, stadium, meet & NCAA records in jeopardy
By Erik Boal, DyeStat Editor
WALNUT, Calif. – Here are 10 storylines involving male college and professional athletes competing at one of the nation’s most prestigious track & field competitions, the 63rd Mt. SAC Relays presented by Nike.
#1 Decorated field set to race for 100 meter crown
Michael Norman set the high school 100 meter record by clocking 10.27 seconds in 2016 competing for Vista Murrieta High in California when the meet was held at Cerritos College while Mt. SAC’s Hilmer Lodge Stadium was under construction.
Following a gold medal in the 400 meters at the World Athletics Outdoor Championships in July at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., Norman has shifted focus this season to a return to the 100 and he’ll face several quality challengers in the men’s invitational elite competition Saturday.
Norman boasts a lifetime-best 9.86 from 2020, but is scheduled to square off against fellow professional athletes Christian Coleman (late scratch), Kyree King, Cravont Charleston and Ilias Garcia, in addition to collegiate stars Micah Williams from Oregon, Georgia’s Matthew Boling and USC’s Davonte Burnett.
Williams won the invitational elite section last year in a wind-aided 9.83.
Burnett prevailed in the collegiate section last season in a wind-legal 9.99.
Coleman, who competed only in an elite invitational 4x100m relay last year at Mt. SAC, boasts a personal-best 9.76 from 2019.
Norman, who ran his last 100m race Sept. 5, 2021, in Italy, also holds the men’s elite 400 meet record of 43.45 from 2019 at El Camino College. He placed second in the 200 last year in a wind-legal 19.83 at Mt. SAC.
Ato Boldon of Trinidad & Tobago has held the men’s 100 meet record of 9.86 since 1998.
Charleston, Garcia and King are also scheduled to team with Brandon Carnes on an American all-star 4x100m relay against Houston, USC, Oregon, Texas A&M, Arizona State and Arkansas.
Coleman was part of the victorious 4×100 last year in 38.72, with Oregon the top collegiate program at 39.08.
The 4×100 meet and stadium records of 37.79 achieved by Santa Monica Track Club’s Michael Marsh, Leroy Burrell, Floyd Heard and Carl Lewis has stood since 1994.
#2 Following three decades, 4×400 sub-3 could finally be reached again
Andrew Valmon, Stanley Redwine, Raymond Pierre and Michael Johnson, representing Mazda Track Club, have held the men’s invitational elite 4x400m relay meet record since their 3:00.48 performance in 1992.
But there are several teams who are motivated to become the first quartet in meet and stadium history to produce a sub-3 effort, led by Georgia, which had Elija Godwin, Matthew Boling, Caleb Cavanaugh and Will Sumner clock 2:58.82 on April 1 at the 95th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays for the #2 all-time collegiate mark.
Georgia led three teams under the 3-minute mark in Texas, with Alabama clocking 2:59.15 and UCLA running 2:59.25, but there could be more programs joining that group Saturday.
Arizona State, Arkansas, Iowa, Texas A&M and USC are all capable of achieving a sub-3 performance.
Georgia, USC and Texas A&M are three of the 10 schools in collegiate history to eclipse the barrier.
Iowa ran 3:00.14 in 2019, Arizona State clocked 3:00.57 in 2005 and Arkansas produced a 3:01.84 effort in 2017. The Razorbacks achieved the second-fastest indoor 4×400 in global history with their 3:01.09 performance Feb. 4 in New Mexico.
Florida set the collegiate record of 2:58.53 last season.
#3 Alekna ready to attack discus record
Cal super sophomore Mykolas Alekna, 20, opened his season April 8 in Berkeley in impressive fashion at the Brutus Hamilton meet with a discus throw performance of 224-4 (68.39m). There was also a reported foul in his series that surpassed the 70 meter mark.
Alekna, who placed second in the invitational elite discus at Mt. SAC last year behind Swedish star Daniel Stahl, has the potential to challenge not only the meet record, but perhaps the all-time stadium mark Saturday.
Alekna, representing Lithuania, boasts a lifetime-best 229 feet (69.81m) from June at the Bauhaus-Galan Diamond League Meeting in Sweden. He achieved three marks beyond 69 meters during the summer, including at the World Athletics Outdoor Championships in Oregon and at the European Athletics Championships in Germany, earning silver and gold medals, respectively.
The meet record of 227-7 (69.36m) has been held by American Ben Plucknett of the Southern California Striders since 1983.
The all-time stadium mark of 231-10 (70.66m) was established by American Mac Wilkins, representing Athletics West, in 1979.
Alekna achieved the collegiate record of 225-6 (68.73m) in May in Oregon, in addition to boasting the top four regular-season throws in NCAA history.
Alekna will have an opportunity to compete against Arkansas teammates and Jamaican athletes Roje Stona and Ralford Mullings, in addition to throwing against British professionals Lawrence Okoye and Nicholas Percy.
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