Julien Alfred and Kemba Nelson were first and second in the Women’s 100 meters final on Saturday at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Eugene.
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Alfred, the collegiate leader at 10.81 seconds coming into Saturday, finished the race in 11.01, becoming the first woman from St. Lucia to win the NCAA Women’s 100 meters. She is also the first Texas Longhorn to win this event since Alexandria Anderson did in 2009.
“I did it from the start to be honest,” said Alfred to ESPN U in her post-race interview as she described the confidence in her game plan and execution of it.
“I knew once I got a good start and once I got my momentum going, nobody could catch me at the end.”
Alfred got an ideal start, but didn’t get her usual separation early as adjacent Nelson in lane 4 kept pace with her for 40 meters. The separation was gradual, but sufficient, as Alfred outmuscled her Jamaican competitor and ultimately outleaned Nelson at the line for the NCAA crown.
Nelson improved upon her fourth-place finish in 2021 to take silver for an 11.02 finish. She used some of the supportive energy from the home crowd to keep pace and push Alfred all the way to the tape, as American Abby Steiner of Kentucky began to tap into her top-end speed as she encroached upon Nelson’s position.
Steiner was third in 11.07.
“I think it’s a great field,” said Alfred of the NCAA 100m final.
“On Thursday like six of us ran sub-11, so I knew I had to get out.”
It was a field that included competition including the likes of Nelson, who won the PAC-12 and has several sub-11 performances to her name, including a windy 10.97 to qualify for this final; Melissa Jefferson of Coastal Carolina who owns the 60-meter record and the second-fastest legal time this year of 10.88; 10.93 SEC champion Favour Ofili of Nigeria; Davis who ran a 10.95 at the Big 12 Champs in May and Steiner, who ran a 10.95 to win her heat on Thursday and became the eventual 200-meter outdoor champion and record holder in 21.80 seconds.
Despite all that formidability, Alfred listened to her coach who told her, “I’ll see you on the other side of the track, and that’s what I did.”
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