Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

First ever 400-meter win for men’s track

Crimson Tide freshman Kirani James made history when he claimed the NCAA men’s track and field 400-meter title June 12. James is the first athlete to win an NCAA Championship at only 17 years old.

He performed in front of 11,972 fans in Eugene, Ore. Timing in at 45.05, James is the first male Alabama athlete to win since 2002 and the first ever men’s track and field outdoor 400-meter winner.

“He is very focused,” said head coach Harvey Glance. “He knows what he wants to do.”

To advance to the NCAA Championship, James took home a win with a 45:17 time in the 400-meter at the NCAA East Preliminary Round.

This season James placed runner-up in the 400-meter at the NCAA Indoor Championship timing in at 45.63. James timed a 45.24, beating his own record at the SEC Championship and was named Southeastern Conference Freshman Runner of the Year.

“Kirani has great talent,” Glance said. “He is really humble.”

Most recently, James has been named one of 10 student male athletes on the Bowerman Watch List. This group of 10 men will be narrowed down to the top three athletes later this week.

If James is selected for this honor, he will be among the three winners announced at the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in San Antonio, Texas, December 13-16.

James holds a top-10 time in the world in outdoor competition and has also earned All-American honors in the 400-meter sprints.

Even though James already has an NCAA Championship under his belt, he said he’s not done yet.

“There is much more to be accomplished, and me having that mentality makes me work and try and improve every day in practice and not get distracted by things that are not propriety,” he said. “Also the support I get from my family and friends back home plays a major role.”

A native of Gouyave, Grenada, James began attending the University this past spring and has already accomplished high honors in his first season with the Tide.

James chose Alabama over South Carolina and Florida State. Although he holds the second fastest time in the world, he began training slowly.

Glance made sure James could balance his new lifestyle while becoming accustomed to the academics and athletics programs here in the United States. James started the season running only one race a week beginning in February.

“I never knew he would move this quickly at such a high level,” Glance said. “He really matured fast and understands the track and field.”

Along with his track season at Alabama, James also competed in the Carifta Games held in the Cayman Islands where he was able to defend his title as reigning champion.

James finished the events as a double gold medalist, winning in both the 200-meter and 400-meter races.

After taking a few weeks off after his NCAA Championship, James returned to the states and has been preparing for the IAAF World Juniors Championships.

Held in Canada from July 19-21, the championship is for track and field athletes 19 and under. James’ training consists of outdoor practice in the heat of the day that lasts about an hour. He will compete in the 400-meter at the World Juniors Championship.

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