Kentucky All-Everything freshman Sydney McLaughlin was named National Athlete of the Week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Tuesday.
The 2016 Olympian smashed the collegiate record in the 400-meter hurdles running 52.75 to win the SEC Championship by more than three seconds.
She also ran a 50.08 leg on UK’s SEC gold medal 4x400m relay with Faith Ross, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and Kayelle Clarke. They ran the 11th fastest time in collegiate history, 3:25.99. It was UK’s first mile-relay SEC gold, and the meet record by more than a second.
The performance was all the more impressive considering a momentum-reducing handoff bobble between the second and third legs.
McLaughlin lowered the 400m hurdles collegiate record by nearly half a second,
McLaughlin of course obliterated the world junior record that she’s held for three years, having improved the mark seemingly every time she’s run the past two years. The performance was also the 13th-fastest 400m hurdles time ever recorded. The 2016 Olympian became the ninth fastest 400m hurdler on the world all-time list (a few runners have multiple times on the list).
“This is the time we were looking for, 52-something” McLaughlin said. “I’m just really glad I was able to come out and get it.”
For another eye opener, the freshman ran .85 seconds faster than the then-personal-best time she posted just two weeks ago in her season debut. McLaughlin’s 400m hurdles time would’ve placed sixth in Sunday’s SEC open women’s 400m final.
McLaughlin tied three-time NCAA Champion Shamier Little for the No. 5 performance ever by an American.
“I still have a lot of learning to do in the race,” McLaughlin said. “But I think so far this season, we’ve been able to progress.”
McLaughlin won her second SEC Championship, having won the indoor 400m in February.
For the most in-depth coverage of the UK cross country and track and field program follow the @KentuckyTrack social media channels on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as well as on UKathletics.com.
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