The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

UT's Coleman sprints his way to NCAA history

161 days ago
Tennessee Athletics
Photo: Tennessee Athletics

EUGENE, Oregon - Tennessee junior Christian Coleman became the second person in NCAA history to win four sprint national championships in one year as he won the 100m and 200m dashes on day three of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship at Historic Hayward Field on Friday.

After sweeping the 60m and 200m championships during the indoor season, he came back and won the 100m and 200m titles on Friday. Only #VFL Justin Gatlin has ever accomplished that feat as he pulled it off in 2002.

Coleman won the NCAA Championship in the 100m with a time of 10.04. The Atlanta native jumped out to a lead thanks to his lightning start and held on as he won by .08 seconds over Houston's Cameron Burrell. Coleman had set the collegiate record during the prelims as he ran a time of 9.82 seconds. That was the fourth-fastest time by an American ever, and made Coleman the ninth-fastest person in the world. He wasn't able to match that time as the race was run into a 2.1 m/s headwind.

Coleman became the first person to sweep the 60m and 100m races in the same year since Jeff Demps of Florida did it in 2010. Coleman's title is the sixth in Tennessee history following Reggie Jones (1974), Sam Graddy (1984), Terry Scott (1985) and Justin Gatlin (2001 and 2002). Tennessee now has the second-most 100m National Champions in NCAA history, behind only USC's eight titles.

Coleman had to come back 35 minutes after the end of the 100m and run in the 200m dash final. The Atlanta native, posted a time of 20.25 despite running into a 3.1 headwind. Coleman had a fierce challenge from LSU's Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake. Coleman jumped out to the lead, but Mitchell-Blake made up ground on the straightaway, however Coleman was able to hold him off at the line as he won 20.25 to 20.29.

The 200m title was the fourth 200m championship in school history as Coleman joined Reggie Jones (1975) and Justin Gatlin (2001 & 2002). Tennessee now has 10 men's sprint titles in school history, as they became the third school in the NCAA to hit that milestone as they joined USC (12) and Florida State (10).

This was Coleman's fifth career NCAA Championship as he also claimed the indoor 200m title last season. Coleman now ranks second in Tennessee history with five individual national championships. Justin Gatlin notched six national titles during his Tennessee tenure. This is the third straight year that the 100m and 200m titles have been swept as Arkansas' Jarrion Lawson (2016) and USC's Andre De Grasse (2015) have done it the past two years.

Sophomore Zach Long recorded a 12th place appearance in the 5000m final. Long crossed the line in 14:42.94 in the 5000m race. Long earned second team All-America honors with his finish. Long closed the race with a final 400m of 1:01.47 which was his fastest split of the competition. The race went out slow with the first with the first six full laps being run in 1:12 or higher, but that got faster as the race went on.

Matthew Zajac posted a mark of 54.81m (179-10) on his first throw in the discus competition. He finished in 18th place after ending the first flight in seventh place in his first career NCAA Championship appearance. Zajac finished the season ranked seventh in school history in the event with his best mark of 58.22m (191-0) which came at the SEC Championship as he earned a bronze medal in the event.

The Tennessee men's team finished in a tie for seventh place with SEC rival LSU. The Vols tallied 20 points with all of those earned by Coleman's two first-place finishes. The women's squad finished the competition with two points and will not have anyone competing on day four of the NCAA Championship.

10 Vols earned 12 All-American honors during the 2017 Outdoor Championship. LONG ADD. Coleman was a first-team All-American in the 100m and 200m races. Zach Long (5000m), Nathan Strother (400m), Cameron Brown (Hammer) and Seth Whitener (Hammer) earned second-team All-America honors. The men's 4x400m team of Mustaqeem Williams, Ari Cogdell, Malik Elion and Strother earned second-team honors as well. On the women's side, Chelsea Blaase earned first-team All-America honors with a seventh place finish in the 10,000m race and Shania Collins notched a spot on the second team for the 200m dash.

A select few Vols will continue their season as they compete at the USATF Championships from June 23-25 as they attempt to make the USA Team for this summer's World Championship in London.