Shaun Maswanganyi of Houston at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships
Shaun Maswanganyi of Houston runs in the 100m dash at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships

Shaun Maswanganyi looks like a very confident man during day one of the NCAA Outdoor Championships on Wednesday night and the Houston sprinter seems primed and ready to challenge LSU’s Terrance Laird in the battle for the sprint titles.

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The pair went head-to-head on two occasions on Wednesday’s day one and judging by the form shown after each race, I believe fans should brace for a very competitive and entertaining battle between the two top-class sprinters on Friday’s men’s finals day.

Maswanganyi and Laird began the running schedule with an early battle after Houston and LSU were drawn together in the same semifinal heat.

Laird, arguably the best anchor leg runner on the collegiate circuit this season, looked untouched for the Tigers when they posted 38.66 seconds to win the section. Maswanganyi and the Cougars ran 38.84s for second place and the third-fastest overall.

Fast forward to the 100m heat where the pair locked horns again.

Maswanganyi Gets The Better of Laird In 100m Semis

A confident-looking Laird entered as the favorite, but he failed to recover from a sluggish start, while Maswanganyi (10.14) looked cool and confident when beating his chest when topping his LSU counterpart (10.21), as he warned his rivals that he still has more left in the tank for Friday.

In the 200m, semis Laird returned to his best after he easily outpaced the rest of the field to clock 20.14s when winning the third heat with the second quickest time of the day.

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Not to be undone by his rivals, Maswanganyi also looked in top form when taking his semis with a personal best of 20.18s, running well into his reserves.

Laird rolled into the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships as the overwhelming favorite to win the sprint double, and of course, he will remain as the man to beat.

However, I believe Maswanganyi will press the Olympic hopeful for the top accolades, especially in the 100m. I think Laird will be tougher to beat in the 200m, an event in which many considered to be his best discipline.

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