World leader Randolph Ross begins his hunt for a place on Team USA in the men’s 400m when the 2021 U.S. Olympic track and field trials get underway here at the historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, on Friday, June 18. Ross comes into the meeting as the NCAA outdoor champion and is one of the favorites to finish in the top three at the senior championships.
Ross A Favorite For An Olympic Place?
The North Carolina A&T standout posted a personal best and world-leading time of 43.85 seconds to win the collegiate title a week ago to climb to the top of the rankings this season. Prior to running his lifetime best on the same track that he will vie for an Olympic spot, Ross’ best was 44.60s, achieved at the MEAC Outdoor Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, last month.
On Friday, the 20-year-old will race from heat four and out of lane seven where he will take on three other collegiate stars who will also be hoping to finish in the top three and advanced to the next round.
Also starting in the fourth heat alongside Ross is the experienced quarter-miler Vernon Norwood, who comes in with a season’s best of 44.64s. Arizona’s Johnnie Blockburger who faded badly at the NCAA championships, will be hoping for a better showing this weekend, with Jonathon Sawyer of Southeastern Louisiana, Wil London, and Aldrich Bailey also starting in the heat as well.
Norman All The Way In The Men’s 400m?
Meanwhile, Michael Norman, who comes into the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials as the favorite to win the men’s 400m, will start from the third heat. Norman has a personal best of 43.45s and has clocked 44.27s already this season, the second-fastest time in the world this year behind the world-leading time from Ross.
He will have Jacory Patterson, Nathan Strother, Tyler Terry of LSU, and Georgia’s Elija Godwin for company in his heat.
Elsewhere in the men’s 400m heats, 19-year-old star Justin Robinson will race from heat one against the likes of LSU’s Noah Williams, Trevor Stewart of North Carolina A&T, and Michael Bluth of BYU, while Michael Cherry, another strong title contender, will start in heat two against Bryce Deadmon of Texas A&M, and LaShawn Merritt, the 2008 Olympic champion from Beijing.
The top three finishers from each heat plus the next four fastest times will advance to the semifinal of the event. The semifinals are slated to take place on Saturday.
Photo by: Pat Holleran @athleticsPix