With Kirani James heading outdoors this last weekend I felt that there would be a new WL in the 400 before the weekend was out. I was right – except it wasn’t by James. The head turning performance of the weekend was the 44.86 by hurdler L.J. Van Zyl in Germiston South Africa.
L.J. Van Zyl (RSA) is THE hot athlete of the early season. Last month he ripped a 47.66 over hurdles. Now it’s 44.86 over the flat – another new personal best. He now leads the world in both events. The question is: can he hold this pace until August and the World Championships? Because most of his competition has yet to break a serious sweat in competition.
One thing is certain, he is going to be a major player this year. His PR’s this season make him the #10 all time combination hurdler/sprinter over 400 meters – only behind a list of impressive Olympic/World medalists! Of course several are still competing – Angelo Taylor (USA), Kerron Clement (USA), Felix Sanchez (DOM) and Bershawn Jackson (USA) so Van Zyll may have to keep up his current pace just to get to the podium. But right now he is the one leading the way and his early performances should put everyone else on notice.
Also blitzing one lap of the track was the LSU men’s 4x1 squad as they christened their new track with a 38.87 to set the early season NCAA leader. Their baton efforts also produced marks of 1:20.99 in the 4x2 and 3:03.77. Both the men and women’s squads had solid overall performances, giving strong indication that they will once again be a factor in the NCAA title chase.
Sticking with the one lap theme, sprinter Veronica Campbell Brown took a turn around the track and set a new personal best of 52.25. While not in the range of her top rival Allyson Felix (49.70) it is a significant lowering of her previous best of 52.77 and shows that we should expect a bit of added strength to Campbell Brown’s deuce this year. With her race being primarily the first 100 of the race and Felix’ being the second any little bit could help. I expect these two to do something special come Daegu.
Overall a solid weekend of action. With weather beginning to stabilize things should get even better next weekend with what should be some hot meets in Gainesville, Fayetteville, Baton Rouge and Houston.