EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Christian Coleman wanted to execute his plan in the 100-meter semifinal and run well enough to make the final.
The University of Tennessee junior did that and more Wednesday at Hayward Field.
Coleman recorded the ninth-fastest time ever, running a wind-legal 9.82 seconds at the NCAA Division I outdoor track and field championships.
His time, a personal best by 0.14 seconds, is also the fourth-best in history by an American and a new collegiate record.
“The sky’s the limit as fast as I can ever run. I just wanted to come out here and make it to the final, really. That was the plan,” said Coleman, who has focused the past few weeks on getting out of the blocks quickly.
“I felt like I got a pretty decent start, I separated and got on top of it and I just wanted to finish to the line and make sure I made it to the final. It felt pretty good,” he said.
Coleman’s 9.82 breaks the previous NCAA record of 9.89, set by Florida State’s Ngonidzashe Manusha at the 2011 NCAA meet in Des Moines, Iowa.
Former Olympic champion Justin Gatlin, who has run 9.74 in the 100, has been a mentor to Coleman in recent months. Coleman says Gatlin has become a good friend and encourages him.
“He came through the collegiate ranks like me, and he went through the same kind of things that I’m going through right now, as far as what to do with my career and the pressure of being one of the best sprinters in college,” Coleman said. “He’s given me a lot of advice.”
Coleman started his day with a leg on Tennessee’s 4×100 relay, but the Volunteers didn’t qualify for Friday’s final.
About one hour after the 100 preliminary, Coleman got out fast in his 200 semifinal but appeared to slow down before the line and took second in his heat in 20.21 to qualify for the final. He’s second on the NCAA all-time list at 19.85, set earlier this season.
Coleman is no surprise at the outdoor championships. He won the 60 and 200 at the NCAA indoor meet, tying the collegiate record of 6.45 in the 60 final.
Six men’s event finals were held Wednesday. The remainder will be contested on Friday. The majority of the women’s events will be held Thursday and Saturday.
In the hammer, Cornell’s Rudy Winkler followed up his 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials win at Hayward with a victory at 243 feet, 2 inches.
But it wasn’t an easy path back to Eugene.
Winkler, a senior, has dealt with a back injury since the end of the indoor season in March. He also has felt the pressure of being an Olympian competing at the collegiate level.
Winkler, whose winning throw came in the third of six rounds, said he’s getting comfortable with his form and physical ability to make big throws. It’s been a “slow process” getting back from the injury, and he’s not yet 100 percent.
“I’m finally getting to the point where I can compete with it and feel good competing, but it’s still not quite there,” Winkler said.
Alexander Young of Southeast Louisiana was second at 241-8, moving up from sixth entering the final round.
Florida went 1-2 in the long jump in its quest for the team title. KeAndre Bates was first at 26-5 and Grant Holloway second at 26-3.
The Gators will be challenged for the championship by Texas A&M, which got a win and meet record from Ioannis Kyriazis in the javelin (270-11) and a third-place finish in the long jump from Will Williams (26-1 1/2).
Other winners included Tulsa’s Marc Scott (10,000), Akron’s Matthew Ludwig (pole vault) and Virginia’s Filip Mihaljevic (shot put).
Minnesota’s Luca Wieland ended the first day of the decathlon with the lead with 4,440 points. The decathlon concludes Thursday.