Keni Harrison was already one of the top track and field athletes in the nation leading up to the Rio Olympics in August before the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meet on the campus of the University of Oregon on May 28. But her run in the women’s 100-meter hurdles vaulted the Clayton High graduate to another level.
Harrison set the American record in the event, winning in 12.24 seconds. It is the second-fastest time ever run in the event. Bulgarian Kordanka Donkova holds the world record in 12.21 seconds. The mark was set in 1988, the same year she ran the same 12.24 that Harrison tied.
“I felt really smooth,” Harrison said in a post-race interview. “That’s the only thing that keeps running through my mind.”
The time was 0.12 seconds quicker than her previous best and came with an allowable 0.7 meters per second tailwind. The previous American record was a 12.26 run by Brianna Rollins in 2013.
“I’m very surprised,” she said. “I’ve been training really hard. I’m just excited to see what’s to come.”
Harrison still has events to run in Great Britain (Birmingham) on June 5 and in Sweden (Stockholm) on June 16 before the U.S. Olympic Trials from July 1-10 back at Hayward Field in Oregon.
“Of course, now, I’m probably going to have a target on my back,” Harrison said. “That’s only going to make he train harder and listen to what my coach says.”
JCC golfers finish 17th in nation: Johnston Community College’s men’s golf team finished 17th recently in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division II National Tournament in Plymouth, Ind. The Jaguars posted a four-day total of 1,284 strokes.
South Mountain (Arizona) Community College won the title with a 1,138 (14-under-par) total.
Scoring for the five JCC entries was pretty consistent. Sam Baxter led the Jaguars, tying for 85th individually at 31-over, while teammate Dennis Baker was a stroke behind at 320 for the tournament. Kellen LaBonte finished tied for 97th (37-over), while Ben Potter was tied for 100th (+38). Matt King rounded out the Jaguar scoring in 108th place.
Post 13 roster features North Johnston, Princeton players: The Wilson Post 13 American Legion team will include players from North Johnston and Princeton high schools this summer. Dylan Redford, Steven Worley and Trey Whitley hail from North Johnston, while Princeton’s Nick Phillips is also on the squad.
The team includes players from Wilson Hunt, Wilson Fike, Wilson Greenfield and Southwest Edgecombe as well and plays their home games at historic Fleming Stadium in downtown Wilson.
Post 13 is the reigning Area I East division champion and beat the Garner Nationals 10-2 last weekend.
The Nationals were 3-1 after their first four outings, including a 9-6 win over High Point last weekend.
Parrish is All-Big South: Campbell University senior Matt Parrish, a West Johnston High grad, was named to the All-Big South First-Team Baseball squad. Parrish hit .371 with 41 RBI and 36 runs scored for the Camels. He finished fourth in the conference in batting this season.
Golf notables: South Johnston High senior Patrick Stephenson was the top qualifier at a sectional qualifying event for the 56th N.C. Amateur Championship recently at Holly Ridge Golf Links. Stephenson finished with a 3-under-par round of 69. He won the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A individual state championship in early May.
Stephenson also finished tied for sixth in the Jimmy Creed Boys’ Invitational in Camden, S.C. on May 29. The 36-hole event featured many of the top players from the Carolinas.
The N.C. Amateur will be held June 16-19 at the Governors Club in Chapel Hill.
Parker Denning of Benson won the boys’ 10-11-year-old division for the Tarheel Youth Golf Association’s TOTS One-Day Event at Keith Hills last month.