Baird Blazes In Barcelona
Medgar Evers' Kadecia Baird — running for Guyana — earned a silver medal in the 400-meter dash in stunning fashion at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
Dropping more than a second from her personal best, Baird posted the fifth-fastest time (51.04) in U.S. high school history and the fastest in more than a decade. The last high schooler to run that fast was Sanya Richards-Ross, who set the national record at 50.69 in 2002. The only others to run faster than Baird did today are Monique Henderson (50.74 in 2000), Denean Howard (50.87 in 1982) and Sheila Ingram (50.90 in 1976).
The only collegian to run faster in-season this year than Baird did today was Illinois freshman Ashley Spencer, who beat Baird for the gold in 50.50. Another American — South Carolina Gamecock Erika Rucker — took bronze in 51.10.
"I really didn't expect a medal in Barcelona," said Baird, who set PSAL and N.Y. State records set by Brooklyn Tech's Diane Dixon (51.75) 30 years ago. "I broke finally my personal best over one second so it's awesome. However, I could have run better if I had been more aggressive in the start."
Yet another Armory veteran who had a great day in Spain was University of Houston-bound Eric Futch, who won gold in the 400-meter hurdles in 50.24. Futch attended the same high school — Penn Wood High in Lansdowne, Pa. — as his college coach (and former world record holder) Leroy Burrell.
The women's 400-meter hurdles will have two Americans trying to match Futch's victory as Kaila Barber (57.29) and Shamier Little (57.46) posted solid semifinal times. In fact, seven of the eight finalists ran between 57.23 and 57.46.
Americans also wound up on the podium in both 200-meter dash finals. Texas A&M's Olivia Ekpone won silver and Milwaukee's Dezerea Bryant took bronze, both in identical 23.15 times. The women's champion was Bahamian Anthonique Strachan (22.53). For the men, Delano Williams of Turks & Caicos outran a pair of Americans — LSU's Aaron Ernest and Douglas, Ga., native Tyreek Hill. Williams ran 20.48 to 20.53 for Ernest and 20.54 for Hill.