McLaughlin Opens NCAA Outdoor Career with Epic Triple

Interview with Kentucky's 4x4 squad including McLaughlin's comments on her big weekend.

Has there ever been a more electrifying NCAA outdoor debut than Sydney McLaughlin's?

The answer is probably no as the freshman at Kentucky blew up Percy Beard Track with one of the most spectacular performances in NCAA history during the Pepsi Florida Relays at the University of Florida in Gainesville.  

Sydney McLaughlin, who graduated from Union Catholic in 2017 as arguably the greatest high school female track and field performer in U.S. history, opened her college outdoor career with a 22.39 victory in the 200 on Thursday. That's No. 4 on the World's All-Time Under 20 list and No. 2 on the U.S. All-Time Under 20 list. The great Allyson Felix ran the World Junior record of 22.11 in 2003.

Then on Friday, McLaughlin, a 2016 U.S. Olympian in the 400 hurdles, blasted a 50.07 in the driving rain to win the 400. The 50.07 is the No. 6 World Junior time ever run, No. 2 on the All-Time U.S. Junior list, an NCAA freshman record, and the third fastest time ever run in NCAA history. U.S. Olympic 4x400 gold medal winner and multiple NCAA champion Courtney Okolo, who ran at Texas, has the two fastest NCAA times of 49.71 in 2016 and 50.03 in 2014.  

McLaughlin also broke 2016 Rio Olympic Gold Medalist Shaunae Miller's track record of 50.17 (2015), and two-time Olympic 4x400m relay gold medalist Francena McCorory's Florida Relays record of 50.23 (2011).

McLaughlin, who ran 53.82 when she placed sixth in the 400 hurdles at the US Championships last summer, is the only track athlete in U.S. history to ever run under 50.10 in the 400, and under 54.00 in the 400 hurdles.

McLaughlin, who won the silver medal in the 400 at the NCAA Indoor Championships last month, capped off her epic triple on Saturday with a split of 49.45 on the third leg of the 4x400 as she gave Kentucky the lead for good as the Wildcats went on to win in a school record 3:26.92.

McLaughlin's 22.39 and 50.07, and Kentucky's 3:26.92 are all the fastest NCAA times run so far this season.

What a start to what could be one of the greatest seasons by a track athlete in NCAA history!