June 8, 2018
Eugene, Ore. - Auburn sophomores Akeem Bloomfield and Nathon Allen proved themselves as two of the best 400m runners in SEC history Friday as the duo finished second and third, respectively, at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in what was the fastest 400 race in the meet's history.
"This meet is all about quality and one of the most competitive meets in the world each year," Auburn head coach Ralph Spry said. "I'm proud of the way our guys competed against the best of the best. It's a tough task and they rose to the challenge."
Bloomfield ran a school-record time 43.94 breaking Allen's previous mark of 44.28, while Allen clocked a 44.13 for a personal-best and the second fastest time ever at Auburn. Despite their efforts, they came up short to USC's Michael Norman who won in 43.61 to break facility, meet and collegiate record.
"It was a very good race," Bloomfield said. "My race plan was to get going from the start and try to finish strong. Nathon has the finishing speed as well as Norman and I don't have that, so my race plan was to get out the first 250 really hard. I PR'ed and I'm extremely happy. It's a wonderful accomplishment to break 44 seconds."
A native of Kingston, Jamaica and NCAA Indoor silver medalist behind Norman in March, Bloomfield's time broke the Jamaican national record as was the third fastest quarter mile in the world in 2018.
"That was a race for the ages," Spry said. "For two guys (Norman and Bloomfield) to go sub-44 and Nathon to run a great race and set a new PR is incredible. We talk about improving, competing and running the best time you can run. Both did that and PR'ed. At the end of the day you can't ask for anything more."
Along with Norman breaking the NCAA meet record, Bloomfield's time was the second fastest ever at the championship, while Allen's tied for fourth fastest.
Sophomore All-American Raheem Chambers had a strong start en route to finishing fifth in the men's 100m in 10.33, despite being in lane one. The Kingston, Jamaica native's finish was the best by a Tiger in the event since Harry Adams was second and Marcus Rowland was fifth in 2012.
"Raheem did a really good job out of lane one in wet conditions. The track drains towards the inside, so there was a little more rain in Raheem's lane, but he maintained his composure and competed well."
Auburn finished 14th in the team standings with 18 points. Combined with last year's fifth-place it's the best two-year run outdoors for the Tiger men since 2008-09.
"I'm proud of the way they represented Auburn and themselves. They each have bright futures ahead of them," Spry said. "I'm excited for our women to get out there and compete in a similar way on Saturday."
The Auburn women will wrap up the 2018 season Saturday with the 4x100m at 3:32 p.m. PT/5:22 p.m. CT and senior Jonielle Smith and sophomore Natalliah Whyte in the 100m dash at 4:22 p.m. PT/6:32 p.m. CT.
ESPN will television Saturday's action, while live results can be found at https://auburntige.rs/NCAATFResults.