NEW ORLEANS – Displaying world-class speed while completing a unique double victory during the SEC Outdoor Championships earned Arkansas sophomore Britton Wilson the USTFCCCA women’s National Athlete of the Week honor.
In becoming the first female to claim SEC titles in the 400m and 400m hurdles, Wilson produced an Arkansas record of 50.05 in the 400m and improved her own school record in the hurdles with a world-leading 53.75 an hour later. Then she finished off the day with the fastest ever collegiate split of 48.60 in the 4 x 400 relay an hour and a half later.
“If you didn’t witness it, you would look at the results and say that is impossible,” said Arkansas women’s head coach Lance Harter. “I was there live and witnessed it. Britton is a phenomenal talent and an even greater competitor.
“She is so poised in spite of her youth. She never panics and is the consummate team player. She really cares to try to help contribute to the team, and maybe accept a few wins on the way.”
Wilson generated the fastest pair of times ever accomplished in those two events on the same day. On the all-time collegiate list, Wilson is now the No. 6 performer in both events, and she has the eighth best performance in the 400m hurdles.
“I told her we would take one event at a time,” noted Arkansas associate head coach Chris Johnson. “Let’s get through one thing at a time and have a singular focus rather than a triple focus on the 400, 400 hurdles and the relay.
“To be honest, I didn’t know if we would run her on the relay. We had tested it prior to conference just to see how she would recover at LSU and during the Arkansas Twilight. She recovered well. So, I knew going into the meet we had the 400 hurdle prelims the first day, the 400 prelims on the second day, and then we had to double back on the final day.”
Sydney McLaughlin, who competed for Kentucky, is the only other athlete listed among the top 10 in both events on the collegiate all-time list with times of 50.07 (No. 7) in the 400m and the collegiate record of 52.75 in the hurdles, with both marks set in separate meets during 2018.
In the 4 x 400 relay, Wilson added to her extraordinary day by producing the fastest split by a collegian with her 48.60 anchor leg on another Arkansas record effort. It betters the 48.84 set by Texas A&M’s Athing Mu at the 2021 NCAA Championships.
Among all-time U.S. splits by collegians and professionals, Wilson’s effort ranks as the No. 6 performer with the No. 9 performance. Other 400m hurdlers on the U.S. list include McLaughlin with a 48.8 and Dalilah Muhammad with a 48.94.
The Razorbacks ran 3:22.55 to finish third in the relay to better the previous school record of 3:25.48 set in 2016. Joining Wilson on the relay were Morgan Burks-Magee, Rosey Effiong, and Jada Baylark. Arkansas is the No. 3 school on the all-time collegiate list with the No. 4 performance.
“I didn’t realize she was going to run that fast,” stated Johnson. “I just told her that we have to prepare and be dialed in from a mental standpoint. Mentally, she had to be on point and execute the race properly.
“She was really efficient in the way she set the race up in the 400. She was a little fatigued going into the 400 hurdles, but she recovered really well. With the relay stick in her hand, that’s the person you want to have in a clutch situation. She just fell a little short, but that’s track and field. We’ll figure out a way to get a little better.”
In each event Wilson contested she faced some of the best collegians in the nation.
To claim the victory in the 400m, Wilson defeated the current world leader in Texas A&M’s Charokee Young (49.87), who finished second in 50.45, as well as Kentucky’s Alexis Holmes (50.74) and Florida’s Talitha Diggs of Florida (51.24).
Winning the 400m hurdles by a 1.61-second margin had Wilson defeating Florida’s Anna Hall (55.36) and Masai Russell of Kentucky (55.44).
Wilson’s split of 48.60 bettered the efforts by Kentucky’s Abby Steiner, who split 48.78 on the third leg for Kentucky’s collegiate record of 3:21.93, as well as a 48.90 by Young as the anchor leg for Texas A&M as they finished second in 3:22.01.
“In terms of her performance this weekend, to run 50.05 and 53.75, is nothing short of phenomenal,” added Johnson. “It speaks to the level of talent that she has as well as the work ethic and mental preparation.
“Her hurdling has gotten a lot better. There is still a lot we have to work on as it pertains to continuing to get better and improve her hurdle acumen, but she’s done a really, really good job.”
This is the first time since 2019 that a female athlete from Arkansas has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season (Janeek Brown). The Razorbacks have now seen four different female athlete earn national honors since at least 2015 (Wilson, Brown, and both Alex Gochenour and two-time honoree Sandi Morris in 2015).
Collegiate All-Time List
|49.57||Athing Mu (Texas A&M)||2021|
|49.71||Courtney Okolo (Texas)||2016|
|49.80||Lynna Irby (Georgia)||2018|
|49.87||Charokee Young (Texas A&M||2022|
|49.99||Kendall Ellis (USC)||2018|
|50.05||Britton Wilson (Arkansas)||2022|
|50.07||Sydney McLaughlin (Kentucky)||2018|
|50.10||Monique Henderson (UCLA)||2005|
|50.15||Natasha Hastings (South Carolina)||2007|
|50.18A||Pauline Davis (Alabama)||1989|
|50.28||Ashley Spencer (Illinois)||2013|
|52.75||Sydney McLaughlin (Kentucky)||2018|
|53.21||Kori Carter (Stanford)||2013|
|53.51||Shamier Little (Texas A&M)||2016|
|53.54||Sheena Tosta (UCLA)||2004|
|53.72||Georganne Moline (Arizona)||2013|
|53.75||Britton Wilson (Arkansas)||2022|
|54.09||Keni Harrison (Kentucky)||2015|
|54.22||Lashinda Demus (South Carolina)||2004|
|54.32||Shauna Smith (Wyoming)||2005|
|54.32||Nicole Leach (UCLA)||2007|
|4 x 400 Relay|
Fastest U.S. 4 x 400 splits
|Charokee Young*||48.90||International Collegian|