McLeod surprised at fast time
University of Arkansas sophomore, Omar McLeod, had the best of birthdays last Friday. The former Manchester High and Kingston College standout celebrated his 21st birthday by producing a personal best and the world's third fastest time, 13.21 seconds, to win the men's 110-metre hurdles on a cool night at the Drake Relays. The time was also a new school record and the fastest collegiate time this year.
Only Aleec Harris (13.16) and World Champion David Oliver (13.19) have been faster than McLeod, who also ran lead-off for the Razorbacks, as they won the sprint relay in 39.78 seconds, the 12th fastest collegiate time in the United States this year. He also ran on Arkansas' winning 4x200 metres relay team.
Performer of the Meet
For his efforts, McLeod was the co-recipient of the Maury White Award, given to the Performer of the Meet. Yesterday, McLeod was named SEC Runner of the Week.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Indoor 60-metre champion said he didn't expect to run as fast this early.
"I was really surprised because that was my first time out since indoor nationals and I was somewhat loaded after trying to get back that base for a long season. Coach (Doug Case) said he was expecting a 13.5 due to the workload I was going in with," said McLeod, who set a new NCAA record of 7.45 seconds, while winning his second indoor title for Arkansas.
"After that 7:45, I definitely knew that I could run that fast, but the ultimate surprise is running that fast for a season opener, this early in the season."
What is even more surprising, McLeod said, is that there were so many areas of the race that were not executed as well as he would have liked.
"I hit a couple hurdles throughout the middle of the race, but that was expected as it was my first 110 race for the year. So, coach and I are just happy, but we have a lot of things to work on," he said.
With his rapid improvement and prospects of going faster, the hurdling ace is thinking of even bigger goals this summer.
"Beijing is definitely on my calendar. It was the first thing I wrote down while I was setting my goals at the beginning of the season," he said.