USC’s Johnny Dutch dethroned two-time defending champion Jeshua Anderson of Washington State to win the 400-meter hurdles Friday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Dutch claimed his first national title and gave the Gamecocks their first 400 hurdles titlist.
Anderson started strong and grabbed the early lead, but Dutch reeled him in over the final two hurdles to win in 49.31 seconds to remain undefeated in the event this season.
"It feels like I’m on the highest high right now," Dutch said. "I didn’t run as fast as I wanted to, but just to go for the win is the biggest thing right now because the wind was heavy. Getting second last year made me really hungry and passionate. (I wasn’t) going for any place but first this year."
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The race extended the rivalry between Dutch and Anderson. Friday’s race was contested at the same track where Dutch took fifth in the 2008 Olympic Trials and earned a berth in the 2009 World Championships, besting Anderson both times. But Anderson leveled the score by defeating Dutch at each of the past two NCAA Outdoor Championships.
"We go way back since Poland (IAAF World Junior Championships) in 2008," Dutch said of Anderson. "He was my roommate. We couldn’t be anything but a friendly rivalry. I know he works hard and has just as much heart. To beat him means a lot. We’re friends. Any time we step on the track, it’s down to business, but after that we’re friends again."
Added Anderson: “I can’t wait for the competition for years to come.”
Dutch will compete in the 110 hurdles final and the 1,600 relay today.
Junior Shayla Mahan earned All-America honors by placing eighth in the 100.
Brandi Cross was seventh in the 400 to claim her ninth All-American citation.