This weekend's Great
Southwest Classic (June 3-4) has attracted one of the most talented boys 400m fields to ever
run on U.S. soil, highlighted by:
Akeem Bloomfield, the Jamaican junior national record-holder (44.93 PR);
Keshun Reed, the 2016 New Balance Indoor Nationals champion (45.75 PR);
Tyrese Cooper, the U.S. freshman national record-holder (45.94 PR).
If they each finish under 46 seconds on Saturday, it could be considered the fastest quarter-mile race in the history of U.S. prep track and field. Although there have been races that included up to two sub-46 performances, we couldn't find a meet with three finishers below that mark.
1995's Golden West Invitational came close. It included Obea Moore (U.S. No. 4 all-time), who narrowly edged out Jerome Young (U.S. No. 2 all-time), 45.88 to 45.89, for the win. They helped pull Desmond Johnson to third in 46.11.
Together, Bloomfield, Reed and Cooper might be the perfect storm--their proven talent, motivation and momentum have set the stage for one of the best prep 400m showdowns of all time.
Bloomfield, the perennial Penn Relays star who helped Kingston College win the 4x100m relay this year, boasts the fastest PR in the field with the only sub-45 clocking, but hasn't come close to that mark since he set it in 2015. In fact, he hasn't even broken 46 seconds this year. But don't let that undersell his speed--Bloomfield ripped a 20.66-second 200m for a personal best in May. Expect him to bring the heat against his American competitors.
Last year's Texas state champion, Reed, wasn't able to defend his title this year. The senior opted to only run in relays at the regional meet to help his team, but none of them qualified. Two weeks ago, he returned to competition at the Texas Track & Field Meet of Champions, where he protected his undefeated season by storming to first in 46.11. The Louisiana State commit will look for his first sub-46 mark of the season when he gets in the blocks on Saturday.
In April, the precocious Cooper set the standard for high school freshmen nationwide when he ran 45.94 for a lap--the second-fastest time among U.S. preps this year. Later, he claimed the Florida state championship and anchored his 4x400m relay to the fastest time in the country this year at Flo Golden South. He's also undefeated on the season, so don't expect him to bend to seniority in this race.
If these three push each other to their potential, it's safe to say history could be made in Albuquerque this weekend.
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