By Lincoln Shryack - FloTrack
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If you've ever wondered how fast a world-class sprinter could run with a comically strong tailwind, Indian Hills Community College freshman and Rice Lake (WI) High School graduate Kenny Bednarek had your answer on Friday with his 19.49 (+6.1 m/s) second breakthrough in the 200m at the 2019 NJCAA Track and Field prelims in New Mexico.
The time is nowhere close to being wind legal -- the wind-legal limit is 2.0 meters per second -- but it is still significant because 19.49 is not only the fastest all-conditions 200m in collegiate history, but, according to Jon Mulkeen, it is also the fastest wind-aided mark ever.
Even factoring in the wind and the over 3,000 feet of elevation in Hobbs, New Mexico, the time converts to a still very quick 19.85. Only three collegians have ever run that fast or faster with legal wind.
In a world before Matthew Boling-mania had completely engulfed the track and field world, the legend of Kenny Bednarek was a track internet phenomenon of its own.
The 20-year-old Bednarek awed indoors with a then-world lead of 20.30 in Nebraska on Feb. 2, and before that he split sub-45 seconds in a 4x400m on a flat track.
He finished his high school career last June with the top 200m in the country -- well after most athletes had completed their prep careers.
Today's run only adds more mystique to a man who seems on the brink of becoming one of the top 200m runners in the world.