Tide Star Repeats NCAA 400 Win
The Alabama sophomore standout claimed his second outdoor 400-meter title by just three one-hundredths of a second with a time of 45.092 from the outside lane to edge out Texas Tech's Gil Roberts for the title.
"It was a very close finish and there were a lot of question marks and tense moments as we waited for the results," James said. "When they flashed the final results on the board, I was ecstatic and happy that I could pull off such a feat. It's always great to accomplish something like this. I ran and competed with a great group of guys and I'm so happy to repeat as the NCAA Champion."
James' time was slightly off from his personal best time in a field that featured eight sub-45 second times . However, due to weather delays he also participated in this morning's 4x400-meter relay and then had to face cool, rainy conditions in the championship heat of the 400 meters in addition to a less than desirable lane assignment.
"It happens and you can't control things like that," James said of those adversities. "I'm glad I was ready and prepared to deal with that and control what I could control. I was running blind and just trying to control my race and finish strong."
UA Coach Harvey Glance echoed his pupil's thoughts in the strategy heading into the championship heat.
"Out in lane eight he was running blind the whole race and couldn't see the field, but he found a way to win," Glance said. "My advice to him was to protect his first 200 meters and he did that to keep the rest of the field from catching up to him and then he battled the last 100 meters to find the tape. He's a winner and a finisher and that's what you need to be successful in this sport."
Earlier in the day in the 4x400-meter relay, James turned in a solid split as did his teammates Dwayne Extol, Fred Samoei and Bobby Onyeukwu. However, the team was disqualified on its final exchange for a lane violation.
James' title wraps up the collegiate season for the Crimson Tide and is the 24th NCAA title for the men's track and field team.
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