Deji Ogeyingbo wrote this feature on Julian Alfred and her incredible wins over 60m and 200m at the NCAA Indoor Champs!
Julien Alfred came within whiskers of breaking the 60m and 200m world indoor records, winning hearts in Albuquerque.
The NCAA circuit has an unrivaled record of producing some of the fastest and best athletes to have competed in track and field. Records fall every year, new athletes are discovered, the younger ones get better, and the usual rhetoric always comes up thereafter. Is it a fluke, or can he/she replicate it at the professional level when they compete against the best in their event?
Rinse and repeat. The cycle continues. Truth is, athletics isn’t always a linear line. As variables like injuries, training, coaching and even bigger things like pressure at the top level come into play, you begin to realize it can all go south. You can flip the coin, and it is also a perfect indication that the athlete might be the next big thing.
And with Texas’ sprinter Julien Alfred who warily accepted the Monika “sprint queen” winning the women’s 60m NCAA Indoor title in New Mexico in a newly minted World Lead, Meet Record, Collegiate Record, and Facility Record of 6.94s, it is safe to say we’ve found our next sprint star.
Stop her if you can!
After coasting to the 60m title,@TexasTFXC Julien Alfred clocks a new record of 22.01s in 200m to win the NCAA Indoor title.#NCAAIndoors pic.twitter.com/393Skka2pK
— RunBlogRun (@RunBlogRun) March 12, 2023
Less than an hour later, the St. Lucian Olympian ran a blistering 22.01s to come within whiskers of breaking 21s officially. It moves her into second on the all-time 200m indoor list, only behind the great Merlene Ottey and just ahead of Abby Steiner, who only last year was untouchable until she turned professional.
Perhaps, the 200m win against Louisiana’s Favour Ofili is more special. Very rarely can a sprinter be this adept in the 60m and 200m. Alfred took the bull by the horn and showed Ofili she wasn’t going to play second-fiddle to her, having seen the Nigerian break the Meet Record a day before in the prelims.
Prior to the final, Alfred had not run a sub-22.2s before. Her resilience and versatility are some of the attributes that will come in handy when the outdoor season starts. The Commonwealth Games Silver medalist boasts a staggering 10.81 over the 100m. By virtue of this newfound form, you won’t bet against her running a sub-10.8s when the outdoor season begins.
Alfred is no greenhorn in the athletics circuit, and neither is she a chummy face in the track world. But what undoubtedly one can’t accuse her of is her immense talent, one that was in full display in Albuquerque this weekend. Her win puts her into the conversation as not just the best-ever collegiate 60m runner but probably the greatest of them all.
The highs of Alfred’s career have come alongside an equal number of harrowing lows. Between moving to Jamaica by herself at 14 to pursue the track, losses in the family, injuries, and race miscues, Alfred has faced many obstacles. It, however,
Julien Alfred of Texas’ was just 0.02s shy of the World Record as she won the NCAA 60m Indoor title. #NCAAIndoors pic.twitter.com/jk1YWgzgrd
— RunBlogRun (@RunBlogRun) March 11, 2023
doesn’t shake her. In fact, she has used it as fuel to push her to greater heights.
Like most athletic success stories, nothing just happens. At 21, Alfred knows there is still time to show her prowess. Her style isn’t one to rest on our laurels. It is an attribute that has seen her win hearts in this short period. And she sure did win more hearts in Albuquerque.
Last year, Alfred won the NCAA 100m and 4 x 100m outdoor relay championship titles. Surely, she would look to add the 200m title this year. Her quest for more accolades is insatiable as seen in her latest 200m run. Firm and strong.
St. Lucia hasn’t had a track star this big in its history. With a population of fewer than 200,000 people, the Island nation will be licking its lips at the prospect of its own bringing fame to the small Caribbean nation. The Saint Lucian government held a homecoming to celebrate her athletic achievements in the summer of 2022. 2023 might just see them name a stadium after her.