We can celebrate the upcoming accomplishments of our undergrads with the current accomplishments of our graduates.
Last night, Columbia alum Kyle Merber helped Team USA accomplish an amazing feat down in the Bahamas – he helped Team USA’s run to not only the win, but also a new World Record in the Distance Medley Relay AND accomplished a Team USA winning sweep of all of the distance-oriented relays (4×800 and DMR for both genders) at the IAAF World Relays Championships. Merber joined Brycen Spratling, Brandon Johnson, and Ben Blankenship to the win in 9:15.50, 0.06 ahead of the former world record set by Kenya, in what Letsrun.com called a “wild” and “crazy” race in their race recap.
Track experts that predicted that Team USA would be in the mix for the win with the teams from Kenya and Australia, but there was little discussion of a world record being reset, particularly with what many experts thought was not USA’s “A team” (interesting tidbit – only Johnson has ever worn a Team USA uniform in a major international setting before this race). However, Letsrun learned that Merber saw the potential of the world record being reset and calculated out what splits he and his teammates needed to run to make sure that it happened.
Kyle Merber, 1200m: 2:53
Brycen Spratling, 400m: 45.8
Brandon Johnson, 800m: 1:44
Ben Blankenship, 1600m: 3:51
Congrats to Merber and Team USA.
UPDATE – Merber recounted his World Relays experience on his blog, where he shared the story of how he got recruited for the team, his initial reactions to arriving in the Bahamas, the race prep, and the race itself. Some great quotes and passion in it – I recommend you read it.
– photo from Flotrack