Sha’Carri Richardson isn’t just the best 100 meters sprinter this year. She’s the best to ever do it at the collegiate level.
Oh, and by the way, she’s a freshman.
Richardson won the event at the NCAA outdoor national championship in Austin, Texas, with a time of 10.75 seconds, setting a new NCAA record and breaking former LSU sprinter Dawn Sowell’s time of 10.78 set in 1989. Richardson’s time is the fastest ever by anyone under the age of 20, the fifth fastest of any American woman and the ninth fastest all-time in women’s history.
Her time may have been faster if she didn’t pull up in celebration a few feet before the finish line, but when you’re a freshman multiple strides ahead of the competition and winning national championships, it’s hard not to celebrate. Even with the early celebration, her time in Austin ranks as the fastest time in the world through 2019 so far.
“Knowing the kind of tradition LSU has in the women’s sprints, it’s kind of crazy to think I’m up there with the all-time greats,” said Richardson in a press release after helping LSU finish third in the nation. “You see those names like Dawn Sowell, Kimberlyn Duncan, Aleia Hobbs, and Mikiah Brisco, and to know that I’m in their presence is special.
“Today was a great day on the track and I’ll never forget it. To set all those records in my home state in front of family and friends is truly special. I’m just glad I could go out there and put some points on the board for my team.”
The Dallas native also anchored LSU’s second place 4x100 relay team and finished second in the 200 meters by .01 seconds. Her time of 22.17, also an under-20 record, made her the first woman in history to finish the 100 meters in under 10.8 and the 200 meters in 22.8 in the same day.
Richardson totaled 20 of LSU’s 43 points on the day, making her the highest scorer of any competitor at the national championships. The overall third place finish for LSU is the women’s highest finish outdoors since 2011.
For her exploits the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association named Richardson the Women’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year, and she is up for the Bowerman Trophy, given to the top athlete in track and field.
“It feels unbelievable knowing that I am basically among the fastest people ever in history,” she said in an interview with SiriusXM. “I wasn’t expecting it. I knew I had the potential to do it, but to execute it so early on in my career was like, ‘I did that!’ It’s just an amazing feeling overall.”