Coming into the 4x400 meter relay at tonight’s NCAA track and field championships, the USC women had to win to clinch a national title; otherwise, Georgia would win and pull off a rare sweep of the men’s and women’s titles. When USC mangled the handoff on the final exchange (about 2:48 into the video below), it looked like Purdue or Oregon would win the race and Georgia the meet. With about 80 meters to go—3:30 into the video—commentator Dwight Stones declared “Purdue is going to win this.”
And then anchor Kendall Ellis went insane and walked down Jahneya Mitchell of Purdue, giving the Trojans a one-point win over Georgia.
Ellis had taken second in the 400 earlier in the meet and had set an American record in the indoor 400 earlier this year, but had a painful history in the outdoor 4x400 at Oregon’s Hayward Field. Last year, USC and Oregon both ran faster the old collegiate record, and Ellis was the one getting outkicked while the other team clinched the NCAA meet.
This caps off a spectacular meet for USC’s sprinters, as they broke the collegiate records in the men’s 400 and 400 hurdles on Friday night. Ellis ran 50.19 in the open for second place and split 50.05 on the relay, two seconds faster than anyone else on the anchor leg.
Correction: This post originally had Ellis also winning the open. Lynna Irby of Georgia won the 400 and Ellis was second.