Chaffey College freshman Khallifah Rosser finished second in the junior men’s 400 meter hurdles at the USA Track and Field Championships on Saturday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
Rosser, 17, went into the championship heat seeded second, having finished the Friday semifinals second to only Scottie Hearns, a freshman at Mississipi State. It was that opponent who was the only one to beat him again with Hearns registering a 51.01 and Rosser next in a personal best 51.42.
He didn’t quite know what to expect coming in.
“Going in the first round I really just wanted to get a PR,” he said. “I thought if I did that I would do pretty well.”
That finish makes him eligible to compete for the United States in the World Junior Championships Aug. 23-25 in Columbia.
“I am excited about representing the US,” said Rosser, who will be competing internationally for the first time. “I hope to go out and hit 50.00.”
Former Pomona-Pitzer standout Will Leer, now running for Nike, competed in the senior men’s 1,500 and placed fifth in 3:45.17, not far behind winner Matt Centrowitz (3:45.17).
Claremont High product Kori Carter was scheduled to run the 400 hurdles and was considered a favorite, having posted the top time in the world at the NCAA Championship meet representing Stanford. But Carter, who recently opted to forgo her senior year and sign with Nike, scratched.
The meet wraps up today. Brenda Martinez, out of Rancho Cucamonga High School and UC Riverside, is a favorite in the 800 meters, scheduled for 1:04 p.m. She had the fastest time in the semifinals on Friday, winning the heat with a strong last 200 meters.
The top three finisher qualify for the World Championships in Moscow next month.