When a ticket to the World Track championships is on the line, take Arman Hall. Proving ahead of schedule, the 19 year old University of Florida star freshman wowed the Drake University Stadium crowd by finishing third in the 400 at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday, and qualifying for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow in August.
“I was a little nervous,’’ Hall said. “I am 19 years old, the youngest guy . Everyone else are either pro or 22. I just wanted to show everybody that just because I’m 19, I can compete with the fastest guys out there. My coach and dad said God had something planned for me and I should trust in him.”
Arms pumping in the picture perfect running style that helped St. Thomas Aquinas High School win a record four of its record five consecutive Florida big school state titles, Hall made up the stagger on the final curve and powered home in 45.01, behind LaShawn Merritt (44.21) and Tony McQuay (44.74).
Hall served notice in Friday’s semifinals he was all about business by clocking a personal best 44.82, the sixth-fastest time in U.S. Junior history and No. 7 time in the world this year.
Hall, who earned a spot in the Trials by posting a then season-best 45.02 to finish third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships earlier this month, became the youngest finalist in the quarter mile since the three-time NCAA Champion McQuay was 21 when he won the 2011 U.S. title.
The trip to Moscow, where Hall will compete in the open 400 and the 1,600 meter relay, follows back to back berths in the IAAF World Youth championships which Hall won in 2011 and finished runner-up in 2012.
Whatever lack of senior championship experience Hall will take to Moscow will be offset by the fact that Grenada’s Kirani Jame was 19 years old when he won the 2011 IAAF World Championships title and 20 years old when he captured the 2012 Olympics crown in 43.94.
“I am so happy just to go to Moscow and run for my country,’’ Hall said. “If God is willing, I will make the medal stand. Running a PR out of lane seven was the best feeling in the world. I am so happy just to go to Moscow and run for my country. I saw Kirani James at 19 win a world championship for his country. If he could do it, I can do it.”