Track and field: Alexis Franklin runs fastest 300-meter hurdles time in the country

Doug Kapustin/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST - Old Mill’s Alexis Franklin, shown here winning the 110 hurdles at the Maryland 4A meet last year, has run the country’s fastest time in the 300 and 400 hurdles this spring.

Alexis Franklin won the 300-meter hurdles on Wednesday at the Bob Golliday Invitational in 41.49 seconds, what longtime track and field observers believe to be the fastest time ever run by a high school girl from Maryland and what is unequivocally the No. 1 time in the country so far this season.

The Old Mill senior blasted from the blocks, re-creating the magical start that won her the 400 hurdles at Penn Relays in Philadelphia last week with the country’s fastest time, before producing another burst down the home stretch and surging to the win.

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South River’s Reilly Wagner was runner-up in 47.63. Alaysha Johnson of Spring Westfield (Texas) was the national leader in the event in 41.92 before Franklin eclipsed that performance.

It was a personal-best time for Franklin, the reigning All-Met Athlete of the Year, but it certainly wasn’t her cleanest run. The Ohio State signee crashed the fourth hurdle, but still had the strength to win by six seconds on a cool day in Millersville.

“It was so ugly,” Franklin, who also won the 100 hurdles in 14.05, said of hitting the barrier. “I kicked it over. It was a mess.

“I didn’t even feel like I was going that fast.”

Al Smith couldn’t believe the time, either. The 70-year-old Severna Park resident has been announcing at track and field meets in Maryland for over 30 years and he was working Wednesday’s meet. He remembers watching Eleanor Roosevelt graduate Takecia Jameson win the 4A 300 hurdles championship in 2007 in 41.79. That is not only the state meet-record but, until Wednesday, was believed to be the fastest run ever by a Maryland high school girl.

According to Ned Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, the MPSSAA only counts performances achieved at the state meet in its official record book.

“I think that’s probably a state record,” Smith said of Franklin’s run on Wednesday. “I’ve watched a lot of these hurdlers through the years and very few of these girls attacked the 300 hurdles. I don’t know anybody whose been faster.”

Added Walter Johnson assistant Tom Rogers, who has been coaching in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties since 1978: “I’ve got to believe that’s close to the fastest time ever run by a kid from Maryland because [Jameson] was head and shoulders above every one else.”

In her final meet on her home track, Franklin’s goal was to break the meeting record she set last year. She went well beyond that. Against a field that offered no competition to spur her on, she became the country’s fastest runner at two different distances in a span of one week.

“We only do this meet once a year so a lot of people haven’t seen me hurdle before,” says Franklin, a seven-time state champion. “It’s the icing on top of the cake. No. It’s the icing on top of the icing.”

 
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