Khallifa Rosser of Cal State Los Angeles opened some eyes at the Mt. San Antonio College relays in April when he beat a 400-meter hurdles field that included 2012 Olympic silver medalist
Rosser, of Fontana, ran a 49.89 in his first round at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials, the third-fastest time. He wasn't far off the 49.56 run by Johnny Dutch — who owns the two fastest times in the world this year — and the 49.62 run by Byron Robinson of Texas. Not bad for a kid from a school that's not a track factory.
"I take great pride in running for Cal State L.A. It's a great organization and has great coaches," Rosser said. "I take great pride in representing them here at the trials."
After posting that impressive time in April, his season took a deliberate course. "Mentally more than physically," he said, praising Coach Orentheus Hutcherson for continually reminding him to run a clean race "and be mentally strong and not necessarily worried about the other competitors." That worked Thursday, and he hopes to repeat that in Friday's semifinals.
"It feels good. I'm very thankful," he said. "It feels real good to come out and compete with the best in the world."
Phenom Keni Harrison was 15 years old when
Harper Nelson, who also won silver at London in 2012, doesn't feel like a relic at 32. "If I know where I am, I don't have to feel old," she said.