CITIUS MAG Athlete of the Year – The Case For…Sydney McLaughlin
It was quite the 2018 for Syd Tha Kid. Sydney McLaughlin lit up the NCAA in her first and only year at the University of Kentucky. Usually it’s just the basketball players from Kentucky who go one-and-done before turning pro, but not this time! To start, McLaughlin easily could have gone pro instead of attending UK but it was definitely the right move for her development and marketability. Not every school gets an Olympic finalist as a freshman. Because she was a favorite in most events that she was entered, there were high expectations and somehow she managed to blow us away each time.
Sydney set the track ablaze and finished the year with not one but TWO world junior records – which was really just her breaking her own world junior records each time.
During her indoor campaign she set a world junior record during the indoor SEC Championships 400 meter final with a time of 50.52. Just two weeks later she bounced back to beat her own time at the NCAA championships with a crazy fast 50.36 during that respective final. The time was faster than the old 400m collegiate record but in the heat before Kendall Ellis ran a spectacular 50.34 to barely edger her out and set the new collegiate record.
I really wish they would have gone head to head in the final, probably could have yielded a much quicker time. I get they are trying to keep things fair, even, balanced and yada yada yada but c’mon everyone wants to see the top four finalists battle it out in the same heat.
Outdoor season was where Sydney really dominated and began to show why she deserves to be the Citius Mag Female Athlete of the year. We were all bamboozled and told she wouldn’t run the 400 meter hurdles in her first collegiate season. Luckily, that wasn’t the case because she absolutely dominated the event in 2018. In fact they should probably just rename the entire event after her because she was that good.
In her first ever collegiate 400-meter hurdle race, you guessed it, she once again broke her own record with a smashing 53.60. Guess what, just like indoor, she bounced back two weeks later to ONCE AGAIN break HER OWN World Junior Record with a ridiculous 52.75. That one is still unreal to me because it’s not only an NCAA record and a world leading time for 2018 but just .41 shy of the world record. The world record.
Sydney McLaughlin will break the 400-meter hurdle world record in 2019, you heard it here first.
She finished off her first and only college season with a NCAA title in the 400-meter hurdle race under rainy conditions which she again dominated. Oh yeah, she also turned pro and signed with New Balance. So yeah pretty solid 2018 for the future and current face of the sport of track and field.
— UK Track & Field (@KentuckyTrack) May 15, 2018
With 2018 being an off-year for the world championships during outdoor season it makes her performances even more special that she was able to accomplish all this in such a short season. The only thing that was missing from her 2018 season was a U.S. title, which she scratched from after feeling a tightness in her hamstring.
If you just want the titles, here’s what she accomplished:
World Leading Time ✓ (52.75)
NCAA title ✓
NCAA record ✓
World Junior Record ✓✓(400m,400mH)
Pro Contract with New Balance ✓
Sat courtside at an NBA Game ✓✓✓
Quite the resume for 2018. Ok, maybe the last stat isn’t really related to her athletic season and more so just me being jealous that she lived my dream three times in one year. 2018 was one of the best of McLaughlin’s already stellar career, turning in PR’s in every event she ran. I expect even even bigger things to come in the future for one of track and fields biggest talents.